MUMBAI, India — On the morning of August 20, the anti-superstition leader Narendra Dabholkar was assassinated by two men on a motorbike as he walked along the Omkareshwar Bridge in India's Pune city.
Three months after Dabholkar’s murder, no arrests have been made.
At the edge of the bridge where the 67-year-old was killed is a temple dedicated to Lord Shiva, which, like thousands of temples in India, earns millions of rupees in donations each year. Young, old, educated, illiterate – a vast majority of Indians continue to seek spiritual refuge through elaborate rituals — which can be expensive and in some cases, dangerous.
Living in the birthplace of Hinduism, Jainism and Sikhism, and home to a large number of Muslims, Christians, Buddhists, Zoroastrians and numerous tribes, a majority of Indians identify themselves as part of a religion or sect. Making donations – from a few rupees by the poor, to large sums of cash and gold by the wealthier – is also a way of paying obeisance to one's religion.