FAITH at the crossroads

Journalist Rajeev Sivshankar. Photo: H. Vibhu   | Photo Credit: H. Vibhu

Kochi, like every city, has its restaurants, swanky shops, huge shopping malls, rising skyscrapers, crowds, touristy spots. It also has a dark underbelly. Not the usual underbelly of goons, crime, chaos, call girls; but something more malevolent. This burgeoning metropolis is fast becoming the hub of an anarchist cult regularly engaged in black mass or Satan worship.

Journalist Rajeev Sivshankar, who spent years researching this subject, has come up with stunning revelations. He has collated his findings in his debut novel Thamovedam, which will be released by DC Books shortly.

Satan worship

The novel, set in an imaginary village called Kavathi, discusses this issue through the character of Viswanathan, who had devilish traits by birth. He comes to Kochi and becomes the leader of Satan worship. The novel discusses the problems that ensue. But all through the world of fantasy that Rajeev presents there are tangible evidences that point to the growing presence of this cult in the State.

“It might be difficult to believe but it happens and I have seen it with my eyes. At least seven districts in the State have dedicated Satan churches. In Kochi alone there are seven or eight. When you talk of churches, they are not the regular ones. It can be an isolated house, or an apartment, or even a room in a college hostel. There’s a homestay in Fort Kochi, a shop that functions as an art gallery in the day and turns into a church after dusk, a shop room at Kaloor, the terrace of a business house at Vaduthala, in Kundanoor, Aluva, Elamkulam... it happens at all these places. The faithful are mostly Christians and a few Hindus. Most of them are youths,” says Rajeev whose book written in Malayalam is a vivid account of this fast-growing cult.

It is not that the State was ever free of black magic, superstition or such esoteric practices. But what surprises is that in this very ‘literate’ State, a city like Kochi that seems to be chanting the development mantra, is in reality steeped in primitivism.

“This worship gives Satan spiritual authority. In this hedonism is the key. The cult has various levels of membership and authority. This worship basically disagrees on the fundamental principles of Christianity. They foul up everything that is deemed sacred; recite prayers backwards, people get drunk, drugged and the ceremonies sometimes degenerate into orgies. All the positive aspects of religion are cloaked in negativity.”

Rajeev does not discount the presence of the drug mafia in the growth of this cult. “Joining this cult is, for some, a way to make quick money. Drug pedalling is part of this sinister activity. I have been informed by my sources that there is a steep fee for special black masses aimed to crush enemies. Members believe that their worship can help solve most of their problems; they will become prosperous and even free themselves of woes and enmity. What actually happens is that people in the group go all out to help each other. And this is one way of establishing that Satan is at hand to help his followers.”


Thamovedam has chapters that detail the ceremonies. “I happened to watch these at Kottayam and Kochi. In Kochi, it was on the sly, through a window left open for me. It was a horrible experience. Impure blood, urine and triangle-shaped slices of bread were used. It went on for a long time, and I left before it ended afraid that I would be spotted.”

There have been regular news reports about the disappearance and in some cases theft of consecrated Hosts from many churches across the State. Pastors and spokesmen of the Church came out and said that they suspected that ‘Satan worshippers are behind this horrific act.’ Police cases were registered, inquiries conducted but no arrests made. A parish council member, who did not want to be named, said that the Hosts were taken to “conduct black mass which is prevalent in various parts of the State,” but they do not have “evidence to prove it because this cult keep their activities secretive.”

There have also been incidents when people have burnt down houses which they knew were being used as Satan churches. “I have a copy of a news magazine Nithananda Shradda itself which clearly shows photographs of such burnt down houses and reports on the activities of the Satan churches. One such house was on the Edappally-Pookattupady route, near Kalamassery. In fact, we also know of a priest who was taken to task who, after being appointed to investigate into the activities of the group, turned a worshipper.”

Reports and investigations have also revealed that Satan worshippers spread their message through tattoos, T-shirts and inverted crosses. These symbols are available across the State. The growth of the faith is directly connected to tourism. Obviously, in Kerala, it began from Fort Kochi and is slowly, surely spreading its web State wide. In Fort Kochi, sources said, French tourists started the trend in early 2000.

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Printable version | May 14, 2021 2:10:03 PM |

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