Anushka Muley

Editorial Writer

Cults are notorious social groups of people who have similar interest or purpose. These are usually formed by a single person who would also lead the members. They are formed on different basis like religious, political, spiritual or communal purposes. Often they are confused with a small or new religion which isn’t exactly correct. They are different from religion in many ways. Unlike religion, where people can join or leave any moment they want, members of the cult aren’t allowed to leave. They are supposed to live together and interact with each other only. Most of them are extremely secretive and are only exposed when they are involved in some major criminal activities. They have a singular leader and have to obey them. They have lots of rules which are compulsory to be followed without questions.

The question that arises is why would people indulge themselves with such organisations willingly? The answer lies within the fact that humans are complex organisms and human mind is something which is hard to  understand. Often, people go through daily life struggles, professional and personal problems which makes them vulnerable. Anxiety, loneliness and depression occurring due to this can make them easy targets. Often, people join such cults from the references of close friends and family. They think that maybe this would help them find a new path or answers they have been looking for and they could find a purpose for their life. The most common reason is superstitions. In countries like India, where superstitions and  black magic are commonly practised, people are very likely to be inclined towards such things, especially when they go through some health related or financial problems. Some people are born to parents who have been a part of a particular cult and they have been subjected to such an environment all their life, so they don’t really know a world beyond that.

 Cults stunt a person’s psychological and emotional growth. Once in a cult, members are subjected to multiple forms of indoctrination. Some play on a person’s natural inclination to mimic social behaviours or follow orders, while other techniques used by them are coercive persuasion involving guilt, shame and fear, rewards. They modify a human mind in such a way that critical thinking becomes impossible and even if they recognise something wrong, it becomes too late to leave.