Hocus Pocus: Sikh-Canadian Throws $100,000 Challenge To Charlatans (from SikhChic) | SIKH PHILOSOPHY NETWORK
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Hocus Pocus: Sikh-Canadian Throws $100,000 Challenge To Charlatans (from SikhChic)


1947-2014 (Archived)
Jun 17, 2004
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

A group of Sikh-Canadian rationalists are challenging astrologers to prove their ability to make predictions, for a $100,000 grand prize.
Avtar Singh Gill, a Sikh-Canadian resident of Surrey, B.C., said he is tired of watching self-proclaimed swamis, gurus and astrologers rip off superstitious South Asian clientele.

"These guys don't tell the truth. It's all guesswork and rubbish," Avtar Singh, a semi-retired taxi driver, said in Punjabi. "And I feel that in North America, people are even more superstitious than back home, so we want to educate them."

Avtar finds it astonishing how popular these astrologers are within the Indian community.

"When they come on the local TV channels, you can't even get through because the phone lines are so busy," he said. "And they'll say, give me $1,500 and I will make your court sentence go away, you'll have a male child or your visa will come through."

His group, the Tarksheel Cultural Society, which promotes rational and scientific thinking, is hosting a challenge competition Monday (August 2, 2010) at noon at the Grand Taj Banquet Hall in Surrey.

Astrologers, ghost busters, black-magic practitioners - whatever their specialty - are all invited to answer 10 questions based on a person's janam kundli, or astrological birth chart.

If they get all 10 questions right, the Tarksheel Cultural Society will give them $100,000, raised from donations from 40 members.

"And if they get all the questions right, we'll dissolve our group," he vowed.
Of course, he's confident that it won't happen.

To keep people away who might participate just for the kick of it, every contestant has to enter a $1,000 security deposit.

Avtar Singh isn't sure if anyone will accept the challenge and has not received any RSVPs, but he has placed advertisements in the local Punjabi newspapers and on radio stations, such as Red FM and Sher-e-Punjab.

"The banquet hall can hold 300, so if none of [the charlatans] come, we will educate the public, that where there is logic, there is no place for these astrologers."

He cites his own example of a visit to an Indian astrologer, who failed to mention that his future meant living in Canada.

"But nowadays, every astrologer will say you are going abroad, because that is the craze in India," he said.



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