Godmen or fraudmen? Time to say goodbye to babas
New Delhi, August 29: Indians have devised a nice way to have a direct contact with gods. They have invented godmen, who are like any other mortal with two legs and two arms, but god only knows what power do they have that even VVIPs (read politicians, film stars, cricketers and others) bow down in total submission in front of them.
These godmen, who are also known as religious or spiritual leaders, have a few things in common--they are all super rich, politically well-connected, lead a lavish lifestyle, wear outrageous clothes, always talk about morality, but never practices in their own lives, and are often surrounded by women.
They have one more thing in common--most of them are also dreaded criminals. Yes, they are also murderers, rapists and extortionists too.
Imagine these are the babas or gurujis in whom India takes great pride in. In fact, many affluent houses in India have their own family gurujis. Over the years, these gurujis, who own their own empires, have become a part of the country's "creamy layer".
They are untouchable like gods, but are very much visible unlike gods as they regularly host public meetings and television programmes. Some of them are also in Parliament and Assembly houses after winning elections.
Take the case of rapist godman, Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, who has been sentenced for 20 years for raping two of his former female followers (sandhvis) on Monday.
Singh, the chief of Dera Sacha Sauda, headquartered in Sirsa, Haryana, is also being prosecuted for two murders in the same CBI special court which has convicted and sentenced him for rape charges.
All these years, thousands of his devotees, spread across the globe, treated the "Messenger of God" (as the Dera chief called himself) with outmost reverence. Even now after being sentenced for rape charges, his disciples still have great faith in the Dera chief and believe that the criminal charges against their godman are nothing but a conspiracy. Some of his followers also took up violence resulting in the death of 38 people in Panchkula and Sirsa last week.
Similarly, popular godman Asaram Bapu, who has been arrested in 2013, when a 16-year-old girl accused him of sexually assaulting her in Jodhpur, Rajasthan. In fact, on Monday itself the Supreme Court pulled up the Gujarat government about the delay in the spiritual leader's trial.
"Why this delay in trial? Tell us why you haven't examined the victim yet?" the court told the Gujarat government, ordering it to submit a progress report.
The Supreme Court was hearing Asaram Bapu's request for bail. In arguments, the Gujarat government said it was the "godman" who was delaying the case.
On Tuesday, a court in Hisar, Haryana, is going to pronounce its verdict on another godman, Sant Rampal, the founder of Satlok Ashram, who has been arrested on charges including sedition, murder, attempt to murder, conspiracy, hoarding illegal weapons and aiding and abetting suicide-mongers in 2014.
So, what do all these cases say about our religious leaders? They are all frauds. Isn't it? But the rise of these criminal godmen is also an indictment of our society. As a nation, we come across as morally and psychologically so weak that we have to create godmen to give us mental support.