By Sunil Dang
Last few years have been eye-opening for those who held blind faith in self-professed Godmen who turned out to be absolute crooks. One cannot imagine what the female devotes of these rapist/pedophile Guru’s would have had to endure with many getting charged with sexual harassment, rapes and murder. Having ones faith crushed cannot be an easy experience.
When dangerous weapons surfaced from the ashram of Guru Rampal, the whole village was gripped with a sense of enormous shock as it dawned upon them that they were worshipping a false God. Same was the case with the followers of Radhe Ma, whose controversial pictures got leaked and the self-proclaimed Goddess had no answer to placate her long cheated disciples.
I find it difficult to digest the rate at which these crimes took place at such Ashrams. It’s challenging to wrap ones head around the fact that these stories are out of the same Country that boastscompeting against countries like US, UK, Germany, France when it comes to Space and sending Mangalyanto Mars in record budget and time.
Having faith in religion is praiseworthy but in this 21st Century, we Indians should be conscious enough to carve ourselves away from the level where our faith becomes blind and such fake Gurus start taking advantage of our religious sentiments.
Now, the question that needs to be answered is how did the saga of these Gurus getting under the police scanner begin? Are other such faith leaders the same as they claim? To the readers pondering overthe above mentioned question, I would like to remind RJD leader Lalu Prasad Yadav’s criticism of Baba Ramdev citing, “Religious, spiritual and Yoga Gurus should restrict themselves to their job and should not try to influence politics.” This statement holds true if we in the case of notoriousreligious Gurus likeAsharamBapu, Narain Sai, Gurmeet Ram Rahim (he even rocked the silver screen with his controversial daughter), Swami Nithyanand etc. These leaders had a huge following among all sections of the populace. To cash on this socio-demographic advantage, these leaders started endorsing various political leaders and parties during elections.
Whether it helped the party they supported or not, is up to the psephologists, but it definitely irked the opposite camp. Evidently, they started targeting them hoping that it would weaken the party or the leaders these Gurus were endorsing among their followers. When these religious leader’s ashrams were raided and later when they were getting arrested by the police, not a single opposition leader came forward and uttered a single word of support for them. When Gurmeet Ram Rahim or Asaram Bapu got arrested, both ruling and the opposition camp decided to remain mum on the matter citing ‘law will follow its course.’ Had these Gurus remained neutral to the politics, who knows, they might have garnered some of their followers into the political circles too. Hope, Sri Sri will take a cue from it and mend his ways in the Ramjambhoomi Case.
There is also the outlook that such religious leaders get to know about the ground realties and hence concrete political trends from their followers. They accordingly announce their support to particular parties ensuring a strong foot in the corridors of power and, hence, access to many a favours. Gurmeet Ram Raheem used this strategy in Haryana and Punjab. He used to move from one camp to another to make sure that he is in the good books of the ruling political parties. However, his dirty tricks didn’t work for long and the ‘law finally followed its course’ and the infamous godman is behind the bar. A similar story unfolds in the case of Asharam Bapu, who recently got sentenced for sexual exploiting two of his female disciple. But, these conviction will hold little meaning if we fail to understand the difference between faith and blind-faith.