Ram Rahim Singh the Dera Sacha Sauda Chief along with the nation await his sentence today after being convicted for rape. In recent days his case has caused massive violence and curfew like situation in Punjab and Haryana leading to the deaths of more than 38 people. What remains to be seen is whether the politician-god- man nexus emerges stronger over justice or Indian democracy still values the principle of social justice and punishes its offenders?
Samyukta Raghavan is a Independent Journalist – based in Indore
India is passing through a strange historical trajectory where on one hand it is experiencing an unprecedented race towards technocracy, digitalization and scientific affinity on the other hand it is this very country that despite its apparent love for modernity, neo-liberalism and market forces is unable to do away with its obsession with medieval and often archaic values. Thus on the surface it seems that we are breaking free from the past and embracing the new values of freedom, economic independence, glitz of technology and the promise of a modern, secular domain yet at a deeper level it seems that we are still very much encaged in our obscurantist, archaic mind-sets. Is there some sort of a void, crisis of meaning that the India as a shared collective is passing through?
The answer to this question becomes clear when one looks around oneself and finds the proliferation of spiritual sects and ‘religious babas’ who own television channels on which they sermonise throughout the day, have multi-national ashrams and celebrity devotees, have unaccounted black money and luxury vehicles and in the name of contributions rob off their followers completely. Apart from their inclination towards monetary corruption what makes these ‘babas’ a complete menace is their proclivity for exploiting women who enter their chambers with the hope of spiritual guidance but end up being raped or molested by them or their sycophant followers. Despite the vulgar display of wealth, their sexual appetites, their inclination for all materialist comforts and the surrounding paraphernalia – it is ironic that they still manage to find followers who see in them the potential for guidance or spiritual liberation. As much as it may speak about the degeneration of god men in the country it also displays the degeneration of our own spiritual/creative intelligence that does not allow us to distinguish between ‘propaganda’ and ‘truth’. From a celebrity baba who entices all on his Royal Enfield, to one who suggests cures to everyday problems through the use of handkerchiefs and pens, to the one who tells his account number even before he speaks and to the one who dresses in blood red sari and sparkling jewellery and calls herself a ‘romantic devotee of shiva’- it is indeed a tragic case that despite their clear distance from any deep spiritual quest, meditative serenity or compassion we call them our gurus/mentors.
In recent days the way that events unfolded at Panchkula after the conviction of Ram Rahim Singh killing many people in a violent upsurge made breaking news across the country. The Goodman has been convicted of rape by the CBI court on Friday which led to violence and popular unrest leading to the death of over 38 people in Panchkula. His judgement is due to come later in the afternoon today and a curfew like situation can be seen in states of Haryana and Punjab. After the violence that recently occurred it is but obvious that security measures are taken adequately and the lives of ordinary people remain out of danger. As the court will decide on the final verdict it will become clear whether the politician-god man nexus in the country can really surpass the idea of justice or whether justice is still our top most priority. The point however is not whether Ram Rahim will be convicted and put to life imprisonment, rather this case forces us to contemplate upon why we as a nation has failed to choose our mentors well? Why are we so vulnerable to being cheated and why despite their wrong doings, we support these babas blindfolded
It is time that Indians who have had a strong spiritual lineage of gurus ranging from Chaitanya Mahaprabhu to Kabir, to Tagore, to Ramkrishna and Moinuddin Chishti – gurus who led them to a world of love, compassion and purity break free from these fake –thug god men and begin to see life with eyes free from dogma or prejudice. Without these efforts, we will continue to remain in the chambers of darkness, exploitation and mistrust.
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