By this time almost all Indians are aware of Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh Insaan, his insane actions, his Dera Sacha Sauda, the accusations and the verdict. We are also informed about his influence on the crores of followers and their disapproval of his arrest. These Godmen are not a rarity in a deeply religious country, like India. Every now and then, we come across several babas and sadhus and matas, get pissed off by their wrongdoings, and yet, their blind followers keep inflating. I have seen intelligent urban folk, debating about the superiority of one Godman over another, each one claiming his own guru to be of supreme power, and unquestionable authority. Which brings us to a basic question: who followed Ram Rahim Singh, and why do we keep getting ensnared in these obviously fraudulent traps:
Many of us are asking the question frequently: Who are the 6 crore people who followed Ram Rahim, and were upset enough with a just verdict to kill innocents? This was not even one of the more credible sadhus. Not a yogi, not an educated orator, with the gift of the gab. This was not even a rural magician. Then why?
Ram Rahim did not try to be credible for the urban, modern Indian. The more we sneered at his obvious craziness, and weird narcissism, the more he dug his heels into that outlandish avatar. Ram Rahim’s success lies in his ability to target a group of followers, who were blinded by the colors of his dress, mannerisms and idiosyncrasies. He deliberately alienated the privileged Indian (except the below categories, who have a different agenda altogether). This stance helped him in endearing the oppressed millions in the nation, in common antagonism against the privileged class. Only the extremely gullible and religiously blind people followed him and were ready to die for him.
Indians are emotional about their objects of adoration. Like Godmen, we are very easily influenced by celebrities. This is obvious from the monopoly of our Bollywood, and sporting celebrities on the advertisement arena. Unfortunately, most celebrities, be it successful business folks, sports stars or actors, harbor their own insecurities. Most of these folks are rich, depressed and have a lot more to lose than the common countryman. Often, this leads to their belief in god, god-men, fake sadhus and religious babas. It was not too long back when the much exalted, Bachchan family, for example, decided to do a special puja to ‘cure’ their world-famous daughter-in-law of divine curses. Other celebrities have often demonstrated similar allegiance to superstitions, and false avatars.
God men in return receive huge donations, and go an extra mile to make the celebrities feel at home. This obnoxious symbiosis often leads fanatic celebrity followers to make the same divine choices as their beloved super stars.
Well, this one is a no-brainer. It is a fact that Indian politicians use these religious god-men as live, easy vote-banks to sway election results. The more loyal and mindless follower collection these babas have, the more attractive they become to the electoral politics of the nation. No wonder the babas receive huge donations from these channels. Under the protection of those who govern us, Babas cannot be easily dethroned, despite obvious abuse of power, in some cases.
The saddest part of the story lies in here. The rape charges, the castration allegations, and the murder accusations, that brought the fraud Baba to the public eye, were targeted at victims who were forced by mindless family members to allege. They tried to convince their families about baba and his wrongdoings, but were forced to stay the course. Despite the blatant abuse, they silently suffered the atrocities inflicted on them by their very own. In a way these religious groups work quite similar to drug or sex rackets. You can always join, but you may never leave.
While we are free to follow a God, religion, Superman or Pokemon, we must remember a basic human value: Is my choice hurting others? If the answer is yes, you need to think twice before you take this leap of faith. Choose wisely!
The opinions expressed in this article are personal and may or may not reflect Blank Slate Chronicles views as a whole. The author is an atheist, and strongly believes in abolishing all organized religious practices in India.
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