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Baba Ram Rahim: The Enigmatic ‘Hedon’ Godman
 B P Mandal, Messiah of downtrodden, worked with large heart for uplifting low castes. Few remembering him today. But millions behind ‘fantasy-selling’ false godmen.

The cult of Baba Ram Rahim: Majority of Dalit followers of the DSS sect gives it an interesting twist!!!

There is a caste component to this conflict as well. Majority of the followers of Dera Sacha Sauda are Dalits or Scheduled Castes-lowest group within the caste hierarchy.

Such Deras provides the Socio-spiritual space for non-Jat Sikhs, that is both a political threat and a serious challenge to the Sikh-Khalsa identity.

The low-caste adherents of these Deras who have run afoul of Orthodoxy represent a near-exodus of Dalits from Sikhism.
This impacts the Jat-dominated SGPC and Akali Dal, which have never commanded the unwavering support of low-caste Sikhs.

Conflict is related to both power and identity.

Gurmeet claims to have moved beyond mundane definitions of religious divisions. However, once he had himself pictured in an advertisement dressed like Guru Govind Singh, replicating the symbolism of the ceremony at which the 10th Sikh Guru inaugurated the Khalsa in 1699.

Violent clashes erupted between the Khalsa Sikhs and Ram Rahim’s followers. The Akal Thakt Jathedar had issued an Edict (Hukamnama ) instructing Sikhs not to have any social interaction with this sect.

Interestingly, Baba Ram Rahim was born to Jat Sikh parents, Naseeb Kaur and Maghar Singh Sidhu, a landlord family in Ganganagar district of Rajasthan. But the 50 years old Baba never adhered to any religious sect or faith. Not an archetypal saint, he is controversial but charismatic for sporting a rockstar-like look wearing flashy outfits.


In many ways, he is the enigmatic avatar of a Hedon ‘Godman.’
 
Wielding political clout of unprecedented scale, it is noteworthy to remember Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s affectionate tweet extolling ‘Swachhta Abhiyaan’ virtue of beleaguered Sirsa saint. In 2007, he endorsed the Congress Party and now in Haryana and Punjab, he was the BJP’s best bet. Haryana CM Khattar is believed to be like ‘a baby in the lap’ of Ram Rahim. 
 
Opulence and grandstanding mark the ashram of Dera Sacha Sauda in Sirsa. It is spread across sprawling 700 acres and bamboozles you with its infrastructure, glittering interiors and cutting edge technological aura, from plush confine of a cave retreat for Gurmeet with unbelievable Las Vegas’s casino style lavish offerings to sports stadium. It’s a fairytale of different kind, unimaginable in the dusty stretches of Jatland on the outskirts of India’s national capital. 
 

However, the godman has blinded quite a constituency of his carping critics some very sterling welfare works, especially his de-addiction clinics in Pujnab and Haryana, where a huge constituency of youth has been plagued by drug devil.

Poor pockets of low-caste across the vast swathe have lined up the gate of DSS in glorious hope of redeeming their miserable plight. It’s difficult to ignore the cruel cycle of paradoxical difference between economic growth and social backwardness. Massive inequity paves the way for growing zone of superstition, ignorance and hocus-pocus. More areas of darkness in the age of science and reason bedevils the nuclear nation’s march into the top league of superpowers.

With more than 30 people having perished in the violence after Ram Rahim conviction in the rape case, it is time for introspection for everyone. Especially, the people in politics and media have special onus for the pestering cancer. Because both this organs of society have been in the vanguard of promoting and endorsing the cult of ‘Godman.’ Little wonder BJP MP Sakshi Maharaj jumped to the defence of Baba Ram Rahim, questioning the very right of the special Court.

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Frank Huzur is a poet, playwright, biographer and editor of Socialist Factor. He has written political biography of Imran Khan, Imran Versus Imran-The Untold Story and The Fighter. He has also written political biography of socialist patriarch and former defence minister of India, Mulayam SIngh Yadav, The Book is titled, The Socialist. Frank Huzur has written biography of youth icon charismatic socialist leader and former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister, Akhilesh Yadav. Frank has also published his memoir, titled, Soho-Journey from Body to Soul and three plays, including the much controversially popular, Hitler in Love with Madonna. He is currently working on his poetry anthology and first novel, The Boca Harem. He is editor of international English magazine, Socialist Factor and its fortnightly Hindi edition.