Nothing Godly About Godmen: Editorial, Indian Currents

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Dr Suresh Mathew

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had propounded a weird theory sometime back. He said some plastic surgeon had got an elephant’s head on the body of a human being and Lord Ganesha came into existence. He went on to say that Karna could be born outside his mother’s womb as some reproductive genetic science was present at that time. When none else but the Prime Minister himself comes out with irrational statements that boggle the minds of even ordinary mortals, it is no surprise that godmen and godwomen are hogging the limelight. If it is Radhe Maa and Sarathi Baba who are in the thick of controversy today, they have many infamous predecessors who can be clubbed in the same hall of shame. Chandraswami, Asaram Bapu, Rampal, Nityanandaswami and Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh are just few other names that ‘adorn’ this shameful gallery of fake godmen.

It is natural that common people look for short-cuts to liberate them from agonies and afflictions. When they come across someone offering easy remedies to their problems, they become sitting ducks for the unscrupulous godmen and godwomen. Instead of sticking to the core of religion, they try to find solace in rituals and ceremonies offered by the ‘middlemen’ who claim to possess miraculous powers. Caught in the web of miracle-performing gurus, gullible people blindly follow their prescriptions as panacea for their troubles. Taking advantage of their larger than life image, godmen exploit their followers in every conceivable way. They fleece them monetarily; they indulge in sexual escapades; they grab large swathes of land…. instances of such misdeeds go endlessly.

A significant aspect of the emergence of godmen and godwomen is their nexus with politicians and industrialists. It is no secret that some of the former Prime Ministers were close followers of the most controversial swamis. There are several senior politicians who unashamedly proclaim their closeness to one or other such notorious figures. This unholy nexus works both ways. There is always a quid pro quo in such sinful relationship. While the godmen get protection from the law-enforcing agencies, politicians eye on the large followers of the swamis as vote bank. In this game of give and take politics, it is the common men who suffer as they fall victims to the vicious acts of godmen.

The emergence of godmen has yet another dangerous connotation: it boosts the Hindutva forces which make use of their services to their advantage. That is why when these controversial figures are caught on the wrong side of the law, it is projected as an attack on Hindu religion. There are godmen and godwomen languishing in jail for heinous crimes like rape and murder. Taking recourse to the bogey of religion to protect such ‘holy’ offenders is disrespect to the rule of law. The best way to block the emergence of fake gurus is to develop scientific temper and religious values among people. This alone will stop the gullible from flocking to godmen with a fake aura.

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