Aree ‘baba’ esi baat nahi hai.. I was busy,” I uttered when a dear friend of mine called me up in the midnight to complain that I have forgotten my friends these days. With half sleepy eyes and slippery tongue, I conveyed to him that it’s not like that, I am just busy these days. And before I could explain any further, he shouted at me, “What baba? I am not any baba” and he hanged the phone.
Perplexed over his sudden change in the behavior, I spent my rest of the night thinking what went wrong. The next day I reached office for my early morning meeting.
As we were winding up the meeting and I sipped the utmost last drop of my cappuccino (as this time I paid for it) I noticed one of my colleagues with a flamboyant dress was ready to leave the conference room.
“Hey! Why don’t you visit Sirsa this week?” I asked him.
“Yea, why not! They are looking for a new dera chief and you look like a readymade baba,” I couldn’t believe my words but yes I actually said these to an unknown man whose even name I wasn’t sure about.
But before I could apologise for my not so “funnybone” comment, he commented back while looking at the boss, “That sounds good. Atleast I will earn good money” and thus the corporate sarcastic journey took birth.
What’s this ‘baba’ story?
So was the impact of round the clock coverage of #RamRahimVerdict that by the evening of that day, I had already used the word ‘baba’ 39 times.
Oh, by the way, I didn’t count it. It was my team mate who was fed up listening to this and kept on telling me the number everytime I used the once upon a time revered name — baba.
It’s amusing to think about the depth of power a baba can have in our country but more concern goes to the fact that nearly 2.5 million people from Haryana follow some guru or a dera. How is this even possible, a little fraction of my mind kept on asking me? No doubt, India is a land of spirituality. Thousands of people from Western countries come to India to seek solace and spiritual awakening.
Even I am a spiritual seeker and love to indulge in meditation for long hours. But do I really need to blindly follow some guru to get connected with my higher self?
No, certainly not.
So who are these lakhs of followers who empowered a cult leader with so much reverence that he turned into a charismatic political and social influencer?
Along with the dera chief, shouldn’t we blame the blind followers also who raised the value of this godman and treated him like God?
A godman cannot exist if there is no follower. The more trust we put in these opportunist babas the more they befool us.
Many cases up of blind faith have opened up since Gurmeet Ram Rahim, chief of Sacha Sauda dera got convicted and awarded 20 years of prison.
It’s like a can of worms which once opened keeps letting more and more worms come out. The height of blind faith and undivided devotion have enriched the rapist baba so much that while people kept on surrendering their time, feelings and money to the rockstar baba, he kept on creating his lavish personal empire which included a sprawling 700-acre compound, hi tech-gadgets, luxuries cars worth crores of rupees and what not.
In one of such instances of blind devotion, one Bhim Sen was recently arrested for instigating other dera followers to burn a grain godown in Punjab so that more public property can be damaged post dera chief’s sentencing.
During the investigation, it was revealed that the family of this devotee has donated five kanal of land to one of Dera Sacha Sauda centres. Not only this, his devotion to the baba was such that few years ago, he and his few friends spend 4.5 lakh to buy just half kilogram of pickle from Sirsa (assuming that the Dera chief himself prepared the pickle).
While you start talking about the kiddish step taken by this man, mind it, this is just one of the several cases of blind faith which surfaced now. But the question is, who is to be blamed for all this? Baba?
Or his followers, who harm the national public property, threaten violence, are willing to kill others or self and are even ready to burn the whole nation to protect the love charger baba.
In a video, which recently surfaced on social media, a woman standing in a dera gathering threatened to wipe out India’s face from the map of the world, if their leader is even touched.
“Agar hamare pitaji ko kuchh hua to hum duniya ke nakshe se India ka naamo nishan mita denge,” warned a female follower. What kind of devotion is this?
The arrest or downfall of few gurus doesn’t guarantee that no such cult leader will be born again. Until there is dearth of needy followers there will not be dearth of dhongi gurus.
If the followers can take the risk to give unconditional faith and devotion to some unknown authority why can’t they trust their own self a little more? If they had devoted that much of faith in their capabilities, I guarantee, they wouldn’t have felt cheated now, rather they wouldn’t have felt the need of any baba in their lives.
The truth is you don’t need any of such babas, pitaji, bapu or ma. The need is you become your own guide, own baba, own hero and your own spiritual guide. Time to hire your own self as your own baba.
After writing this column, Yashica Jalhotra has sent an email requesting 5 crore worldwide followers of Gurmeet Ram Rahim to nominate her as their next dera chief. She is keeping her fingers crossed. Send her wishes at email@example.com.