The Babas and their deras

A massive search operation is still going on in Baba Ram Rahim Singh’s dera or den at Sirsa in Haryana. The Baba has been sentenced to twenty years’ imprisonment by a court for rape. The searches have given a glimpse of the life of luxury, vice and sin that the Baba was leading. What is more, the Baba’s dera was virtually a parallel State within a State which was spread over a vast area of a thousand acres or more. His dera had its own hospital, operation theatre, cinema, eateries, playgrounds, etc. Then there are ‘tunnels’ whose purpose is still not very clear.  Above all, he had an ‘army’ which had ‘soldiers’ armed with automatic weapons. To beat everything else, he had his own currency for his empire. A search in his private retreat, the guha, yielded a rich haul of contraceptives, porn films and aphrodisiacs. 
This huge dera must have taken years to build. It is hard to believe that such a place could have been built without huge money and without the knowledge of the Haryana Government, its police and intelligence. Undoubtedly the Baba enjoyed political patronage because the allegedly huge number of his followers, fiercely loyal to him, was a captive vote bank for any political party. The Baba ruled with an iron hand. There were reports of castration and murder. The fear within his dera was so strong and so pervasive that only two of the female victims of his nocturnal orgies had the courage to approach the police and lodge formal complaints. It is their dauntlessness and doggedness that ultimately brought the Baba to justice. The State never cared to find out what the source of his immense riches was.
There are many other ‘babas’ of lesser stature, fame and wealth across the country – all having their band of loyal shisyas or disciples from many walks of life – from politicians to bureaucrats to police officers. Only in rare cases like that of Asharam Bapu that the long arm of the law is ultimately able to catch up with them and they are given their just desserts. Anyone can believe in the supernatural powers of any baba and become his devotee but when the Babas put themselves on the wrong side of the law, it is the duty of the State to step in and ‘let the law take its own course’, a phrase that the politicians are fond of repeating. In practice, seldom do the self-styled godmen or babas bother about the law because of the political clout they enjoy. As long as the unholy nexus between the so-called godmen and their politician, bureaucrat and police chelas continues, most of the babas will have it their own way. The State and the civil society will turn a blind eye to their misdeeds and crimes.

Sunday, 10 September, 2017