Showing posts with label Asaram Bapu. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Asaram Bapu. Show all posts

Monday, December 9, 2013

SUNDAY SENTIMENT Tejpals and Gangulys spurt Crisis of Faith & Confidence

Tejpals and Gangulys spurt
Crisis of Faith & Confidence

Yesterday, a friend narrated that when he reached home he found he wife escorting our daughter home from school. My daughter after her school went to our friend's home everyday, he told, and my wife went to fetch her from his home at her leisure. When my friend asked his wife why had she gone to school to bring the daughter straight from school, she replied, "It's no longer safe to have blind faith in anyone".
That is the reply which should raise an alarm in everybody's mind. The new environment had been created by people whom people trust — their close relations, friends and intimate acquaintance. They had punctured other's faith and trust in them.  Today, no woman, no girl and no child is safe even within family. There is a spurt in the instances of fathers, brothers, uncles, maternal uncles, other close blood relations and godly gurus behaving like beastly man-eaters on the prowl not sparing their innocent female relations from their wolfish sexual pounces.  Whatever may be the truth behind the Tarun Tejpal, Justice A. K. Ganguly or Asaram Bapu episodes, these have certainly shaken the faith and confidence of the people in their acquaintances be they their friends, relations or disciples. That such ugly incidents could happen with women who are of their daughters' age may be unthinkable yet true in the present times.
The very fact that such an allegation is made against such people in society who, otherwise, claim — or are expected — to be the custodians of morality and truth, is a matter for alarm. Tejpal made his name as a person who fearlessly exposed the misdeeds of high-ups in politics and government, though there are also allegations of his being partial in having singled out a certain political wing for his target. That such an allegation should even — and ever — be made against them is a matter of shame and sufficient to make them bow their heads in shame. On the contrary, they seem to be trying to appear brave and daring.  Tejpal was chatting and laughing, according to media reports, in the plane on his way to Goa where he was to be interrogated and, later arrested for the heinous charge by the police. So was Asaram Bapu's son Narain Sain when ultimately he was apprehended by police after having dodged police for over a month. He too is facing very shameful sexual charges like his father. When police was pushing him to a police van he was chivalrously waving to the crowd as if he had returned home after a great victory.
Tejpal is not remorseful of what he did or happened. Initially he did regret his sin and tried to present himself as a great moralist by quitting, as a penance, the editorship of Tehelka for six months. But now he is brandishing his innocence claiming that all happened with the girl's consent — the girl who was reportedly his daughter's age. Nothing can be  more sinful — if no crime in the eye of our law singed with western ideology and norms  — if a father were to claim that he committed the crime — and the sin — with his daughter's consent!
We do claim that our civilization has advanced in recent times. Is it really so? A century or  more people would not lock their houses. Today, not only homes, even the pocket is not safe. You keep something unattended and in a moment it disappears like an essential commodity from the market. People used to respect age and position. An elderly person received universal respect even from a stranger. Today, even parents have to beg for care and respect. Relationship has lost sanctity.
If a girl called any boy her brother, they became brother and sister in reality even if he had, before that, entertained a wish to marry her. A friend narrated that when he received a proposal for his son's marriage from a girl's parents, both he and his father refused because the girl in question had been addressing him her brother. Even the alien Moghul ruler Humayun protected the woman from his enemy's family who tied tied rakhi on his wrist.
A girl of the village was always treated like a daughter and sister with all the love and affection. Safety of the girl and woman was then considered to be the sacred duty of the villagers, young and old. But today nobody has faith in a person of his own village. In their eyes, all have turned sex-hungry sharks.
There was always a respectable distance between the teacher and the taught. The student gave his/her teacher the respect like that given to parents. Students felt more scared of their teachers than their parents. To maim their unruly children parents used to dread their wards by threatening to report their bad habits to their teacher. It had an instant impact. The children then fell in line. But not so today. Students have started taking teachers as their equals or, at the most, first among the equals, as we call the council of ministers. Teachers cannot scold their students if they did not behave. Teachers and students have entered into wedlock.
Actually, we seem to be led by the thought (of Shakespeare) that nothing is good or bad but thinking makes it so. Our permissive society is the mother of all our ills and woes .  A modern liberal magazine a few years back published an interview in which a young man brags boldly and proudly, "What if I wish to marry my sister?"
Under our law in matters of marriage sky is the limit; there are no restraints and taboos. There is an old saying: jab miaan beevee raazee to kya karegaa kaazee? If a man and woman consent, who can question — not even the husband and wife.
Our parents do have a duty to give us a nice bringing up — feed us well, fulfill our needs and demands, give us the education we want and provide us everything to realize our dreams. But when they grow up, they have no duty to look after their aged, sometime infirm parents. In marriage, the parents and family are a non-entity. Family traditions and taboos crumble before the stubborn attitude of children. But later, if the marriage turns sour, it is parents who come to their rescue and stand by them.
One's liberalism survives so long, so far as it does not pinch and prick one himself. Everybody wishes to see the other person's wife in the nude, but if somebody is caught peeping into one's wife's bed room one is furious enough to smash the head of that rascal.   

It is not that every person, young or old, has turned into a Tejpal, a Ganguly or Asaram. But the solitary instances have shaken the faith and confidence of people in every honest and truthful person around. Everyone has now turned a suspect — suspect of his character, honesty and integrity. A single individual turns hundreds and thousands of others as objects not worthy of their faith. Is it not the time for the society to ponder and do something? 

Sunday, October 20, 2013


Sunday Sentiments


The way events are unfolding in the case of 'Godman' Asaram Bapu it is demeaning not only for him whom crores of devotees looked up as their god incarnate, their guru and their savior but also for those who put their faith in him and other such individuals. Such incidents are violently shaking the faith of people in godliness of individuals. This is a very depressing and disheartening a scenario for all those who subsist just on faith. If people are pushed to losing their mutual faith, their mutual trust and respect in their near and dear-ones, teachers, gurus and leaders, that would be a catastrophic eventuality. It is in an atmosphere of mutual, faith and respect that our universe hangs.

The edifice Asaram Bapu has built in the country and abroad is the sum-total of the people's faith and trust in him and in his professions of godliness.  It is something unique in him that he could ignite so much faith and trust in himself from crores of people all over the world. An impersonator can befool some people for some time but not all the people for all the times. The turn of events in his case has been shocking enough to shake the solid foundations of faith people had laid in him. That an aashram should be equipped with a swimming pool like the one people experience in a five-star hotel has startled one out of one's slumber of blind faith. God can be sought and realized not in the corridors of five-star comforts. If it were, everyone staying in a five-star hotel would have been a saint and a man of god. Only hermits living in complete denial of cosy comforts of a home have attained god and godliness and not the rajas and maharajas luxuriating in their palaces.
Maybe, Bapu himself cannot be blamed for all this. Maybe, some over-enthusiastic of his devotees went out of their way to do all this and even indulged in acts of illegal encroachments on adjoining government and private lands and even violated certain laws. But he too cannot escape the vicarious responsibility for whatever was done in his aashrams in his name.
Why single out Hindus?
The followers of Bapu do have a strong question: Why is it that men of god in Hindu way of life are the only target of our media, sting operations and exposures? Every faith has its share of myths, superstations, blind faith, hypocrisies, wrong rituals, customs and traditions. We do hear and read, though occasionally, of wrongdoings in the places of worship and shrines of even non-Hindu faiths too. Some news reports or even books do appear at times. But it is only the Hindus who are being singled out for exposure of their dark side ignoring the unique positive aspects. There has, so far, not been a convincing answer to this question.
The nature of allegations that are emerging against Asaram Bapu, his family members and the aashramites bring no honour to anybody, not even to his followers. But to take the allegations as gospel of truth is equally wrong. It is none else than Asaram Bapu who knows the truth. As a man of gold, he is the custodian of truth. He preaches truth, so he must also practice the truth.
What should Bapu do?
Throughout his long life as a man of god, he had been preaching his followers to inculcate the virtue of penance, punishment that is undergone in token of penitence for sin. Only a person of virtue — and not of vice — can rise so high as to confess one's crimes and sins.
Bapu needs to avail himself of the opportunity of confinement to jail as a golden opportunity for meditation in solitude. If he certainly has committed no crime or sin, he should stand up to it and face the situation with fortitude. But if he thinks he has inadvertently, in any way, in any circumstances, he should practice the virtue of repentance, "an act that shows that you feel sorry about something that you have done, something for religious reasons". He should undertake atonement of his sins and "suffer the wrath of his God....for having eaten the fruit of the 'Tree of Knowledge'". The believers in God", it is said "are content that man's suffering is ordained and, therefore, he accepts life and its trials and tribulations as a penance for living" (Joseph Lewis)
It would be a very depressing, unbecoming and awkward a situation to confront where, god forbid, a court of law were to come to the conclusion that all his pleading of innocence are a series of lies and he is sentenced to any punishment.

It is time we all — his followers and sympathisers — look into ourselves, calmly and coolly.                                                                                                                                                                                     ***