Godman

Who will the common man turn to for curing his incurable diseases brought on not by infection or bacteria or parasite, but on account of the afflicted having incurred divine wrath?

Where will thugs and goons, and others with low self-esteem, congregate and seek solace in each other’s company while carrying out their business?

Who will the politicians woo for putting in a good word for them to swing the popular vote of blind followers in their favour, without having to do any work?

Whose charitable trusts will wives of senior politicians patronise?

Where will religious followers stockpile firearms, petrol bombs, Molotov cocktails and acid bulbs for throwing on law-enforcement officials when they try to do their job?

What will happen to the illicit arms manufacturing industry? Will it impact the growth projections for the economy; as recently as yesterday OECD has projected a 6.6% growth rate for FY 2016?

Where will fanatical followers keep innocent women and children hostage for the protection of one individual?

Who will rich businessmen patronise with the unaccounted for part of their wealth in return for seeking favours with politicians?

Will law-enforcement officials now need to go back to the dark days of relying only on murder and rape cases to get recognition?

Who will the common man blame for mistreatment after having gone inside private property without being invited?

These, and many other, disturbing questions are the subject of hushed conversations all over the state since 9 PM last night when news of the arrest of the latest Godman to capture popular imagination, wafted in through invasive news channels who cannot seem to mind their own business even under physical danger, and reported on the week-long siege of the “ashram” (hermitage) by law-enforcement forces seeking arrest of the Godman, braving armed attacks by the private army of the “sant” (saint).

Being in the same state, barely 200 km from the hub of activity, the seismic tremors felt in Gurgaon are particularly strong. People are conscious that the world, as we have known it, may never be the same again.

But every dark cloud has a silver lining. Such is life.

Difficulty in comprehending the spoken word, inability to articulate a response, a fixed, vacant stare and low level of education being understood to be the primary qualifications for the role of Godman, shivers of hope are coursing through veins of the downtrodden in the state, who see an opportunity for a lucrative career in the space recently vacated. People need Godmen. Many, many of them. One of the important items in the Job Description of Godmen being indulgence in illegal activities, causing them to go out of circulation after a period of success, we need to have others always ready to step into the vacancy.

What they don’t know is that many of them will eventually get disqualified because the position also requires the additional qualities of a thick skin and the ability to act without remorse for personal gain. They may be forced to stick to their honest professions like electrical repairs, plumbing, gardening and cleaning. But then, such is life.

Our Godman claims he saw a vision of Kabir, the 15th century poet, mystic and sage. As we all know, in 2014, that is more than adequate reason for people to throng to him and make him wealthy beyond his known sources of income.

Since last night, there have been reports of visions being seen of Rahim, Surdas, Meera, Tulsidas and Ravidas by people across the state. Competition is heating up. And we are only talking 15th century poets, mystics and sages here, approximating to the period Kabir lived in, whose existence and work is backed by historical records. Step a little beyond history, into the vast mythological space (the line between history and mythology is always thin and constantly shifting), and we have a constellation of over six hundred million and one (remember we added Sachin Tendulkar a few years back) Gods and Goddesses to choose from. Our Gods and Goddesses are suddenly a busy lot, having to appear in visions of over a billion people. At one God to two people, it is a ratio stacked against the Gods. We need more.

As keeping women and children hostage and using your private army to battle law-enforcement agencies is a stressful activity at the best of times, immediately after arrest he was taken away for a medical checkup.

Redemption

He was on the run. But he had no place to hide. As is normally the case when one is running from oneself.

He was the butt of crude innuendos and cruel jokes; in fact, had been throughout his adult life. Everywhere he went people would laugh at him; on his face.

His ability to assume higher responsibilities, when the time came, had been questioned. He had lived a life on the margins.

Would he be responsible for destroying the legacy his illustrious father had assiduously built through so many years of persistence and hard work? In the face of adversity. In the face of questioning and investigation by law enforcement agencies of the country.

He had borne it all with great fortitude, devoting himself selflessly to the cause.

But matters had now come to a head. His, father, on the wrong side of seventy, had been accused of sexual assault by a minor girl.

He could bear it no more. He had bolted.

He had lived a charmed life.

His upbringing, and training, in the ways of the ashram run by his father, had been personally supervised by a doting father. He had been the chosen one. Expected to build on the legacy.

He had been a keen student. And had always tried hard.

Despite his upbringing and training and hard work, results had been singularly remarkable in their absence. No accusation of sexual assault! No case of land-grabbing!! No instance of even petty thievery or rabble-rousing!!!

His father, on the other hand, had gone from strength to strength. This was not the first time such accusations had been made against him. He had periodically been accused of land-grabbing, amassing wealth disproportionate to means, and various other crimes. The difference this time was that he had been arrested and put behind bars. He had even successfully passed a potency test while incarcerated. Was there anything he could not do? The self-styled Godman had a following of millions for good reason.

Dove-cotes of the faithful are aflutter. Faced with the prospect of being led by an unaccomplished son, they are troubled and in a militant mood. They see it as a let-down and have started openly questioning the Godman’s decision of grooming his son to take-on the mantle. Why had the Godman wasted resources in training such an imbecile? They wanted answers to their questions.

Is this the person they will abdicate personal responsibilities for, and rush to in search of the cheap, alluring alternative of ready answers, outcomes of which can be blamed on fate and karma?

Is this the person who will lead and guide them to never take responsibility for their actions, nay, their whole lives?

Is this the person whose drug-laced dancing steps they will witness and cheer in the hope of reaching closer to the state of nirvana through blind faith?

Is this the person who will sprinkle coloured water on them from a garden hose powered by a portable motor riding on a battery-powered golf-cart made to look like a chariot, to deliver them from their sins?

Is this the person who will ask them to surrender logic and reason and embrace superstition and stupidity?

Is this the person who will give them a false sense of security and pander to their desire and craving for being led?

Is this the person who will enrich himself at their cost and make them feel good about it?

All these days, he had no answer. And when matters came to a head, he had bolted.

But you cannot keep a good man down forever.

His honour has been retrieved. Recently, as if by divine intervention, he has been accused of molestation and rape by two inmates of another ashram run by his father.

He can walk tall once more. He can again look his father in the eye. He has not wasted his life in doing moral deeds. The years of training have not been in vain. He has earned the right to lead blind followers.

Even though the matter is with the courts, the accusation is proof that he is on the right track.

Devoted followers can heave a sigh of relief.