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.