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Friday, 15 January 2016

The Man, The Myth, The Legend

Who outside India had any idea that the messenger of god was a walking amongst us?

Actually 'walking amongst us' is a misnomer ... riding on a large motorbike, wearing more sparkly gowns than a glam rock artist and singing just as loudly would be a more apt description.

To say that despite its love of showing itself as 'I.T. cool', India is in fact a very simplistic place, with feudal voting patterns, and a love of the gaudy which can be breath-taking is wrong. Where else would a self-proclaimed 'Messenger Of God' (well, the Hindu/Sikh version of the universal godhead), be able to build up a religious following in the millions (they claim 50 million plus) simply by self-promotion. Actually South Korea for one ... remember the Moonies sect? Sun Myung Moon and his mass wedding of devotees .... who could have forgotten them?

Mass Wedding, 'Moonie' Style

But back to the latest deity to tread that path. So who is this current star in the firmament? Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singhji is the answer. If like me you had never heard of him, well that’s your loss (apparently).

The Messenger Of God (I and II)

Here’s a few telling facts about the man, the myth, the legend:
  • He's 48 years old.
  • He's head of the Dera Sacha Sauda a Hindu (or maybe Sikh) sect.
  • He has published half a dozen music videos which appear on You Tube. His 2014 'hit' single called 'Highway Love Charger', has been viewed more than two million times on YouTube (see Internet).
  • He regularly performs at rock concerts (which are usually attended by tens of thousands of his 'followers') in which he sings, and he dances, often in multi-coloured pyjamas and a top that is embellished with glittering sequins and stones.
  • Films ... did I mention films? No, well he's also played himself in two films 'Messenger of God' and the originally names 'Messenger of God 2', in which he performs daredevil stunts on motorbikes and fighting hissing villains.

When did the Pope ever do this? Never that’s when! .... as for those US evangelists well, Jim Bakker, Billy Graham and Jerry Falwell et al, eat your hearts out. Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singhji is 'The Man'.

Hey, he even throws in a bit of 'good works' out of the millions of Rupees that his devotees have contributed to him as 'gifts', with the sect running a number of schools, and several hospitals, as well opposing female foeticide, and also campaigning for legal reforms for sex workers. So what if jealous types, such as those mainstream Sikh leaders, who accuse (rather quietly) him of insulting and belittling their faith, or those who have accused him of forcing up to 400 followers to undergo castrations (so that they could get "closer to God"), or even those accusations of rape and murder (all accusations denied by the way) ... the fact is, he is adored by millions, and insulting him can land you in prison (or worse), as the Indian comedian Kiku Sharda has recently found out.

As for those film critics who said his films were 'So bad they were good', well they are plain wrong as the millions who watched them both can testify. And that (ex)head film censor who tried to ban the first film, on the grounds that it was 'unsuitable for the public, because it promoted superstition' ... well where is she now? Out of work that’s where, and the film was passed by the board inside 24 hours, instead of the usual 15 to 30 days.

An amazing tale from the real sub-continent that we hear too little about ..... as for my opinions. Well what can I add to the facts .... they speak volumes for themselves.

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