Asaram Bapu, another illustrious name in the list of self propagated godmen who are in the news more for their misdemeanors rather than anything positive, seems to be in some problem now. He has been sentenced to a 14 day term at the Jodhpur Central Jail by the local Sessions Court. The charge, as we all know here, is that he had sexually assaulted a minor girl on Independence Day at his Jodhpur ashram. MK Vyas, the district and sessions judge, who is hearing the case, has also rejected the plea of the defendant’s lawyers that he was not keeping well and so he should be admitted to a hospital.
Anand Purohit, the additional advocate general and the state counsel, has stated that the prosecution countered the plea of the defence attorneys by saying that Asaram will be given health facilities as and when the need arise. His lawyers have already filed a bail plea and it is supposed to be heard on September 3, 2013. Ajay Lamba, the deputy commissioner of police in Jodhpur, has meanwhile stated that the police have refrained from seeking an increase in the remand as the investigation is yet to be completed. He has however informed the media that police has strong evidence against Bapu and feels that they are heading in the right direction. Lamba is in fact sure that the police will soon be able to file a charge-sheet in this case.
Strangely enough Asaram has managed to retain his composure regarding the whole proceeding and has only informed the court that he was not feeling well. In spite of being evidently disappointed when leaving the court premises following the ruling, he has asked his supporters to continue their meditation and be patient. He would be kept at barrack 1 in Jodhpur Central Jail. It was earlier reported that he was suffering from some neurological problem. However, that has been proved to be a lie as per the local police.
They are also saying that he is mentally and physically okay after being examined as part of a potency test by a team of doctors at the SN Medical College in Jodhpur. In fact if police statements are to be believed he has also been consuming food as and when given which perhaps shows that he is more or less in good physical and mental state.
The entire situation has also, it seems, created divisions between the two pillars of the Hindutva discourse in India – Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). While Ashok Singhai, the VHP chief, has termed the entire incident as an insult for the religion itself, RSS is of the opinion that the truth will soon be revealed and sees no conspiracy in the arrest.
India is an ancient country with a rich and diverse history of spirituality. Yet the aspect that remains inexplicable for me as an atheist is that here people do not realize the fact that God or divinity can be attained only through good actions and thoughts and not through steadfast devotion to people who profess their own greatness. The startling thing is that in spite of such serious allegations Asaram still has supporters who are against his arrest.
Till the day that India and Indians realize the true power of their tradition, such people will continue to exist in our midst and thrive and violate more of their devotees. The worst part of this is that not all of them may be intelligent enough to understand what is happening around them or to them – an awakening is needed, till then enlightenment can wait.