Asaram Bapu, who?

Is the old man's utterances really worth any media attention?

shivangi-narayan

Shivangi Narayan | January 7, 2013



Only two words escape my breath after listening to Asaram ji Bapu – Oh God, that too without the exclamation mark. I am sorry but I cannot give the guy more attention than he deserves, which in my world is nothing. I laughed a little too, considering it was funny to see who between Neelam Dubey, bapu’s spokesperson, and the CNN-IBN anchor will have the last word.

I laugh and care two hoots about Asaram ji Bapu because seriously, why should I listen to a man, a very old man who lives on alms given to him by rich businessmen, on what a woman should do if she is placed in a dangerous situation? Why should I listen to a man who has made business out of  the lakhs of old and retired men and women on the verge of depression by selling them existential dilemmas?

Why should I listen to a man who sits in an AC chamber and feeds on thousand year old dogmas that people of today are trying to do away with? Why should I listen to a man who eats nothing but food prepared in pure desi ghee, again funded by rich businessmen who want to get salvation from God for their very, ummm, noble ventures, about morality and my life as a woman?

Who, I ask, is this Asaram ji Bapu? What is his contribution to society except that he has saved some oldies, devoid of any fruitful activity, from killing themselves by giving them a place to congregate and gossip about their daughter-in-laws?

Has this old man ever travelled in a public transport? Has he ever haggled with an autowallah over the fare? Does he even understand what is it to live the life of an ordinary person in a metropolis devoid of the luxuries of splurging on expensive transport?

I want to ask Mr Bapu if he can recall real instances when he fended off a life threatening attack on him by reciting the Saraswati mantra?

I know for a fact that Bapu cannot answer any of my questions. He cannot because it is one thing to comment on a reality and another to live that reality. I do not even want to go into the redundant notions of patriarchy and women’s submissions he brings to life in his statements.

I do not want to discuss him because discussing him makes me very, very disappointed in the world we live in today. It makes me doubtful whether we ever will be able to move in the forward direction before people like him pull us back – far, far, behind into nothingness. It is because of people like them that women for centuries have considered it their duty to burn themselves on their husband’s pyre. It is people like him who perpetuate fundamentalism in society; who make religion a business – the more sensational, the better.

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