Religious Hipocrisy in India, in light of the recent Baba Ram Rahim verdict

on August 25, 2017 the CBI court of India convicted the sect chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim of rape and other charges. To give you a scale of the impact this trial had on the country, parts of Haryana and Punjab as well as Chandigarh were under a security lock down on Thursday as 200,000 supporters of the Dera Sacha Sauda chief massed in Panchkula ahead of a verdict in a rape trial against him.

Schools, colleges and government offices were closed, and train and bus services suspended. The army was placed on standby, while police and paramilitary forces patrolled sensitive areas.

A cricket stadium was turned into a temporary jail in case the self-styled spiritual leader’s followers turn violent if he is found guilty.

This isn’t the first time such masses have appeared to support their idol, clashes between Dera Sacha Sauda followers and members of the Sikh faith left at least three people dead in 2007.

In 2014, six people were killed as followers of another popular religious leader, guru Rampal, fought pitched battles with police attempting to arrest him over a murder trial.

This time it is 32 people who died in the aftermath of violence and injuries are faced by 267 people in the riots.

And Of COURSE the ‘these lower caste people yaar they do such things’ narrative has started off. How easily we disentangle and disengage from violence that doesn’t benefit us. How conveniently we absolve responsibility, is abysmal.

You literally can’t talk about dera sachha sauda violence without discussing why deras were created in punjab and how their role and warped and changed over time. There’s no point to being ‘horrified’.

DSS has given thousands of people across north india an identity away from the historical oppression they’ve known. It’s given them safety. a huge number of its members are from backwards castes, who had converted to Sikhism, but found the same upper caste oppression there too. Sikhism is, in theory, casteless. The ground realities, however, are sobering and unfortunate. The jat-khatri coterie has taken over religious politicking, especially representation in sgpc and other gurudwara committee. They’ve systematically kept new converts out of the loop and have actively oppressed them because they represent a status quo shakeup.

This (along with other factors) has led to people being angry, helpless, disillusioned. They see no way out, no way up. They turn to drugs. Punjab and nasha have become synonymous, and this has been worsened by economic insecurity+lack of education. They’re a lost people. So when the dera sachha sauda comes up as a saviour organisation, they’re interested. Of course they are. The dera promises them dignity. they dera educates its people, feeds them, keeps them off drugs, gives them jobs, gives them a purpose. It gives them a dignity of being. A lost man doesn’t care if a rapist gives him direction. A hungry man will take food from a murderer’s hand. Never forget this.

What you see isn’t *just* an expression of misogyny and religious fervour. That too, yes, but it’s actively an expression of insecurity too. What you and i see as justice, a large number of people see as a possible slide down to the pits they’ve barely emerged from. What you see on the today has been simmering over a generation and a half. In our race to *appear* developed, we forgot that development, as understood by very rudimentary economics, is unfair, unjust, unequal, and problematic. If nothing else, this should serve as a lesson. If we try to climb up by stepping on someone else’s broken back, those people will rise.

Politicians understand this. They know a votebank when they see one, that’s why they’re politicians. they’ve been allowing these deras to flourish and mutate. Think of this as a very messed up, but immensely effective delegation system. They support the deras in their bullshit knowing the votebank will be appeased by them. this allows deras a free reign. The deras will fight each other, they will fight within themselves, and they will go to any lengths to ‘win’. The politicians allow this because it also makes deras comfortably indebted to them. Think of divine right of rule. Same principle applies.

What you have is a reckless product that feeds off people’s insecurities and replaces their drugs with a more potent one- faith&security. Religion might be an opiate, but faith? Man, that’s a trip if i ever saw one. DSS has a veritable army of people willing to kill for it. And we made this. We allowed this with our apathy. When you look down on the protestors, remember this. We’re culpable too, massively so.