Srishti Choudhary

The Harsh Truth About India’s Godmen

Late last month, two Indian states and the national capital were upended by rioting mobs protesting their spiritual leader’s conviction on two counts of raping minor girls. The episode has forced Indians to confront some painful truths about their country.

NEW DELHI – Late last month, when two Indian states and the national capital were held to ransom by rioting mobs protesting their spiritual leader’s conviction on two counts of raping minor girls, many Indians found themselves confronting several painful truths about their country.

The leader who spurred these protests is Gurmeet Singh, one of the more prominent of several “godmen,” or self-proclaimed spiritual leaders, who flourish across India. The flamboyant, jewelry-bedecked Singh calls himself Baba Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh Insan – a compound of Hindu, Muslim, and Sikh names, followed by the word for “Human” in Hindi, Punjabi, and Urdu. And he has a reputation for sexually exploiting his female followers.

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