Meet Guru Gurmeet Ram Rahim who dresses like a Rockstar and is a philosopher, actor, sports star, author and has huge political clout.
His name is exceptionally long — Guru Gurmeet Ram Rahim – so are the controversies surrounding him. And so is his biodata. Apart from being a `messenger of God, he is a philosopher, actor, sports star, author, poet … the list is never ending. Short of being a Nobel Laureate, Guru Gurmeet Ram Rahim at 50 is a one-man super power.
Ram Rahim’s Dera Sacha Sauda claims to have 50 million followers and runs a spiritual empire. He has his own army protecting him and the dera. The sect’s followers call themselves ‘Premis’ and have a history of fervent devotion.
While he is famous in Haryana and Punjab, the rest of India wonder how he is a Guru in the first place.
Like other gurus, he sports a long beard. There ends the similarity. Guru Gurmeet Ram Rahim also sports a rockstar-like look with garish and flashy outfits. Apart from crazy devotees, he is always surrounded by gun-wielding guards as he enjoys a Z-plus security cover.
Born in August 1967 to a Jat Sikh family of Gurusar Modiya village in Sriganganagar district of Rajasthan, he was initiated into the sect at the age of seven by his predecessor Shah Satnam Singh Maharaj.
When he was just 23, he became the sect head as he displayed rare talent and strength – two qualities that the sect’s followers loved. He is married, but little is known about his wife. She has not been seen in public.
Guru Gurmeet Ram Rahim has a son Jasmeet Singh, who is a business man. He was recently anointed as his next successor. With this Ram Rahim broke the old custom of appointing Dera heads. Jasmeet is married to former Punjab MLA and Congress leader Harminder Singh Jassi’s daughter. He has two daughters.
The dera chief also has a daughter though details about her are a bit sketchy.
Ram Rahim is believed to be the incarnation of the sect’s first Guru – Shah Mastana. In his last spiritual discourse in 1960, Shah Mastana had indicated that exactly seven years later he would reincarnate as the third master of the sect. Guru Gurmeet Ram Rahim was born in 1967 – seven years later.
According to the chronicle maintained by the dera, Ram Rahim was a ‘child prodigy’. At the age of 8, he reportedly excelled in everything he did and even learnt driving.
He loves to live a larger than life image. That is why he opted to storm into the world of cinemas as the `Messenger of God’ wherein he beats all evil doers to pulp using even the power of lightning. Short of igniting a nuclear bomb, Guru Gurmeet Ram Rahim does everything to save the poor and downtrodden in the movies.
That is the secret of why he has such a following.
In Punjab and Haryana, there is a huge paradox between economic growth and social regression. Human development remained a low priority area. Ram Rahim exploited this to the hilt.
He abolished the caste system and asked all his followers to use the surname `Insan’ or human being. All his followers are equal.
Ram Rahim went strongly against drug abuse and alcohol that Punjab is infamous for. That won him the support of thousands of women who were able to save their children from the menace to drugs and alcohol.
He also earned huge appreciation for humanitarian work such as blood donation, eye donation, rehabilitation of prostitutes and relief operations during calamities.
Gratitude is the primary sentiment that makes the dera chief’s followers defend him whole-heartedly and with passion bordering on violence. “We were once paupers. But today, we have everything from jobs to money, vehicles, and farmland all because of him,” a devotee Phool Chand was quoted in the media.
With fame came controversies too – rape and murder.
(See story on Guru Gurmeet Ram Rahim Has a Fair Share of Controversies Too – Rape and Murder)