Tired of greedy imposters ruining their reputation, sadhus in India will soon be issued official ID cards from an umbrella association of 13 akharas or monastic orders.
Apart from the name and photograph of the sadhu, the credit-card sized plastic card will also carry the name, contact number and address of his respective akhara, the signature of the akahara head or secretary and the duration of the seer’s association with it.
“Sadhus are being brought into disrepute by anti-social elements posing as one,” said Narendra Giri, the newly-elected head of the Akhil Bharatiya Akhara Parishad which is issuing the ID cards.
“These ID cards will help a genuine sadhu establish his identity among the people.”
These cards will be of particular use during events like kumbh melas where people complain of being cheated by fake sadhus.
Each Akhara will also maintain a database of seers belonging to it. Over 6 lakh sanyasis, including the much-revered Naga saints, make up these 13 Akharas. Many of these sadhus are based outside India.
Narendra Giri, who is also the secretary of the Niranjani Akhara, said most Akhara heads had already consented to the move. The association will start readying the ID cards from April 21 after a formal approval at its April 20 meeting in Nasik.
Sadhus will start receiving the ID cards from July 14, beginning of the Nask Kumbh, and the process is expected to be completed before December 25, Narendra Giri said.