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The visionary

Kalraj Mishra is prone to hallucinations. It is either Lord Shiva who comes calling at midnight or ?sakshaat Devi? ? none other than the Goddess herself ? who appears from nowhere each time Mishra?s soul is troubled, writes Kumkum Chadha.

india Updated: Dec 22, 2006 00:25 IST

Kalraj Mishra is prone to hallucinations. It is either Lord Shiva who comes calling at midnight or ‘sakshaat Devi’ — none other than the Goddess herself — who appears from nowhere each time Mishra’s soul is troubled. Imagining that he is among the few to be “so blessed”, the BJP leader can reel off his endless encounters with divinities.

Very often Mishra sees a halo. At other times ‘Ma Durga’ comes riding on a tiger right into his bedroom. What is, however, vivid in Mishra’s memory is the night of horror when his uncle kept pulling his hair and slapping him. “I kept screaming for help but no one rescued me. Suddenly, I had a vision and I started reciting the Gayatri mantra. The demons disappeared and there was peace. When I opened my eyes, my mother was at my bedside unable to figure out the marks on my face. I tried to tell her it was my uncle. She didn’t quite believe me.”

This notwithstanding, Mishra’s talisman is the Gayatri mantra. Gone are the days when, unwell, he brought the house down and doctors could do very little to control this hysterical young man. Now, the mantra does what no doctor or medicine could. Mishra recites it several times over and — hey presto! — a fever is gone.

Back in the material world, Devraha Baba of Devaria in Uttar Pradesh called Mishra “Bhakt Kalraj”. Apart from sending dry fruits to Atal Bihari Vajpayee through Mishra, the Baba delivered many sermons to a mesmerised Mishra. But what he can never forget is the “electrifying effect” of Baba’s touch. “He was perched on a tree and devotees could only get a glimpse of him. One day he called me and touched my head with his foot. I couldn’t believe this was happening to me. The touch was magnetic. I was blessed. Even now when I think of that moment, I get goose-pimples,” Mishra says.

For someone so obsessed with the supernatural, worldly relationships are meaningless. So it isn’t surprising that on two occasions, Mishra disappeared a few hours before his wedding ceremony. And the third time when he actually did take his marriage vows, he spent his wedding night at an RSS camp. He was hardly ever at home the five years that followed. Despite RSS chief Nanaji Deshmukh allowing Mishra to ‘keep’ his wife, Satyawati, with him, he left her under her brother’s care. “I had no money. My in-laws took care of my expenses”. Years later when she actually came to live with her husband, people mistakenly thought that theirs was a ‘live-in’ relationship. It was an uphill task explaining that the ‘woman’ was his legally wedded wife and a mother to his three children.

A ‘permanent outsider’ in his own home, Mishra is off the mark when it comes to his children’s ages. But ask him his own and he is up-front about it: “My certificate age is 65 and my birth age is 68,” he says with Satyawati by his side. 

Email Kumkum Chadha: kumkum@hindustantimes.com