Followers in villages near Dera Sacha Sauda headquarters come to terms with new reality
“Baba (Gurmeet Ram Rahim) is right. He is not at fault, but his films and all the ‘chakachaundh’ (glamour) brought him the trouble,” she clarified.india Updated: Sep 09, 2017 12:18 IST
It took 20 km of riding pillion on a motorcycle, criss-crossing the fields through the interior kutcha routes to reach the Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh’s makeshift landscapes meant for shooting of his films.
On the way, a pained woman follower cursed the films: “Babe nu filma lai dubbian (the film business led to the dera chief’s downfall).”
The middle-aged woman, Santosh, her husband and their camel were resting at their cotton field adjoining the dera headquarters. “Baba is right. He is not at fault, but his films and all the ‘chakachaundh’ (glamour) brought him the trouble,” she clarified.
Her husband Ram Singh, a resident of Nejia village, agreed with his wife. “Ye sahi keh rahi hai (she is right),” he said in a loud voice and agitated tone, while puffing ‘hukka’. Across their field was another devotee couple, sitting along with their young daughter studying in Class 12. They finished the day’s task of plucking the cotton buds, and packed off for a 5-km trek back to Nejia amid curfew in force on the main and link roads.
Nejia, Bajekan, Ali Mohammad, Begu and Arniawala were the five villages adjoining the dera headquarters. The dera had either taken over as donations or bought over vast pieces of agricutural lands of these villages during the past 20 years.
The aloe vera plantation adjoining the now deserted battery manufacturing factory run by the dera trust is sprawled over several acres with nobody to take care of the medicinal plantation for over 10 days now.
FILM SHOOT RANGE
A manmade dune that was once an epicentre of the dera chief’s many film scenes stood in isolation. Behind the dune, a sewadar, Puran Chand, sounded defensive.
“There were many sewadars inside the dera who harmed the satguru’, stabbing him in on his back. Also, the judiciary is bought over in our country. Puran Chand takes care of these landscapes sprawled over some 40 acres meant for the outdoor shooting of the dera chief’s films.
A salesman at Bajekan village on the contrary shared his own story of how he and his wife gradually parted ways with the dera within a year, “doubting its credentials”.
NO MORE LOCKETS OF FAITH
Meanwhile, male devotees of the dera walking to their respective workplaces on Friday morning did not wear the lockets with the dera chief’s picture around their necks. “Now why are you questioning us? Don’t you know the prevailing atmosphere?” replied an irritated young disciple of the dera at Ali Mohammad village, which was also cordoned off. Though a few women were spotted wearing the locket of faith, not a single man wearing it was seen in these villages.
First Published: Sep 09, 2017 12:18 IST