From tailor to controversial ‘godwoman’: 10 things to know about Radhe Maa
A Delhi cop was taken off duty after a photograph of self-styled god woman Radhe Maa seated in his office chair started doing the rounds on Thursday.
The photograph, taken on September 28, shows SHO Sanjay Sharma standing next to the controversial ‘god-woman’ with folded hands and a red ‘chunri’ (stole) hanging around his neck while in uniform.
Radhe Maa, whose real name is Sukhvinder Kaur, has been accused of hurting religious sentiments, threatening, obscenity and other offences.
Here are 10 things to know about the controversial ‘godwoman’:
1) Radhe Maa was born in Dorangala village of Gurdaspur district in Punjab. She dropped out of school after Class 4 and married Mohan Singh at the age of 17. She had two sons when her husband went abroad for work. It is said that one of her sons is planning his acting debut.
2) Her beginnings are said to be humble. She used to work as a seamstress in Punjab.
3) She was 23 when she became a disciple of Mahant Ram Deen Das of 1008 Paramhans Bagh Dera Mukerian, in Hoshiarpur district. Das gave her the title of Radhe Maa, meaning ‘Mother Radha’.
4) Kaur likes the colour red; she almost always wears red clothes and carries a mini trishul (trident).
5) Her followers believe she is an avatar of Goddess Durga, and filmmaker Subhash Ghai and Bhojpuri actor Ravi Kishan are among her supporters. According to her official website, ‘Chhoti Maa’ and ‘Talli Baba’ are her closest followers. Talli Baba arranges her calendar.
6) Radhe Maa is based in the Borivali suburb of Mumbai. She lives at the residence of a Mumbai businessman Sanjeev Gupta. The house is called Radhe Maa Bhavan by her devotees and Gupta is a managing trustee of Shri Radhe Guru Maa Charitable Trust.
7) Radhe Maa ran into trouble when Gupta’s daughter-in-law Nikki accused Kaur of inciting her in-laws to demand more dowry, and of forcing her to work at the ashram where she was physically assaulted. On August 6, 2015, the Mumbai Police declared her an absconder in this alleged case of dowry harassment and issued a lookout notice against her.
8) In 2015, Union minister of state for social justice and empowerment Vijay Sampla defended Radhe Maa against allegations and said she is not controversial at all. “Yes, I respect Radhe Maa and her style of preaching. Is it a sin? She is not controversial at all and all stories about her have been cooked by the media.”
9) Two years back, a TV actress Dolly Bindra had also filed a criminal case against Radhe Maa for sexual exploitation. Bindra, who is known for her participation in reality show Big Boss, filed a complaint with the police alleging that Radhe Maa and her supporters sexually assaulted her.
10) Her official website www.radhemaa.com was hacked in August 2015 and pictures of her clad in a red miniskirt and boots were posted online.
The hacker, who called himself Santya Haxor, posted several pictures of Radhe Maa. Besides the ones depicting her in miniskirt, there were photos that purportedly showed her embracing two men.
(A version of this article was first published in September 2017)