Lessons We Should Learn From the Dera Phenomenon

By Prabhakar Kulkarni

One, All are susceptible to religious faith or spiritual attraction. While the affluent are susceptible to faith and religion mostly for their other inadequacies than wealth, the poor and the deprived class is more so because of their long standing grievances and suffering.

The moment they find any godfather hearing their plight and ensuring their uplift and development they are more lenient and subservient to the extent that they are ready to sacrifice anything and at any moment for the godfather who has mesmerized them.The psychology behind the violent reaction by Dera followers is the same as is evident in other sectarian godfathers who are quite active in other areas and fields in our vast country.

Two , No political party fails to exploit mass following of sectarian chiefs or god-men. Their followers being organized class of men and women they are assured voters and that is the reason why political nexus is established with them either by the Congress, the BJP or any other political party habitually engaged in strategic political game.But the lessons to be learned from the Dera phenomenon should be stressed for careful implementation.

Three, Sectarian matters are not open but kept with secrecy tag. Despite political clout no party should be so committed as to allow the sectarian godfathers to behave in manner of  monarchs challenging all norms and legal regulations which are applicable to common men and women.The sectarian monarchs’ lifestyle, their fund creating methods and strategies besides the organizational structure they have created should be open to public and should not be allowed to be a secret.

Four, Due to their proximity with politico-bureaucratic circles, no corrective action is taken. Their lands, posh bungalows , Ashrams and the way they have flouted routine regulations should be also be ascertained and for corrective action,statuary fine should be summarily recovered. Those who have not yet paid the fine already imposed and will not pay now to be imposed should be prosecuted without any leniency despite their political nexus or governmental patronage

Five, They have their own rules and regulations. Their in-house rules and regulations imposed in name of spiritual service practice should be periodically scrutinized by social and media organizations, besides intelligence agencies. As they form collective organizational structure they cannot demand the immunity under ‘right to privacy’ All the current assets of all godfathers and sectarian monarchs in various parts of the country should be urgently investigated .

Six  No government can or should avoid responsibility to check irregularities. This is the responsibility of the ruling government in states and the Union level. If the sects are provided government land and other facilities besides funds by state or Union government, they should be brought under the Right to Information Act and according to provision of section  4 1 (a) and (b) of the Act they should be asked to provide ‘suo moto’ information about their activities, their office bearers, their financial details, their income tax returns etc without any further delay The detailed statement of their borrowing from banks, financial institutions, trusts and other sources should be brought in public domain. Their dues to financial institutes as also government and semi-government bodies and local municipal councils and corporations should be summarily recovered after disclosure for public information.

Seven, Need to scan their dictates and compulsions. The spiritual rules or religious dictates should be taken out from their followers if they are not  disclosing on their own and they should be viewed from point of view of transgressing personal right to privacy and disturbing family life of men and women.

Eight Need to verify the propriety or disturbing quality of the dictates.The dictates should be tested from expert psychologists so that if found objectionable,  such objectionable rules should be scrapped for ever. They should not be given any immunity on pretext of religious sanctity or spiritual supremacy. These and more such preventive measures need to be taken so that the sectarian monarchs should not rule people who are sovereign in democracy and people’s sovereignty should not and cannot be overruled by any sectarian godfather who receives benefits of political nexus or blind faith of their mesmerized followers.

About the Author: Writer is  a senior journalist and columnist in Maharashtra 

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