All this controversy about me insulting the memory of that girl is just humbug. I, overflowing as I am with the milk of human kindness, would never make such statements. With understanding and kindness, the world can march ahead. If that girl had gone to a temple rather than to a movie, she would be alive today. Those men in the bus would have known she had just been to the abode of god and left her alone. Better still, she could have gone to my ‘satsang’ which would have anointed her with a touch of divinity (my women disciples have told me about this). But she chose to visit a cinema hall...and you know what that’s like.
My advice to everyone is simple. The people of Delhi know they have to say their prayers before entering city buses. Girls ought to know they have to say their prayers before venturing out anywhere—school, college, office, malls, gardens and so on. Who do they expect will protect them from danger? The Delhi police? Don’t make me laugh. Only god can do that job. Of course, in that I stand unique among gods and godmen. Mind you, I don’t have to call myself double names like Asa Asa Ram Bapu like that ‘Sri Sri’ fellow. Some idiots want action against me. For what? I only suggested what that girl should have done in the bus. And who will take action against me? Let the ignorant attend my satsang and look at the VVIP enclosure. It is packed with ministers, leaders from all parties, bureaucrats, judges, Bollywood stars, media stars and so on. How can they punish me when they are all afraid of my powers and queue up to receive my prasad? Did they take any action when skeletons sprouted in my ashram lawns? I tell you, we are the most powerful group in the nation without even constituting a votebank.
Forget god and godmen and come down to earth. Want to know why I am so powerful? I belong to the most powerful category of ‘Rams’ in India. Ayaram, Gayaram, Asaram, get it? We are the ones who twist the country between our little fingers. Add to that I have the second name, ‘Bapu’. I tell you, the young victim of the Delhi bus incident is already blessed, and that’s because I talked about her. There are millions of other such unspoken-of girls in India, but there can be only one Assaram, I mean Asaram Bapu.
The Mumbai-based satirist is the creator of ‘Trishanku’; E-mail your secret diarist: vgangadhar70 AT gmail.com
V. Gangadhar’s Secret Diary of Asaram Bapu (Jan 28) was so hilarious that I yawned my jaw off. He’s not usually this insipid but he seemed to be making a special effort here.
Thank you to all those who have taken the trouble to read the article and share their thoughts. Out of the arguments made here, there are two that perhaps need answering. So here they go.
1. The first part of the article compares outcomes (relative percentages of population of the religions concerned) irrespective of the process that led to those outcomes - whether immigration, relatively faster population growth or conversions. This was for two reasons. One, to put the figure of 2.3 per cent in "numerical perspective", as the article itself explained. The second reason was that outcomes are ultimately what the crux of debate is about. The rest of the article in any case dealt with process - or conversions in this case, from both a contemporary and historical perspective.
2. Some commenters have tried to cast doubts on the reliability of Census 2001. Those who do this should bear in mind that Census 2001 was conducted by a BJP government. Considering the extreme importance that BJP gives to this issue, it would be reasonable to expect that IF it had perceived a problem with the methodology that was distorting the numbers, it would have fixed it. As the article mentioned, BJP or BJP-supported governments have been in power for 10 of the last 40 years, or about a quarter of the time, and the only reasonable conclusion one can arrive at is that any misreporting of numbers, real or perceived, would be marginal and hence, not of importance.
To all other arguments made, my answer is the following: Please read the article again, with particular focus on the quotations of Vivekananda and Monier Williams, and the history of the missionary efforts in Bengal and their outcome.
Few would have the gumption as the Sri.Gangadhar has, to expose the fallacy of Aasaram, disguised in the attire of Sadhus, who are mostly revered in our society for their serene life-style. When the whole of India was boiling with rage over Nirbhayas' murder, none blamed the victim for not meeting the pre-requisites of chanting Saraswathi slogans, that too,with folded hands to her baais which the controversial Sadhu,alone could dare to flaunt. Expectedly, few bought his absurd superstitious defence taking cover under misinterpretation by the media. The simmering heat of protests sprouted against his utterances made him beat a retreat. One wonders , how long Aasaram manuevred to mesmorise his gullible followers with his retrograde religious perception.At long last, the sediment was segregated through the radical sieve. The society conscietous exposure made by Outlook deserves all praise to identify Aasarams who shamelessly blend religiosity with mendacity, bringing disrespect to the genuine ascetics.
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