Jaspal Singh Sidhu looks at the genesis of Sant Rampal and ‘Satlok Ashram’ the religious centre he established.
The arrest of former public servant -turned-godman 63-year-old Rampal from his Barwala (Hissar) ashram seems to have ended the two-week long much publicized drama enacted by the Haryana police, but it has, rather, widened social and religious gulf among the people of the area . The police operation took life of five women and a child, injuring of many others including two dozen media persons covering the event. Technically, Rampal’s arrest was sought by the Punjab and Haryana high court in a case of ‘criminal contempt of court’ following his persistent in refusal to appear before the court.
The Barwala event signals much more than what one gathers from the media. Rampal’s abortive defiance appears to be (consciously or unconsciously) challenging the hegemony of the Sangh Privar ideology based on Aryans and non- Aryans divide which uses the Vedic literature as manifestation of the Aryan race. The media story, invariably, only covers the present happenings. And, it is meant for the consumption of general public only interested in the day-to-day developments. For obvious reasons, such reporting suits both the government of the day and the media outlets. By and large, the media (newspapers and TV channels) reels out largely that information (official version) which police and official machinery serves them with punctuation of a little-bit material on the root cause of the controversy which has climaxed to the dramatic custody of Rampal by the police.