In recent years, the digital landscape has become a powerful platform for communication and influence, allowing individuals to reach a global audience with ease.
One such individual who has embraced this era of connectivity is Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, a self-styled godman and convicted murderer-rapist. Despite serving a 20-year prison term for heinous crimes, his regular paroles granted by the BJP government in Haryana have enabled him to reinvent himself as an online guru.
The Digital Guru
Ram Rahim’s foray into the digital world is marked by online sessions conducted via Zoom, YouTube, and Facebook. His virtual presence has garnered a substantial following, with over 1.25 million subscribers on his YouTube channel, ‘Saint MSG.’ Through these platforms, he disseminates sermons, teachings, and even urges devotees to refrain from visiting him in person, promoting exclusive digital darshans.
Dubious Advice to Pregnant Women
During a Zoom session with a select group of devotees, Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh provided advice to pregnant women. He suggested that a mother’s actions during pregnancy have a direct impact on the child, using the Mahabharata’s Abhimanyu as an illustrative example.
The nature of this advice, given by an individual with a criminal conviction, raises ethical concerns regarding the potential influence and impact on expectant mothers.
Gone are the days of opulent displays of wealth and flamboyant attire; Ram Rahim now presents a controlled and ascetic image. His routine includes a disciplined lifestyle with a minimal diet, physical activities like jogging and gardening, and a focus on self-sufficiency.
This transformation starkly contrasts with his earlier extravagant lifestyle, symbolized by luxury villas and replicas of iconic structures found in his Sirsa ashram.
Online Gurukul and Evolution
Ram Rahim’s adaptation to the digital age is evident in the creation of the ‘Online Gurukul.’ Utilizing short video clips, he addresses contemporary issues, offering ‘how-tos’ on happiness, wellness, and mindfulness. Unlike traditional godmen, Ram Rahim understands the preferences of the younger generation and tailors his content accordingly, making use of social media and short, impactful videos.
Despite his criminal convictions, Ram Rahim’s devotees remain unwavering in their support. Devotees’ testimonials reveal a sense of loyalty and obedience, with his orders being considered final.
Victims in Fear
In the midst of the celebrations among followers, the blog sheds light on the other side of the story – the victims. Those who spoke out against Ram Rahim continue to live in fear, facing potential retribution. Witnesses in cases involving allegations of castrating 400 men live under constant threat, emphasizing the enduring power and influence of the self-styled godman.
The case of Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh presents a complex narrative of a convicted criminal leveraging the digital realm to maintain influence and control. As he continues to conduct virtual sessions, his devotees remain steadfast, oblivious or indifferent to the crimes for which he has been convicted.
The blog raises questions about the responsibility of digital platforms in allowing individuals with a criminal past to perpetuate their influence and explores the dichotomy between virtual worship and real-world crimes.
Image Credits: Google Images
Feature image designed by Saudamini Seth
Sources: The Print
Find the blogger: Pragya Damani
This post is tagged under: Digital Guru, Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, Online Influence, Convicted Godman, Zoom Session, Spiritual Guidance, Criminal Conviction, Ethical Concerns, Influencer Manipulation, Mahabharata Reference, Pregnancy Advice, Devotee Mindset, Virtual Worship, Crime And Influence, Social Media Impact
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