What’s Next After Parole for Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh? Bigg Boss or Politics?

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What’s Next After Parole for Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh? Bigg Boss or Politics?

Illustration: Shruti Yatam

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wo years ago, Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, he of the cringey B-movies and gaudily embellished vehicles fame, got slapped with a jail sentence of 20 years, not for his crimes against good taste, but for rape. But just like he plays the role of director, writer, producer, actor, set designer, and everything else in the credits of each of his films, he is equally multifarious when it comes to committing crimes. After being sent to jail, it came out that not only was Singh raping his female devotees, he was also responsible for the castration of many male followers, and was even found guilty of murdering a journalist earlier this year. That last bit was enough to prompt a CBI court judge to sentence him to life imprisonment, in addition to his ongoing 20-year-long sentence.

Ram Rahim Singh is a godman. He is also a convicted murderer. Ram Rahim Singh is a social worker, and at the same time he is a proven rapist. To his followers, he is a living saint, but in the eyes of the law, he is a criminal. I wonder which view is held by the superintendent of Sunaria jail in Haryana, who has forwarded a letter to the Rohtak district magistrate recommending the release of Ram Rahim Singh for a 42 day parole, citing his “good behaviour” as grounds for approving his release.

A parole release means that Singh will have to be retaken into custody once the 42 days are up, and given the riots and anarchy that surrounded his first trip to prison in 2017, releasing him would be as good for law and order in Haryana as dropping Virat Kohli would be for the Indian cricket team. Singh has claimed he is seeking his release so that he can carry out agricultural work on the lands owned by his sect, the Dera Sacha Sauda. I almost want to believe that’s true, if only so that I can enjoy the mental image of Singh blinding every other worker in the field when the sun reflects off his bling.

But let’s be serious for a second. The publicity-hungry, camera-friendly baba is hardly likely to leave jail and fade away into the farmland. Should his parole be approved, and become more permanent than planned, where are we going to see Ram Rahim Singh next?

To his followers, he is a living saint, but in the eyes of the law, he is a criminal.

The safe money is on him returning to his position at the head of the Dera Sacha Sauda, using his large number of followers and the sect’s considerable material assets to insulate himself against any consequences. Of course, the conviction against his name might cause a few problems with picking up where he left off, but he will hardly be the first sex offender who has managed to weather the accusations (and in his case, convictions) and come through smiling. If he resumes business as usual, he will soon be back to his full strength. 

Still, simply running the day-t0-day affairs of his sect might be a little too mundane for the self-proclaimed Messenger of God – a title he abbreviates as MSG instead of MoG for some unfathomable reason. Ram Rahim Singh was never your average, everyday baba. His experiments with cinema have showed us how he is India’s answer to Tommy Wiseau when it comes to vanity projects. So perhaps it’s a safe bet to assume that he will resurface providing some form of “entertainment” once again.

Is there any show on Indian television that can contain Ram Rahim Singh? Such a show would have to accept criminals and megalomaniacs as welcomed guests. Of course, that brings us to Bigg Boss, the place where minor celebrities go when therapy is not an option. Singh would fit right in on Bigg Boss, and the show does have a particular fetish of including outlandish godmen in its cast whenever possible – Swami Om we’re looking at you.

Now, if Singh was serious about this so-called “good behaviour”, he could try to right his wrongs by working with law enforcement. If he has truly gone from rapist baba to reformed baba, he can become an expert consultant for teams investigating others like him, because sadly enough, the country might be running out of water, but there is no shortage of abusive holy men. 

His experiments with cinema have showed us how he is India’s answer to Tommy Wiseau when it comes to vanity projects.

There is one other way that Singh can clear his name, one which involves considerably less effort on his part. It’s a simple route that has already been taken multiple times already this year alone: Politics. Joining a political party is a sure-shot method of having all your past crimes and convictions overlooked, blocked from view by hoardings featuring your face next to the party symbol. Again, like Bigg Boss, Indian elections have been kind to babas and sadhvis in the recent past. And I don’t want to make any assumptions, but Singh did endorse Modi for PM in 2014, before his fall from grace. Obviously, it’s a coincidence that Singh’s parole request is coming when Haryana’s state elections are just around the corner, and that cabinet ministers of the state’s BJP government have approved of his request.

Of course, we cannot rule out that Singh really has some pressing farm work, and that his fields need his green thumb to make it to harvest season. Let’s try not to judge. The future holds limitless possibilities for everyone, whether you’re an ordinary citizen or a convicted murderer sitting in jail.

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