Inside Gurmeet Ram Rahim’s Roobaroo Nights


Inside Gurmeet Ram Rahim’s Roobaroo Nights

Illustration: Sushant Ahire


ere’s what we know by now about self-styled God-man Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh and the cult-like following of Dera Sacha Sauda. We know he has just been sentenced to 20 years in prison for raping two of his female followers. We also know that the followers, who call themselves “premis” or “Insaan”, wreaked havoc in Panchkula when their “papaji” was convicted. We also know that the Dera’s followers – several of them lower-caste and -class men and women in semi-urban Punjab and Haryana – consolidated under his leadership with the prospect of leading their lives with dignity.

What we don’t know, and what we’re coming to slowly learn, is what life inside the Dera looks like. Dera Sacha Sauda is centred in two ashrams in Sirsa; one is closer to the city of Sirsa, while the other is an 800-acre modern township, some distance away. This is the one that’s stoking media interest thanks to the two-storey glass building equipped with state-of-the-art gadgetry known as Babaji Ki Gufa, outside which a queue of supercars and bikes “designed” by the beloved Pitaji rest. Babaji Ki Gufa is where the rapes are supposed to have taken place.