Thursday, July 24, 2008

Ashwinee Bhatt on Asaram episode : "let us have tea together before I am sent to hospital or the morgue"

My Dear Urvish.
I have yet to learn to type in Gujarati hence this in english.
Read your blog on Asaram.
I am not surprised. You may recall an incident at 65 (my residence). Several years before asaram zealots had illegally grabbed some land in Surat and beaten the rightful possessors. A reporter from Abhiyan had covered the event.
As there was some on going feud about the land at Hansol between Asaram and another trust founded by Late Mr. Prabodh Raval (which is yet not resolved inspite of several violent incidents including use of guns).
The asaram crowd felt that the report about the violent incident at Surat was written at the instance of (late) Mr. Prabodh Raval to smear Asaram. As I was connected with Abhiyan and the gujarat bureau was being operated from 65. The Asaram goons decided that the article not only originated from 65 and that I was responsible for it.
A group of about twenty people broke into to my house and ransacked the house and manhandled me. There was no question of resisting the goons. It was sheer luck that I was saved by my stance and some bluff about Asaram being my ardent fan and friend. I insisted to allow me to put a telephone call to him before they started beating me up at the same time I ordered tea and snacks for the crowd and though I was scared to death I just said "let us have tea together before I am sent to hospital or the morgue. Some how the bluff paid and one of the goons was ready to listen to my side of the story about the Surat coverage and that I had nothing to do with the rented Abhiyan bureau being operated from 65. It was a close save.
Any way this is their Modus operandi.
The political parties are well aware of such practices of the Gurus and their chelas who can be brainwashed into carrying out an agenda well suited for power mongering and winning elections.The outcome is a solid nexus between religious cults and political leaders and that makes the so called Gurus imune from any legal consequences or criminal prosecusion. And to try a crowd for a criminal assault is difficult when the crowd is supported by the State or a political party. I can site a number of such events that happened at 65 for voicing an opinion that was against some state policies.
So when the State or the political buccaneers join hands with the so called Gurus God himself would find it hard to save the society. The media too is always interested in baking its pie. For the newspapers truth is where the money. You can write volumes about that.
However in short The responsibilities lie with us to raise our voices. Let us begin with collecting facts.
Let us find out how many acres of land has been gifted or sold at negligible price for Ashrams and temples by the state ( especially in Gandhinagar) and what has been given to the original land holders. Let us find out the annual income of various kinds of religious institutions. This can be the first step towards creating remedies.
I think you blog can be instrumental in preparing a people's white paper on religious institutions

ashwinee bhatt

(Ashwinee Bhatt is one of the most popular Gujarati Novelist, was actively associated with Narmda Bachao Andolan and had first hand experience of Government-supported Goondagiri during Chimanbhai Patel era. We, the ex-Abhiyaan people call him 'Guru' affectionately. He stays at US since few years. )


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Urvish, it's always interesting to read what you have to say and I'm often influenced by what you write and say.
    Ashwineebhai, what a nice story and how clever of you to have done what you did to save yourself.
    I miss you.

  3. અશ્વિનિ ભટ્ટ ના પુસ્તક હું આંખ મીંચીને પણ ખરીદી શ

    કુ છું. મારા સૌથી પ્રિય લેખક ને અહીં સલામ

    nilam doshi