Finally, after a two-week standoff, the self-proclaimed 63-year-old religious guru Rampal from the state of Haryana in India, who had been evading the law on charges of murder and exhorting his followers to turn into commandos, has been arrested by the state police. This ought to bring another round of cheer for all sensible Indians anywhere on this planet as they witness yet another charlatan bite the dust. India’s history is packed with such fake do-gooders who feed off the fears of the gullible and amass fortunes in the name of a rare prescience that is nothing but a wicked understanding of human frailty.
These are the toxic elements who must be rooted out from the country’s socio-cultural soil if India is to fully enter the age of reason even as it nurtures its invaluable spiritual heritage. Men like Rampal, and his peers like Asaram Bapu and his son Narayan Sai, gurus who met the fate of Rampal after similarly drawn-out high dramas last year, give India’s heritage a bad name. But as important as these arrests are, what’s critical is to awaken India’s masses and immunise them mentally against the contagion of such fake gurus.