Of course not only the media is reacting to Asaram’s case of alleged sexual harassment for which he has been arrested and which I was writing about in the past three days. There are reactions from the people around him, too. Sometimes I wonder however if those people who react are still fully in their right minds.
Take famous guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s statement on Twitter for example. He said ‘If you're a public figure & have made a mistake, you must publicly admit it. People have bigger hearts than you think. They'll forgive & forget’. Wait a second, what? Let me make that clear: if you are Asaram and you have sexually harassed a 16-year-old girl whom her parents have entrusted to your care, you just need to get on a stage or in front of a microphone or video camera and say ‘Sorry, my mistake’. The public will forgive and forget. Oh yes, and you won’t be persecuted by law either!
Really, Sri Sri? Are you that far away from reality or do you really think such a crime should be forgiven and forgotten, especially if committed by someone who is standing in the limelight? Is that a new exclusive right for religious and rich celebrity gurus or is it valid also for the regular criminal off the street?
Even better however is the attitude of Asaram’s own son Narayan Sai, who is in the guru business, just like his father. He travelled to Delhi two days ago to speak in front of a crowd of supporters and devotees of his father who are protesting there. He talked about all the good work that his father has done, according to him, saying that he is not ‘as bad as the media presents him’. His idea is ‘When someone has done a hundred good things and then makes some mistakes, his good deeds should be seen, too, not only his fault’!
His son is obviously admitting that his father has done a tiny mistake. Well, yes, he didn’t rape the girl. According to the police report, Asaram did not succeed in having full sex but ‘only’ became completely naked, tried to make the minor girl in front of him naked, touched her inappropriately, fondled her, asked her for oral sex and threatened her with killing her and her family should she tell anybody about their meeting. A small fault, certainly.
Somehow I cannot get myself to agree with Asaram’s son though to say that all the good things he did weigh so much more than this terrible crime! Especially when you think of all the young women and girls who seem to have been systematically chosen by Asaram and his helpers for private meetings with the guru! It is not surprising to hear this kind statement from Narayan Sai, who is not only the accused’s son but of whom we also hear that he likes to announce that he is Krishna and his female disciples his gopis –Krishna’s playmates! How many children and women may have seen the true face of these two men and didn’t dare to speak out, afraid of the threats and ashamed of what they were made to do?
I thank this 16-year-old girl who had the courage to speak up and stand her ground, thus saving the lives of many more minor girls and women!