Dera Sacha Sauda: Wikis

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Dera Sacha Sauda (Punjabi: ਡੇਰਾ ਸੱਚਾ ਸੌਦਾ, Hindi: डेरा सच्चा सौदा) is a non-profit spiritual organization based in Sirsa, Haryana, India. [1]

The Dera Sacha Sauda was set-up by Shah Mastana from Baluchistan in 1948, as a center for spiritual learning, based upon liberal theology that was in disagreement with established orthodox religions and philosophies. Shah Mastana was succeeded by Shah Satnam Singh, who was followed in 1992 by Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh.[1]

The organization does not accept any gifts, alms or donations. The people who come to dera work in the agricultural fields and the income from the produce is utilized for social welfare activities like Bihar flood in 2008 & 2004, Rajasthan drought from 2000 to 2003, Punjab cyclone in 2003, Tribal Welfare 2001 - 2003, Gujrat Earthquake in Jan 2000, Orissa cyclone in Nov. 1999 & many more. Dera chief is also working in the farms & have his food by that earning only. .[2]

Contents

Etymology

The name Sacha Sauda (true business) refers to an incident in the life of Guru Nanak Dev. Some historical sources tell of how, when Guru Nanak Dev was 12 years old, his father gave him twenty rupees (a substantial sum of money in those days) and instructed him to conduct a business operation in order that he make a profit and learn business skills. Guru Nanak used the money to buy food to feed the poor, and explained to his father that in doing so, he had done a "true business". Sacha Sauda is believed to be the place where this took place.[3]

Principles and positions

The official principles of the sect laid down by Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh are secularism, equality, no acceptance of materialistic wealth, and truth and faith over everything else, meditation to road of truth, no politics, strict individual discipline, strict social discipline, hardwork, true faith and meditation to escape from re-births (Moksha).[4][5]

A complete list of the principles of Dera Sacha Sauda can be found on its website.

Activities

According to the Dera Sacha Sauda, the organization's main income is through agriculture. It also runs a 175 bed hospital in Ganganagar, Rajasthan, which is the birth place of Saint Gurmeet Ram Raheem Singh Ji, along with a hostel for girls, a boys' school and a degree college in Haryana. In 2002, an article in Frontline claimed that the organization is also involved in several other entrepreneurial activities including a petrol pump, biscuit factory, ice factory, restaurant and a supermarket.[1]

Dera Sacha Sauda has been twice recognized by Guinness World Records for massive blood donation camps:

  1. A camp conducted by Gurmeet Ram Raheem Singh in Sirsa, Haryana on 7th December 2003, in which 15,432 donors participated in merely 12 hours.
  2. A camp in a Bapu Ji village, Sriganganagar, India on 10th October 2004 in which 17,921 donors participated.[6]

In 2004, the Parampita Shah Satnamji Educational and Welfare Society, which is affiliated with Dera Sacha Sauda, built the Shah Satnamji Cricket Stadium in Sirsa, Haryana. Using a workforce of 10,000, the stadium was said to have been built in 45 days and have a capacity of 30,000.[7] It is spread over 100 acres, which would make the second largest in Asia.[8]

Dera Sacha Sauda also runs a Drug Rehabilitation Centre in Sirsa, where scores of people have been treated.[9] Gurmeet Ram Raheem Singh started a Drug Prevention Campaign against the use of intoxicants and inspires people to give up their drug addiction in every spiritual congregation. People willing to give up their addiction stay in Dera Sacha Sauda for seven days and medical treatment is available for them free of cost. The institution sees chemical dependency (Drug Addiction) as a behavioural disorder and encourages the addicts to bring about a positive change in their personality.[10]

In November 2009, Rahim Singh called on his followers to counter the menace of prostitution, and to help sex-workers escape a "life of perpetual slavery". Over 1200 followers were reported to have responded to the call and offered to marry sex-workers to "help them escape their dreary existence".[11][12]

Criticism and controversies

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Clashes with Sikh community

In May 2007 Dera Sacha Sauda was accused of insulting Sikhism after the organisation's leader, Gurmeet Singh, "appeared in an advert in which Sikhs said he was made to look like the last Sikh Guru Gobind Singh."[13] This controversy developed into a serious law-and-order problem in various parts of Northern India, as riots broke out between Sacha Sauda followers and some Sikh groups. At least one person was killed, and over a hundred injured in the ensuing six days of sectarian violence."[14]

On 20 May 2007, a press release by the organisation mentioned that it regretted the events that had occurred. The sect admitted that the ad did create misunderstandings, but that it was never intended to hurt the sentiments of the Sikh community[15] The organisation again apologised on 27 May 2007 saying, "We are pained by the developments of the last several days. We are sorry for the misunderstanding and would like to apologise to Guru Gobind Singh."[16]. However the Akal Takht rejected the apology, saying it was dissatisfied with the manner in which the Dera head has sent the apology.[17].

On 20 June 2007, additional chief judicial magistrate A.L. Kitchi issued an arrest warrant against Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh in connection with a criminal case registered against him under Section 295-A of the IPC on May 20 in Bathinda.[18].

On 21 June 2008, in Mulund, a suburb of Mumbai, Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh's personal bodyguard opened fire on Sikh protesters outside a shopping mall and killed one local Sikh, Balkar Singh.[19] Recently CBI alleged gurmeet ram rahim singh with charges of rape and murder.

Other controversies

A joint sting operation conducted by Tehelka and IndiaTV team under Operation Jhootha Sauda uncover a cesspool of crime at the Dera Sacha Sauda. Its chief, Baba Gurmeet Singh, is now charged with murder and rape. A video has also been posted on their site. [20]

The organization and its head, Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, are also under investigation for the murder of a journalist, Ram Chandra Chatrapati, and for sexual exploitation of women followers.[1]

Although Dera Sacha Sauda says it discourages donations, Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh's favourite mode of transport is a fleet of Mercedes cars, protected by up to 25 bodyguards.[21] In 2007, he clashed with the Punjab's state government after urging his followers to vote for the Congress party, which forms the opposition in Punjab.[21]

Eighteen sadhvis examined by the CBI after they had left the Dera Sacha Sauda not only deposed against Dera chief Baba Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, but also called him and his followers “very dangerous people”. Two of them also charged the Dera chief with rape. A former driver of the dera chief, Khatta Singh, spilled the beans in all these cases by recording his statement before a magistrate in a court here earlier this year. There were allegations that former dera follower and a close aide of the sect chief, Ranjit Singh, was murdered by dera followers in July 2002 as he had highlighted the wrongdoings inside the dera headquarters, including the sexual exploitation of women followers by top people of the sect. [22]

See also

References

  1. ^ a b c d Rajalakshmi, T.K. (2002-12-21). "Godman under a cloud". Frontline. http://www.hinduonnet.com/fline/fl1926/stories/20030103003404000.htm. Retrieved 2007-05-17.  
  2. ^ "About Sacha Sauda". Sacha Sauda. http://www.sachasauda-truthandmyth.com/knowmore.htm. Retrieved 2007-06-10.  
  3. ^ sikh-history.com
  4. ^ truthandmyth.org
  5. ^ derasachasauda.in
  6. ^ Largest Blood Donation, Guinness World Records. Accessed: May 17, 2007.
  7. ^ "A medal for this stadium". The Hindu. 2004-09-06. http://www.hindu.com/mp/2004/09/06/stories/2004090600550201.htm. Retrieved 2007-05-17.  
  8. ^ "Cricket stadium". The Tribune. 2004-09-07. http://www.tribuneindia.com/2004/20040907/sports.htm. Retrieved 2007-05-17.  
  9. ^ Ahuja, Abhishek. "A Day at Dera Sacha Sauda". http://news.sulekha.com/newsanalysisdisplay.aspx?cid=163063.  
  10. ^ "Principles of Sacha Sauda Followers". http://www.derasachasauda.in/principles.html.  
  11. ^ Sethi, Swati (14 November 2009). "Dera followers offer to wed sex workers". The Times of India. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Dera-followers-offer-to-wed-sex-workers/articleshow/5229062.cms. Retrieved 16 December 2009.  
  12. ^ {{cite news|http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/8416739.stm| title=Indian sect members vow to marry sex workers|accessdate=16 December 2009|publisher=BBC
  13. ^ Raman, Sunil (2007-05-17). "India tensions over Sikh protests". BBC News. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/6667219.stm. Retrieved 2007-05-17.  
  14. ^ "Punjab limping back to normalcy, isolated protests". The Hindu. 2007-05-19. http://www.hindu.com/thehindu/holnus/000200705191801.htm. Retrieved 2007-05-25.  
  15. ^ "Dera Sauda regrets hurting Sikhs". CNN-IBN Live. http://www.ibnlive.com/news/dera-sauda-regrets-hurting-sikhs/40927-3.html. Retrieved 2007-05-20.  
  16. ^ "Dera Sauda again apologize". NDTV. http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/ndtv/story.aspx?id=NEWEN20070013432. Retrieved 2007-05-27.  
  17. ^ "Dera Sauda again apology Rejected By Akal Takth". CNN-IBN. http://www.ibnlive.com/news/dera-apology-akal-takht-unsatisfied/top/41601-3.html?xml. Retrieved 2007-05-29.  
  18. ^ "Arrest warrant against dera chief". Tribune Chandigarh. http://www.tribuneindia.com/2007/20070621/main5.htm. Retrieved 2007-06-21.  
  19. ^ "A Sikh killing in Mulund". ABC Live. http://abclive.in/abclive_national/dera-sacha-sauda-guru-ram-rahim.html. Retrieved 2008-06-21.  
  20. ^ Operation Jhootha Sauda
  21. ^ a b "Cult leader sparks Sikh riots with 'guru' stunt". independent UK. http://news.independent.co.uk/world/asia/article2565124.ece. Retrieved 2007-05-20.  
  22. ^ CBI charges Dera Sacha Sauda chief with murder, rape

External links

Organization's website:


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