The head of the religious cult Dera Sacha Sauda, Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, who claims to be a spiritual leader, preacher and social reformer, has another, very different side. The controversial dera chief is a rock musician who has just completed a century of rock shows and, on the occasion, released his latest album, Highway Love Charger.
The dera claims that the album sold a record three million-plus copies in just three days last month. According to the dera chief, his music is “religious”, with “gospel” styles. Followers of Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh say he has brought about a paradigm shift in music across several genres, and uses it to send a positive message to youth to keep away from evils including alcoholism, drugs and immorality.
The dera’s spokesperson said Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh writes the lyrics of his songs, composes the music, sings, and also performs on stage. He recently held two back-to-back shows at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium and Ramlila Maidan in Delhi. Both the shows were said to have been packed solid with devotees, and videos of the event show dera followers dancing to a foot-tapping beat.
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Over the last two years, the dera chief has released at least six music albums. They had catchy titles: Thank U for That, Network Tere Love Ka, Chashma Yaar Ka, Insan, Lov Rabb Se and, recently, Highway Love Charger. All the albums were released by Universal Music.
His numbers are titled Lov, System, Kathputli, Drug-nasha, Atom bomb, Kya khoob, Charge me, Bhrashtachar, Dhol mahiya etc. Highway Love Charger has tracks such as Seene se laga ke, Dil, Tu saans, Love charger, Cham cham, Kille de jor te, Tu chahiye, and Matthiyaan gulgule.
Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh’s rockstar avatar has triggered mixed reactions online. His music videos have left many stunned, and a lot of people have criticised him as well.
The dera’s spokesperson, Pawan Insan, said, “Baba ji’s music albums are a rage among the youth. Through his music videos and rock shows he convinces youth not to take drugs and stay away from social evils. He is doing a great service to society. Recently, he held his 101st and 102nd rock shows in Delhi. The jam-packed stadiums were proof of his huge following.”
Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh has been head of Dera Sacha Sauda since September 23, 1990. His followers revere him as Saint Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh Ji Insan. Under his leadership, the dera has registered records including the largest volume of blood donated in a single day, and carried out tree plantation drives, provided disaster relief, supported orphans and transgenders, and helped in their rehabilitation.