Of fandom and the ever-malleable truth

It would appear that Ramalinga Raju,the disgraced Satyam chairman enjoys,in addition to his many other accomplishments,a big cult....

Written by Gayatri Verma | New Delhi | Published: January 10, 2009 3:05 am

It would appear that Ramalinga Raju,the disgraced Satyam chairman enjoys,in addition to his many other accomplishments,a big cult. Or enjoyed. And they adore and worship him unconditionally and unquestioningly. Or they did before January 7.

Once,www.ramalingaraju.com was the mouthpiece through which they launched a defence of their embattled hero. The website spawned a delightful mélange of sycophancy,blind idol worship,unwavering faith,regionalism and a downright bizarre litany of defences and justifications. Sample this: “As one can not suspect a mother’s commitment to her children,none can suspect Raju’s commitment towards Satyam”. “Ramalinga Raju garu,we respect you and we need you. You took Andhra Pradesh global,you provided jobs for many,you helped the needy with 108. We all stand by you.” “Mr Raju…is such a gentleman and pious person that he must be protected by all.” “You sacrificed your personal life for almost two decades and made wealth for this Nation. You will never fail.”

Why and how Raju’s piousness or gentlemanly demeanour determines the Indian Penal Code’s ability to punish him for committing a crime he has confessed to remains a tad unclear. The fact that large amounts of this wealth created “for the nation” was actually a figment of Satyam’s (which for those still not in on the joke means “truth”) vivid imagination is also not worthy of consideration.

For a website that was desperate to be seen as legitimate — “This is an absolute absolute personal initiation taken by a very ordinary person due to the suppressed sadness & anger caused in the last 10 days” — the fact that not a single even vaguely uncomplimentary thing was to be seen amidst hundreds of posts on the message boards and the absence of date and time on which the messages were posted certainly smelt as fishy as the Maytas deal.

Before it tragically found itself shot in the foot,it went on to argue that all this “unnecessary overreaction from every quarter” would derail 21 years of progress and momentum all for a decision that was after all aborted. And any way it was only “a business decision and not every decision is right today”. How true.

The website’s disappearance suggests that the fan’s devotion to Raju was unconditional,unless of course appeared on the scene a written confession of guilt from the ‘godfather’ himself. Just Don Michael Corleone too discovered,dying alone and abandoned,that adoration and devotion and the people who offer it could be fickle when they found themselves duped and teetering on the edge of unemployment.

For a while,rejection by Raju’s fans of all proof to the contrary; unwavering faith in his innate goodness/godliness; and the belief that corporate fraud is an infinitely forgivable offence when the man in question is a supposed paragon of virtue,rescuer of the underprivileged and builder of empires,were most worrying. Now the magnanimous embrace of an inconvenient truth by Raju fundamentalists really should at the very least restore our faith in the infinite wisdom and rationale of cults.

For all the latest News Archive News, download Indian Express App

    Live Cricket Scores & Results