Merely a few days before Haryana went to polls, the Dera Sacha Sauda publicly announced support for the BJP. What was the reason for this?
The political affairs wing of Dera devotees and representatives of all the followers of the Dera Sacha Sauda had several rounds of consultations. A consensus evolved that those who undertake good, socially productive deeds and those who stand by the Dera’s humanitarian programmes will be supported. This was a unanimous decision, and it swept that party to a win.
It was also probably the first time that you and your family voted.
The children insisted that they wanted to vote. So, on the spur of the moment, we all went to vote.
You claim that the Dera is apolitical and yet most politicians in the region come to you for blessings.
All political parties come to me, be it the Congress, BJP, BSP etc. Many politicians come to seek my blessings, but believe me, all of them get the same blessings. There is nothing like a ‘special blessing’ for a politician. I only tell them to ban alcohol, eradicate drug menace and live among the people of their constituencies. If they want my support, they should first give me an affidavit they will ensure all such things. Many politicians give me promises, but chicken out from giving affidavits.
Recently there was a controversy over a Dera branch in Kerala.
It was wrong to say we had purchased land in Kerala. There were some talks but we never bought any land. We go to various places to deliver lectures and religious discourses… people approach me. When we went to Kerala, it was shocking to see people queuing up outside liquor vends. Nobody fights with anybody for his turn there, because they know that even the last man will surely get alcohol.
What is the film in which you are starring about?
It is sugar-coated quinine. Youngsters cannot be given bitter medicine, thus we have sugarcoated the social message with entertainment. I have myself performed all the stunts in the movie. The aim was to show that if at this age, I can remain fit enough to perform such stunts, why cannot our youngsters? I do not consume alcohol and I am a complete vegetarian. Youngsters should also do the same… There is a sequence in which girls receive training in martial arts. This will deliver a strong message to all those with daughters to ensure they get martial arts training.
You claim you do not force anybody to convert from his/her religion. Yet all Dera followers suffix Insaan to their name and wear a locket with your picture in it.
We do not force anybody to change his/her religion. In fact, all religions, castes, communities are treated on a par at the Dera. That is the significance of the locket and word Insaan. We teach them that we all are human beings and nobody is above anybody. We all are equal and should treat each other with respect and equality and love. The locket bearing numeral 1 depicts this feeling, that we all are one and united. Our god is one.
You have run into controversy before because of the way you dress. How do you choose what you wear?
Dresses are not intentional; these just happen. In fact, I am my own dress designer as well. People from different religions and faiths come to me and bring their religious attires requesting me to wear them. I honour them by wearing them.
You have also drawn charges of rape, murder, among other things.
It pinches. But we look at it differently. If five crore people quit alcohol because of the Dera’s practices, the liquor cartel is definitely not going to feel nice… Such unscrupulous people did not even spare Lord Ram in the past. Who am I?