Not everyone slept with the Great Soul with their express consent. The wife of his nephew was told to go near him and help out with his experiments. She was sixteen, recently married and disinclined to take off her clothes in the company of the revered septuagenarian. She was nudged to oblige on the pretext that his cold body required physical warmth in the winters. Pretty soon she realized that it was just a ruse to get her to submit. If this reads like cheap thrills, it was because they were cheap thrills. That the man who went around the country selling himself as a ‘Great Soul’ and a ‘Moral Force’, exploited women in such a disgusting manner, is quite heart-breaking.
If this woman, A, had ever filed a complaint against the Saint, there is no way he would have escaped rape charges. He was guilty of abusing his moral authority and the position of the patriarch into forcing a helpless, dependent woman into an undesirable position, which left her scarred for life. After a point in time, she just excused herself. Unfortunately she did not speak out. Another of her relatives was asked to sacrifice her innocence to satiate the ‘great soul’.
The Saint liked to bathe with his doctor, S. In his own words, he allowed her to enter the bathroom at the same time when he was making ablutions. She used to bathe herself on the other side of the bathroom, while the great man kept his eyes firmly shut. He was not aware if she took off all her clothes, or kept her undergarments on. All he could recall later of various such sessions was the sound of soap being rubbed on her nude skin. He confessed as much in his letters of explanation to the ashram inmates. This lady doctor was the younger sister of his long-time secretary, and later became a minister in the Government of India. She was quite taken in by the charisma of the Saint, and became resentful later, to the extent of leaking the truth to the press, when he transferred his attentions to younger women.
A newly married woman, P, the wife of a promising Congress leader, came under the spell of the Great Soul. Under his influence, she adopted life-long brahmacharya as her creed, denying her husband the marital bliss. The man in question loved kids but could not become a father without having intercourse with his wife, who had drawn the shutters without even taking the husband into confidence. Divorce was not considered a viable option in those times. To make matters worse, the wife chose to explore the strength of her resolve with the Great Soul by sleeping with him. While the husband steeled himself, his wife and the Saint spent their nights together for the sake of their own spiritual growths. The couple used to have a lot of arguments, but the trap of words laid by the Saint allowed for no escape. The long suffering husband later caused much upheaval in the Seventies by unleashing his wrath upon his political opponents. The Saint’s advice to every newly married couple who used to visit him for blessings was to practice Brahmacharya. And how was that to be put into practice? Perhaps by him getting to test or taste the resolve of the wife!
The Great Soul reached Calcutta a week before the Independence. He had the Butcher of Calcutta to provide him company during day, while his nineteen year old niece, M, aided him in carrying out his nightly experiments. They slept next to each other without their clothes on, and he made her perform these night duties by calling them as key to her fulfilled future life. The niece worshipped the Great Soul, and was uninitiated into the ways of the world. That the Saint chose to stay with the Butcher says a lot about his lack of empathy with the riot victims. The locals pelted stones, showed him black flags and asked him to go back. Abiding perversion had eaten away the Saint’s judgement, and rotted his moral core. He advised the riot victims to forgive their tormentors, shun violence, hand over arms, break the vicious circle by making unilateral concessions and if need be, even convert to the faith of their enemies, if it guaranteed peace. In his frenzied foolishness, the Great Soul also unfurled the enemy flag, and victim-shamed the people of his own faith. He resorted to shameless blackmails, and dubbed them fasts. He stood in the way of effective population transfer from the East. From Calcutta, he went to Noakhali, and carried on with his ravings and rantings. One can conclude that his burdensome conduct was the result of the mental and physical strain placed upon him as a result of his unusually exploitative sexual experiments with his nineteen years old daughter-like niece.
S,P and the husband of A, later did not like the fact that the Saint became obsessed with M and did not have much time or energy left for the other women. They leaked the news of his shenanigans, but the Great Soul was hardly perturbed. The Iron Man, the son of the Great Soul, as well as most inmates and followers felt hurt, exposed and betrayed. Many appeals were made to the Saint to quit playing his games of chastity. His well-wishers failed to dissuade him. Of course, these grandees were bothered about the negative political fall-out, and did not give a damn about the lives of these women. Finally, the hullabaloo became too much for the niece to bear. But in his adamance, the Saint did not allow her to completely escape his clutches.
The Assassin’s bullets, ultimately, sealed the matters. But M could never free herself of her servitude. She used to keep diary, in which were recorded the happenings of the night. The Father used to sign it the next day. After He was killed, she lost her will to live. She somehow dragged her lonely existence for two more decades. Her diaries became public fifty years after her death. There is ample evidence to prove how the Saint beguiled, and used her as a guinea pig, enough to have him ‘cancelled’. But the country which spent a lot to keep the Great Soul in poverty, also feels the need to gloss over his indiscretions and perversions.
I have refrained from naming the Great Soul, or the four females in question – A,S,P and M. If discussing the private life of a Messenger can attract the charges of blasphemy, one cannot be too sure if it is safe to enumerate the sexploitation sagas of the Great Soul. Freedom of expression in India has a very precarious existence. Yet I do wish the Saint is pulled down from his high pedestal and cancelled for his predatory behaviour. He does not deserve to be considered as a Parent of the People. There are far too many skeletons in the cupboard to defend.
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