Controversial godman

Quiz: Can you tell the real MSG Gurmeet Ram Rahim from the parody?

Even Newshour anchor Arnab Goswami decided to get in on the game.

Did you ever expect to hear the words “I am the love charger” coming out of the mouth of TimesNow editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami? That’s what happened on Thursday night, when Goswami decided to dedicate his nightly longer-than-an-hour Newshour show to the subject of Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh Ji Insaan and the arrest of comedian Kiku Sharda who had the gall to make fun of the religious leader.

Indignant at this crackdown on free speech – not always something Goswami has been angry about – the Newshour anchor spelled out just how willing he was to make fun of Ram Rahim. “I find him funny, I think he’s an excellent character to caricature... I mean look at him, with his T-shirts, his chains, his bikes... “I am a love charger, I am a love charger”, I don’t know who wrote his lyrics,” Goswami said.

Now, it is true that Ram Rahim gets the “self-proclaimed” treatment from the Indian press. That is, his name in newspaper reports tends to be accompanied by the phrase “self-proclaimed”, which might not go alongside other religious leaders like Satya Sai Baba. He’s also more likely to be described as “godman” rather than “religious leader,” a dismissive brush-off that is occasionally credited to the fact that his followers are primarily lower-caste and Dalit.

That said, there is no doubt that Goswami is also entirely right here. Ram Rahim is funny and easy to caricature. Take for example the clip that he’s referring to, with those love charger comments.


In fact, Ram Rahim’s entire persona is so over-the-top that it’s hard to imagine anyone actually being able to spot a caricature of him in the first place. Never mind that the religious leader himself got into trouble a few years ago when he put out ads that portrayed him looking like the Sikhs’ tenth guru, Guru Gobind Singh. The fact remains, it’s hard to tell parody from reality.

Have a look at the following pictures and see if you can figure out which ones are real and which ones feature comedian Kiku Sharda, who was arrested for parodying Ram Rahim, after the leader’s followers claimed to be offended.

As you may have guessed, none of those images involve Kiku Sharda in any way. Instead, they’re all taken from Ram Rahim videos, which we have happily collected for your enjoyment below.

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