A crime drama web series has caused a stir in India. The name of this series is ‘Ashram’. A lawyer in the Indian city of Jodhpur has approached the court and the first hearing of the case will be held on January 11.
The director of this series is Prakash Jah. Its main character is played by Bobby Deol, brother of famous actor Sunny Deol. Referring to its dialogues and story, Hindu activists say the web series ‘Ashram’ has apparently diminished the sanctity of the shrine by showing sex and drug use. Thus, the controversy has now reached the court from the media.
In the web series, there is a character of Kashipur Waale Baba Nirala played by Bobby Deol, which is imaginary and critical. According to the story, he has many followers and his religious speeches are also broadcast online. In a speech, he was heard to say, “Throw away every weed, wealth and desires, doing so brings universal mercy.” According to many, these are highly admonishing words, while People say that such gurus often go beyond sin and morality in expressing their views. They also say that such immoral words can lead to criminal charges against them.
Kiran, a rape victim, says she is no longer interested in spirituality after the situation she has faced. She has also stopped learning yoga. The question now is whether Prakash Jah’s series, the incidents of rape and the testimonies of the victims have shattered the identity of the spirituality found in the Hindu religion. Apparently, the answer is no. In the drama series Ashram, Om Prakash has played the role of a police inspector and says that the people involved in such incidents have hypocritical attitudes in the Hindu religion and this drama series is being made to protect such hypocrites.
Religious organizations, whether Hindu or otherwise, have rarely been exposed to scandals. In recent times, some gurus of several Hindu ashrams and yoga centres have been accused of sexual exploitation. Asaram Bapu of Jodhpur was sent to jail by a court in 2018 on charges of rape. Another famous Guru, Swami Bhakti Bhushan Maharaj, is accused of sexually abusing several underage girls in July last year. His ashram is located on the outskirts of the Indian capital. Echoes of such allegations have been heard in many other cities in India. Hardline Hindu devotees consider such allegations false and fabrication of opponents.
Ashrams and Western countries
In the West, the ashram and the sex stories associated with it are connected with the gurus sitting in such places and their mention was also seen in the media. In this, Lord Rajneesh (Osho Rajneesh) was especially notorious. Netflix also completed a series on his character. In this series, some citizens of Oregon, USA and Pune, India, described in detail the negative psychological effects after exploitation. There were similar incidents of rape at an ashram in Australia. Victims of sexual abuse against a Hindu guru, Swami Akhandanda, testified in court in the 1970s and 1980s.