Kaushal Kishore | Sept 11, 2012
Jan Lokpal and Overseas Black Money issues emerged as huge movements of recent times. The effects of these agitations were seen throughout the nation. Common people came to know a yet another movement during these agitations when Ganga Putra Nigamananda died last year. However his battle against ruinous mining was continued for more than a decade, he remained confined to local clusters. The sacrifice of the saint brought many of the opportunist people and groups on fore funded by the same mining and dam lobbies. Today, they are involved in making new Anna, Ramdev and Ganga Putra to launch another movement.
In present scenario, still there are traders who trade in pure gold. The heroic spirits and martyrdom of India is yet to be annihilated completely. Nigamananda died as the Ganga Putra of the Mahabharata. He was on the pin-cushion of pain and suffering for a couple of months. After death, media emerged on the funeral ground to make him an international Ganga crusader. The so-called army dedicated to him (Nigamananda Sena) also emerged along with a bunch of self proclaimed Ganga Putras.
Almost an year after the death of the Ganga Putra, I saw another Ganga(ku or su)Putra in June 2012. Today, Ganga Putra Anand Swarup aka Anand Pandey is everywhere with another Baba, who projects himself as waterman to be defined as Panibaba. Both are on the news channels, newspapers and with the heads of states. This is more like an emerging sequel of the recently concluded melodrama. Anand claims himself to be a sanyasi disciple of Shankaracharya Swami Swarupananda (just by flipping the name Shankaracharya Anand Swarup). After months of observation, I realised that the differences between the two are many. But there is a single similarity that is nothing other than their saffron cloth. Media and common people began to call one ‘Ganga Putra’ and the other is self proclaimed.
I had my first interaction with the so-called Ganga Putra while attending a workshop on Himalaya Basao-Himalaya Bachao. I was there to present a research paper dealing with Political Economy Versus Religious and Environmental Tourism in Uttarakahand, Ganga Basin and Himalayan Region. He was not happy with the presentation of certain facts dealing with religious economy. Since he was presiding over the dais, his unpleasantness categorically appeared in his speech. But that was dully countered by one of the followers of Shankaracharya himself.
After a few days, one of the Ganga activists suggested me to pacify the differences with him. As thus, I went to see him with a friend and colleague when he was camping in Delhi. As soon as the facts concerning religious economy cropped up, he has shifted it to other issues like—agony of Ganga and Ganga Putra. He told me that he was very closely associated with Nigamananda and his satyagraha. Moreover, he gave me a sheet of paper disclosing the disputed and disqualifying roots of Swami Avimukteshwarananda, heir apparent of the Shankaracharya. He has also offered a couple of millions to fund an awareness project on the Ganga Putra.
Above all, he was not ready to discuss the disputations associated with religious economy. He wanted us to help him in the round-table conference to make it successful. We were told that he has invited all Ganga activists, groups and experts on one platform so that a dialogue could be initiated with the government. He further informs that Prime Minister of India is going to inaugurate that conference. We promised to help him on the issue of the Ganga and returned back.
As I came out of his chamber Anuragi Baba flashed across my mind. Since all efforts and assurances of Ganga(ku or su)Putra resembled with the acts of Anuragi Baba. It raised numerous suspicions, and we started a forensic and criminal investigation into it. A couple of decades ago, Anuragi Baba suddenly appeared out of the blue, collected thousands of millions, and evaporated in the thin air. He was worshiped in many areas, and earned enough of wealth as gifts. In an interview, Baba privately confessed with me that he wore saffron only to conceal himself from the police, as there were murder cases against him.
Baba was smart in manipulation. He played excellently with human aspiration, greed and emotions of bureaucrats, businessmen, politicians and devotees alike. However, what amazes the rational mind is senior bureaucrats with years of experience and brilliant businessmen with sharp intellect fall prey to such frauds even without basic verification of their claims and credentials. With great regret and due respect to the genuine spiritual leaders, we can summon up all such blasphemous acts of the few imposters under one name—Saffrongate. All such acts of crime, irrespective of religious affiliation, against people and their resources must be brought under the purview of C.B.I. and C.A.G. In fact some of these frauds in terms of swindle of resources surpassed even the greatest frauds recently unearthed by C.A.G.
Anuragi Baba remained saffron-clad for many years, accumulated huge wealth and returned back to his family. He has invested the money properly, as he became a businessman. He was awarded numerous contracts including the one in coalfields of Northern Coalfields Ltd.—sister concern of Coal India. It can open a new chapter in the recent scam of Coalgate. This unveils a new era in the Saffrongate—nexus between fraudulent impostors (religious leaders), corrupt and greedy politicians and complaint bureaucrats, which has seen recently the pandora box of illegal mining opening up in various acts of the mafia.
Our investigation reveals that the new Ganga Putra willfully uses the names of Prime Minister of India, Congress President, General Secretary and other well-known personalities. He deals with people on their behalf, and promises with eminent persons to make them governor of the state, advisors or consultants of the Prime Minister and Chief Ministers. He has made fake email ids of powerful people like Rahul Gandhi and Robert Vadra. Government agencies know most of his frauds. But they are silent. Anand receives calls from many high-profile dignitaries at regular intervals. Most of these calls are fake. In addition to politicians, many top-notch industrialists, film makers and media barons are his disciples. He leisurly says, “My guru Swami Swarupananda Saraswati bequeathed me all these associations and disciples.” He further associates his guru with the Independence movement and the leadership of the Congress, and mentions his efforts to take away Dr. G.D. Agarwal from Matri Sadan at Hardwar to Sri Vidya Mutt at Kashi, as he was instrumental in his conversion into Swami Sanand. There were many bureaucrats, clans of the kings, politicians, along with a few media representatives sitting in his court to confirm his allegations.
We have inquired at various sources associated with the allegations and claims. The sources of Matri Sadan reveals his hands in the controversial murder of Nigamananda. They have stated in a memorandum that Anand Pandey met the fasting saint on 30th April 2011. The saint was annoyed with him for his objectionable role in the satyagraha. The ashram sources clearly asserts that the same day he was poisoned, and Anand Pandey was instrumental in it.
I went to Sri Vidya Mutt, Kashi and have talks with the representatives of Shankaracharya including Swami Sanand. The chief of the mutt says that Anand Pandey was there only for four months. Meanwhile, the mutt came to know about his unlawful acts and dis-associated from him and his works. When I asked him, why don’t you lodge a complaint with the police? Swami Avimukteshwarananda Saraswati replies that Shankaracharya directed him to lodge an F.I.R. against him, but he failed to obtain supporting documents.
Religion as promoted and practiced in the sadhu-samaj of Anuragi Baba or Anand Swarup and Nityanand or Nirmal Baba is as destructive as cocaine. It can destroy human senses including the feeling of shame. They commit ruthless and shameful acts and don’t even realize the cruel damage that hurts the trust of devotees. If caught they tender apology, otherwise the deceit and destruction to faith, trust and wealth continues. The thoughts of wisdom is merely confined in their speech, far away from the deeds. Such leaders train their followers so as to keep them loyal, even though they are caught red-handed committing heinous crimes. Many of the religious leaders though involved in criminal activities, their followers are with them, ready to present some explanations with supporting quotes of scriptures. They learn from the ancient wisdom of Niti Sutra: ekam lajjaam parityajya trailokya vijayi bhavet (Just after single sacrifice of shame, one can become winner of the entire world).
Today, a group of criminal opportunists—sadhus and activists—are moving in various corners of the Ganga basin. They are preparing ground for a new movement with Utopian promises. The new banners mention Ganga Putra and Ganga Sewa Mission. Another activitst with Gandhi Topi and holyman in dark shades of saffron are being reported from different corners of India. Government agencies are aware of the criminal activities being committed under the cloak and cover of their movement. It is still unknown why Shankaracharya and his followers overlook this misuse of his name and fame. The government and its agencies are aware of all these crimes—fraud, impersonation and deception. God knows why Shankaracharya or the government agencies do not act against this Saffrongate? By the way C.A.G. can not investigate Saffrongate.
Kaushal Kishore is the author of The Holy Ganga