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Ungodly ‘godmen’

6 0 119
26.04.2018

On April 25, Asaram Bapu was found guilty of raping a minor. He has been sentenced to life. The verdict instantly reminded me of an incident that found prominence in a book I wrote a few years ago, and showed me how vulnerable women in India are to sexual exploitation by unscrupulous babas and their blind bhakts.

In 2013, Neeti, a 25-year-old housewife, got in touch with me on Facebook after reading about my second book, Sita’s Curse. At that point, it was still a work in progress. For a long time, her message lay unopened in the “others” folder of the inbox. She was keen to meet me, almost insisting on a one-on-one meeting – she claimed there were parts of her life that bore an uncanny resemblance to my novel as it was unfolding.

Truth be told, I was reluctant to take a break from my reclusive writer’s life to meet a veritable stranger. I wasn’t even sure Neeti would make an impact on the story I was telling. She messaged again: “I am coming to Delhi.” Something gave way in me. I told her how she could reach me when she was here.

Neeti has the most powerful dark brown eyes. She wore a printed cotton suit and maintained a staunch ghunghat. When I tried asking her why she wanted to........

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