Marauding ‘Mahatmas’ stalking drought-ravaged Bundelkhand; bullying farmers into parting with their crops

Bhopal: Seventy-year-old Malkhan Singh Lodhi of village Bamnora in Palera tehsil, Tikamgarh, Madhya Pradesh was having small talk with his friend Ramlal Lodhi at the latter’s home in the nearby Baraun village, when two Mahatmas, claiming to be from Ayodhya, made an appearance.

Tikamgarh is a district in the Bundelkhand region, spawning parts of Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh. The region is experiencing a severe drought for the past many years. Rivers and wells have dried up and the farmers are in extreme distress. But that, obviously, was of no consequence at all for the agents of the Almighty, who had descended on the village.

After making themselves comfortable in the house, the Mahatmas demanded wheat from Ramlal for a Yajna they were supposed to perform at Ayodhya to bring rains to the parched Bundelkhand region. Ramlal refused politely, saying that he did not have enough to eat himself.

Wages of sin

However, the two Mahatamas, who were accompanied by menacing-looking youths, forcibly took away four sacks of wheat from his verandah. Malkhan Singh told DB Post, “They told us that we (villagers) are responsible for the drought and deficient rains are the wages of our sin.” They warned us that if we would not help them mollify the gods, our condition would only worsen.

Malkhan Singh said although Sants and Mahatmas had been coming to the villages demanding food grains in the past but the frequency of their visits and the quantum of their demand has increased. And they now threaten, rather than request.

Stop the thuggery: Waterman

Rajendra Singh, also known as Waterman of India said that it was reprehensible to terrorise the people in the name of religion. “People in Bundelkhand are being threatened by such Mahatmas on a massive scale. They are depriving them of their food. The government should take immediate measures to stop this thuggery”

Singh is currently touring the Bundelkhand region to assess the situation in the drought hit areas.

10,000-plus villages

Bundelkhand includes six districts of Madhya Pradesh (Chhattarpur, Tikamgarh, Panna, Damoh, Sagar and Datia) and seven of Uttar Pradesh (Jhansi, Lalitpur, Jalaun, Hamirpur, Banda and Karwi) with over 10,000 villages.