Bigg Boss is an alternate universe in itself.
With a penchant for picking the most controversial characters to feature on the show, this Salman Khan-hosted reality TV programme is anything but boring and politically correct. From the ever-cussing entrepreneur and wannabe film-critic Kamaal Rashid Khan (KRK), to the likes of Dolly Bindra and Rakhi Sawant, it just doesn’t feel like Bigg Boss if there isn’t a potty-mouthed controversy generator.
Adding to the illustrious legacy of dramaqueens and cringe-overlords who have walked the hall of fame in Bigg Boss, this year, is Swami Omji Maharaj. This religious leader, godman and political entity is by far and large, the only controversial contestant in this year’s ensemble.
|When the esteemed Swami is not slapping women on live TV, he is proudly giving death threats to Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal. [Photo: YouTube screengrab/The Quint]|
While assigning a different Devi moniker to every female contestant, and promising Salman Khan the perfect wife is mildly entertaining, it is the Swami’s past that is the real treasure trove. The foot-in-the-mouth Swami has said and done things that range from cringe-worthy to downright horrible.
1) Slapping women on TV
In 2015, at the height of the Radhe Maa craze, Hindi news channel IBN7 was hosting a panel debate about the godwoman, which included among others, Swami Omji. The seemingly polite godman made some pretty off-colour remarks on Deepa Sharma, an astrologer and a fellow panellist. What the Swami tried to imply was that a woman who had supposedly charged her father-in-law with sexual harassment in order to get the better of an alleged land dispute, and has been separated from her husband for three years, was in no position to make comments on Radhe Maa. Real classy.
But the remarks were nothing compared to the aftermath. Deepa Sharma, infuriated by the personal attack, stormed off to his side of the table and gave him a shove. The "all-women-are-devis" Swami retaliated by slapping her!
2) Issuing a death threat to Arvind Kejriwal
But when the esteemed Swami is not slapping women on live TV, he is proudly giving death threats to Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal. During the Delhi Legislative Assembly election in 215, the Swami, a member of the Hindu Mahasabha and an independent candidate from Palika Bazaar, could be seen sporting a BJP cap, standing with a bunch of other BJP volunteers. In an interview with Real News of India, the Swami mentions assaulting Arvind Kejriwal at his home, and casually adds a death threat.
“We killed Mahatma Gandhi. I’m from the Hindu Mahasabha. Nathuram Godse was a member of our party. Just like he shot Gandhi for breaking our country, in the future, we will try to convince anti-nationals like Kejriwal. If he doesn't listen, we will shoot him and kill him as well.”
I suppose the Swami can use this as a strategy in the Bigg Boss house as well. “I will shoot you, and kill you, if you vote me out”.
3) Issuing a death threat to an environmental activist
Turns out, the Swami is quite a fan of casual death threats and hands them out on a regular basis. This time it was directed towards Vimlendu Jha, an environmental activist. Jha, who had created an online petition to halt the World Cultural Festival, was speaking with a reporter from The Quint, outside the National Green Tribunal, when the Swami decided an interruption was necessary.
Of course the Swami’s rhetoric was simple. Jha, was an anti-nation for going against Sri Sri Ravi Shankar's The Art of Living and hurting religious sentiments. Oh, also that Mr Jha was a “confirmed CIA agent”, a “terrorist” and an “anti-Indian” and of course, he would be “taken care of”.
4) Battling 'love jihadis'
But death threats aren’t the only thing that the Swami excels at. He also boasts his skills in kidnapping when he threatened Shah Rukh Khan, Saif Ali Khan and Aamir Khan with that. Yes. Talk about ambition, right? According to the great Swami, these three Bollywood superstars married Hindu women and that would only be acceptable in his eyes if they converted to Hinduism as well. Otherwise, it would be termed as "love jihad" and the Swami definitely doesn’t like that.
The Swami laid down a rather open threat to the three of them, asking them to get converted by Valentine ’s Day of 2016, non-compliance with which would result in them being kidnapped. Fortunately (or unfortunately) the Valentine’s Day of 2016 came and went by without anything happening and the world lost out on watching this great man carry out his threat.
5) Having more slap aspirations
Swami's lack of carrying out his threat to kidnap the three Khans may be explained by what he was busy doing in Februray 2016: trying to slap Rahul Gandhi. The #JusticeForRohith march, which was participated in by thousands of Delhi students to honour the memory of Dalit student Rohith Vemula, culminated at Jantar Mantar. Jantar Mantar, a hub for political and social protests in the national capital, was visted by Rahul Gandhi, Arvind Kejriwal and Sitaram Yechury, who individually tried to score political points with the greiving students.
The Swami, of course, made his way there as well. the Hindu Mahasabha leader was not let in, because he wanted to slap Rahul Gandhi. I guess a lot of people have shaared his sentiments over the years, and it might make him look like a more relatable caharacter on the show.
|His aspirations for slapping the vice-president of the Indian National Congress does make him sound relatable. [Photo: Scroll.in]|
Every bad contestant on Bigg Boss has left their mark on the show and there is no doubt that the Swami will too. The only question that remains is, will he be able to outdo his past exploits?
We shall find out, as the show progresses.