She seems to be a Sikh by origin, but now claims to be a Guru. Most followers in Mumbai are Hindus. Is she a Real Guru??
The dancing god-woman Radhe Maa, currently in news for her alleged involvement in a dowry case, stitched clothes to supplement her husband's meagre income from a sweets shop in Mukerian in Hoshiarpur district of Punjab before she joined local Paramhans Dera and began holding satsangs.
While her followers say that she was born steeped in spirituality, people in Mukerian, which now has an ashram dedicated to her, say that the transformation of Sukhwinder Kaur, her maiden name, into Radhe Maa began sometime when she in her early 20s after her husband left for the Gulf in search of opportunities to earn more money and she joined local Paramhans Dera to fill her day.
Till then, people Mumbai Mirror spoke to in Mukerian said, there was no indication of the spiritual inclinations of class-X pass Sukhwinder, who was born in Dorangla village in Gurdaspur district. She was, however, deeply influenced by Paramhans Dera's head Ram Deen Das and began travelling with him for satsangs. Soon, she started holding satsangs with the dera and sometimes also on her own.
There is very little information of how Radhe Maa moved to Mumbai and when. But according to information made available to this newspaper, sometime in 2003-04 a Hindu organisation in Phagwara objected to her portraying herself as the reincarnation of goddess Durga. Radhe Maa was forced to tender an apology and decided to shift base to Mumbai.
While she continued traveling back to Hoshiarpur and Kapurthala often for satsangs, these visits became infrequent over the years as her popularity, pumped up by some celebrities joining the ranks of her followers, grew in Mumbai over the years. This is when her husband and two sons too moved to Mumbai with her. However, according to her devotees the relationship of Radhe Maa with her husband and children is now that of a guru and her disciples.
The credit for Radhe Maa's fame, apart from her unorthodox methods of blessing her devotees — dancing with them and letting them carry her in their arms — goes to Mumbai businessman Sanjeev Gupta. The owner of Global Advertiser, the company that controls several prime-location hoardings in the city, Gupta promotes Radhe Maa's 'divyadarshans' through lavish billboards across the city.
While there are online videos of Radhe Maa dancing at satsangs and devotees carrying her around, Gupta stridently denied allegations of any obscene acts at the satsangs. Describing these videos as doctored, he said even the pictures that show Radhe Maa dressed in micro-minis are morphed.
Gupta said he was referred to Radhe Maa by a friend soon after she began visting Mumbai and he and his family have been ardent devotees of her ever since. "All this talk of Maa dancing at satsangs are motivated lies. There has never been an instance where she was lifted by a devotee and her devotees dance to the tunes of bhajans," he said.
However, in the same breath, Gupta denied that Radhe Maa has ever claimed to be the reincarnation of Godess Durga. "She has never claimed to be god, only a guru, and a guide," he said.
On the dowry controversy, which has led the Kandivali police to file a complaint against Radhe Maa for instigating a devotee's family to force its daughter-in-law to bring more money from her parents, Gupta said it is a matter between two families and the Maa has nothing to do with it.
He said Radhe Maa has no time to interfere in people's personal matters as she travels extensively around the country addressing satsangs. "She has been in Punjab for the past two months," he said.