Sometimes I wonder how the events take their turn, which, is stranger than fiction in this Marathwada region of Maharashtra. Take for example, the case of Oil – Water Baba from Umaraga. The name itself makes one to pause and wonder what this can be. Just within a period of 2-3 months, the chronic patients from neighbourhood areas like Umaraga, Murum, Kadeva Nimbala, Kaal Nimbala, Aurangabad, Beed etc started pouring in Koliwada, a suburban shanty place in Umaraga town on every Wednesday. People from nearby Karnataka border also stared camping in this town after reading an advertisement that appeared in local newspaper about a Christian holy person, Oil – Water Baba, who can cure all the diseases in this world by just using oil and water mixture. This Baba started claiming in public that he is incarnation of Jesus Christ, who has miraculous curing power for any diseases like cancer, paralysis, asthma, tuberculosis, epilepsy, addiction etc., or any diseases you name it. Just apply the oil water mixture to the affected parts; eyes, ears, nose or any other part of the body. This mixture would force the Satan causing the disease, out instantly; if it is very powerful one has to come more than once to achieve the desired result.
Baba’s Centre at Koliwada started attracting crowds, which grew from just 10 to 2000 within a short period. Most of them were from poor communities of Muslims, Dalits, and tribal. Since the patients are possessed of Satan, Baba found it appropriate to beat them with shoes and sticks mercilessly and causing body injuries. Some of them even went to police station to complain about this atrocity. Baba used to behave in a funny and cruel manner; dancing jumping shouting, pulling the women by their hair, dragging the children, etc. The crowd was mesmerized by such behaviour and thought that this was the only way of God to unburden the curse of disease. The visitors were supposed to bring coconuts, flowers, candles and bottles of oil water mixture from a few designated shops run by Baba’s cronies and relatives. This would cost them at least Rs 50 for the goods worth of 15-20 Rs. Nearby shops started selling photo-frames of Jesus Christ at exorbitant cost of Rs 50-60 which would normally cost not more than 15-20 Rs. Thus everyone concerned started making a quick buck in a shortest period. The prayers sung by Baba were funny and meaningless, which might not have ever been heard in the Christian world. After the prayer 4-5 empty bags were circulated to accept silent donation. Thus Baba was making at least a few thousands at every occasion.
When we started investigating about Baba we came to know that his real name was Kantu Mahadev Gaikwad who was earning his meager livelihood by working as a mason. One day he suddenly realized that he is incarnation of Jesus Christ with healing power to cure all the known and unknown diseases just by sprinkling a mixture of oil and water.
We, all the activists of ANS, gave wide publicity on the exploits of this fraudulent person. Even we managed to take video of all the events during the prayer session. We challenged Baba to prove his miraculous power in public. We showed the video film to select gathering of eminent personalities of Umaraga. We lodged a police complaint against this deceitful person and requested to arrest him under objectionable advertisement and false remedy act. We also emphasized that this fellow and his followers are spreading religious terrorism in and around this area. His cronies were terrorizing ANS activists too.
All the local newspapers gave a wide publicity, and people were made aware of the fake miracles of Jesus Christ. Based on our complaint police arrested him but were forced to release him on bale. Despite our continuous efforts Babas like him keep surfacing somewhere, sometime. In fact the example of Oil – Water Baba is a tip of the iceberg. There may be hundreds of them operating locally without much publicity. A continuous vigilance by all concerned is the only answer to this social evil.
– Prof. Kiran Sagar