Holy noodles

“ITS time to charge yourself!” So, ungrammatically, the shiny wrappers of Lov Charger cream wafers declare. It is not just the peppy slogan and a pretty price (two rupees, or around three American cents) that make the biscuits sell. Their maker is a firm called MSG, letters that stand not for a flavour enhancer but—take your pick—either for Messenger of God or for the initials of the three gurus who have led Dera Sacha Sauda, a north Indian sect, since its founding in 1948. MSG and MSG2 are also the names of two films that star the sect’s current leader as a brawny, sequin-studded superhero who swats down goons and gangsters like flies while bursting into such lyrics as “I am so lucky because/You are my love charger.”
The talented writer of that song is none other than Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh Insan, the star himself (pictured, above). Mr Singh is far from the first religious leader in India to make money or a spectacle of himself. But his self-promotion via Bollywood-style films, music, gatherings like rock concerts and, since February, a line of some 150 consumer products, marks an important change. Mr Singh is one of a new, more sophisticated...

Cover Image wikipedia
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