India is known for incomprehensible diversity. Hundreds upon hundreds of different communities exist across the length and breadth of the country, some of which remain hidden in the shadows until someone shares their story. One such community is the Sati Pati cult of Gujarat which though small in number, at around 3,000, but big in anti-government ideals. They originated as a group opposed to Christianity and Hinduism, and vehemently believe natural resources, such as Gujurat’s forests and rivers, were gifted to their founder Keshri Sinh by Queen Victoria. This interaction supposedly took place at some point during the 1930’s. Although there has been a gradual decline in their numbers over the past decades many people in the Sati Pati community still disassociate themselves from any form of government activity.
Parag Sahare, the local cult leader in Kaparada explained to DNA, “Sati indicates mother, and Pati father. We have all descended from nature and we worship it. Government officials are our servants, but they have become rulers. So we disregard their credibility.”
And disregard them they do! The majority of the Sati Pati community refuses to: vote in any form of government election, pay state transport bus fare, register for ration cards, vaccinate their children, and educate their children in government schools. Clearly, Sahare believes the words he told DNA, “the government of India is a farce and it cannot impose its rules on us.”
Despite the group’s unpatriotic views they are not known for inciting violence. Perhaps this is why their community has evaded serious government scrutiny throughout the years. However, there have been incidents involving Sati Pati that have troubled local authorities. For example, during the February of 2010, in the Rohial Talat village of Gujarat’s Valsad district, it is estimated over 2,500 people were a part of a function where treasonous pamphlets were distributed.
The pamphlets called upon youths to join the guerrilla fight against the government of India. It’s hard to imagine 2,500 folks in rural Gujarat toppling the government, however, such talk is obviously disconcerting. Kaprada Sub-Inspector V V Vishpute said to The India Express, “They (community members of Satipati) don’t believe in the Constitution of India. I called and questioned the organiser Parag Sahare for five hours and found many things which had pointed at the suspicious activities.”
The Sati Pati cult’s alternative beliefs may have people concerned and treason is probably not the best way to get your point across. Though they may have had a pact with Queen Victoria, the modern era calls for a more diplomatic solution to accommodate their unconventional way of life.