Bhopal: Though Godman Asaram Bapu is behind bars for more than two years now, it is business as usual at his Ashram and school at Airport Road in the city. “Sant Shri Asaramji Ashram Gurukul Evam Gaushala” reads the board above the imposing gate that leads to sprawling ashram. At the point where the road leading to the ashram hives off from the Airport Road, stands the “Asaram Bapu Bus Stop”.
Inside, there are two schools – one an English medium one affiliated to the CBSE and the other a Hindi medium one, affiliated to MPBSE. The ‘Sant Sri Asaramji Gurukul School” is spread over an area of 4.16 acres. It has a built up area of 18,200 square feet and boasts of a swimming pool and facilities for indoor games. The school also owns four buses which are used to ferry the children from their homes and back.
Apparently, Asaram Bapu’s fall from grace has had no effect on the school. Scores of students were playing in the vast play ground when this correspondent reached there. “It is a good school and that is what matters to me. Both my sons are studying here. The teachers are good and the fee is affordable”, said one of the parents, who was waiting outside the school.
The teachers are also overflowing with reverence for Bapu. “The strength of our school has increased since the unfortunate incident”, claimed one of the teachers referring to Asaram’s arrest. “It doesn’t matter to us also. Asaramji is still our Guru”, another chipped in, adding “Parents have no hesitation in sending their wards to the school”.
The Ashram is abuzz with activities. Pictures of a smiling Asaram are everywhere. In one corner, a few devotees were praying before a photograph of the Guru. The ashram also has a gaushala which houses more than 50 cows.