Bhopal: Despite conviction, Asaram Bapu’s name still sells. Around 15 general stores named after him are continuing with the business as always. However, the sale of his Ashram products has dipped after the tainted saint was jailed for life for teen rape. The main general store on the premises of jailed Asaram’s Gandhinagar Ashram offers a wide variety of ayurvedic and non-ayurvedic products including.
Ojaswi tea, Sant Kripa Churna, Sant Chavanyaprash, Balrakshak pills, massage oil, herbal sewa shampoo, sant sewa Agarbatti (incense sticks), liver tonic, herbal shampoo, toothpaste cough syrup, toffee are among the products stocked at the store. Besides it notebooks, pen drive, memory card with his collection of bhajan and kirtan are also up for sale at the store. The self-proclaimed sant’s monthly magazine ‘Rishi Prasad’ and other literary items are also being sold here.
The cost of the products, most of which are manufactured in Ahmedabad and Himachal Pradesh ranges from Rs 1 to Rs 600. Incense sticks, shampoo, soap, oil and notebooks are always high demand. The same products are also being sold at general stores named ‘Satguru Enterprises’ located at different places in the city including MP Nagar, New Market and Jawahar Chowk. Even after Asaram’s conviction, the people operating these stores have refused to pull the shutter down.
They also refused to accept that the sales of the product have come down following court’s verdict against Asaram. “No, we won’t close the store at any cost. We have even launched some new products in new packaging. Sometimes some products are not available as we have to procure it from Ahmedabad,” Devendra, an owner of Satguru Enterprises, K K Plaza, M P Nagar Zone II told Free Press.
Similarly, Rajkumar, a functionary of general store at Gandhi Nagar Ashram, claimed that the sale of products has not affected much as everyone knows what truth is.” However he later admitted that business is down by 30%. And that the numbers of customers have fallen. “Yes, new customers are not coming or adding.
Earlier 500 people used to visit on every Sunday but now the figure has come down to 200,” however, went on to claim that old customers were still associated with them. “We offer best products at reasonable price and so they continue to be in demand. After Bapu’s conviction, the demand of notebooks has declined as it carries his photographs on the cover page. Earlier, it was in huge demand as its price is quite low as compared to others and we used to supply it in whole MP.
Now, we are planning to put Hindu God and Goddess instead of photo of Bapuji on its cover page.” Pratap Tejwani, owner of general store at Sabji Mandi New Market said that they do not keep Asaram’s products anymore. “No, we don’t sell his products now. We stopped selling it for past six months due to some personal reason.” A general store at Jawahar Chawk near Pani Tanki is closed for two days due to unknown reason.