Arun Pathak (born 16 June 1975) is an Indian politician and social activist from Varanasi. He is the chief general secretary and spokesperson of Shiv Sena in Uttar Pradesh state. He is involved in charity work and campaigns for "protection of Hindu culture". He has attracted public attention for staging suicide attempts as a form of political protest.
Pathak was born in Varanasi on 16 June 1975.
As of 2009, Pathak had been rescued from suicide attempts at least eleven times by his followers.
In 1997, Pathak started a campaign to ban liquor stores from being in close proximity to religious sites. He wanted this policy to be in place in Varanasi and Ayodhya. To get attention for this campaign, Pathak climbed to the top of a 300-foot tower in Varanasi and threatened to jump to death. After getting written assurance from the police that the shops would be closed, Pathak climbed down from the tower.
Babri Masjid demolition celebration
In 1998, Pathak organised a celebration in Varanasi to commemorate the 1992 demolition of the Babri Masjid. He put up flags as decoration, but the local police had them taken down and destroyed. In response Pathak went to police station and took 50 valium pills in a suicide attempt. Three days later Pathak woke up and found that the in charge police officer Singh had not been fired, so Pathak took 50 more valium pills and threw himself in front of the car of the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh.[who?] Pathak survived and a police officer who was responsible along with Singh was fired for misconduct in removing the flags.
Deepa Mehta filmed parts of the 2005 film Water on the ghats in Varanasi. The film was controversial to Pathak for having the line "... if a Brahmin or God sleeps with a woman she is blessed", which he interpreted to be oppressive to women's rights. To protest the filming, Pathak tied a large stone around his waist, took a boat to the center of the Ganges, and jumped into the river when the cameras were filming. His friends jumped into the river, rescued him, and rushed him to the hospital. Pathak's actions were followed by some rioting. The Varanasi city government responded by ordering film production to stop.
Pakistani Ghazal virtuoso Ghulam Ali was invited to perform at Sankat Mochan music festival in 2016 which Pathak did not like. He said that instead of offering the stage to a Pakistani singer, the organisers should invite Indian musicians. He also blamed the organiser for the controversy. He also said that a beef eater like Ghulam Ali must not be allowed to enter in a Hindu temple.
In 2017, Pathak announced that he with his follower will worship at the controversial temple Mata Shringar Gauri and when Police and the administration arrested him to stop him from doing so, as a protest he again tried to attempt suicide by cutting veins of his hand. He got critically injured and admitted to trauma center immediately.
On 15 August 2018, Pathak and his followers were again arrested by the police as he tried to hoist the national flag on a controversial place Bindu Madhav temple also known as Madhav Rao Dharhara which is a National Monument. This is not the first time when Pathak stopped and got arrested for hoisting the Tricolour on every national festival he attempt to hoist the Tricolor and get arrested with national flag.
Pathak is the founder of Sri Yajna Sodh Sansthan Trust, a social organization. The group organizes rudrabhishek and different yajnas for world peace. At these events Hindu sanyasis as well as Muslims are invited to encourage social harmony.
Arun Pathak entered Bollywood as a director and actor for his upcoming movie called Soshan - The Torture. The movie, based on his own life, will have Pathak himself as the lead actor. It is about how a childhood gets wasted, how a child is exploited and how a poverty stricken child fights the odds to become an activist. The movie will also talk about how Pathak puts his life at stake to fulfill his goals. In an interview given to Washington Bangla Radio on Internet Pathak said that in his film he will be showing why he stood up against films such as "Girlfriend" and "Water".
Arun Pathak at a Hindutva meet
- Rahul Bhatia (5 February 2000). "YAMA, INTERRUPTED". Tehelka. Archived from the original on 16 July 2011. Retrieved 23 February 2011.
- Rahul Bhatia (9 July 2006). "The invincible suicide attempter". Greenchannel blog. Retrieved 26 November 2010. Bhatia writes for OPEN and publishes additional details from his articles on his blog.
- "Police guard Indian lesbian film". BBC News. BBC. 15 June 2004. Retrieved 26 November 2010.
- Haima Deshpande (26 December 2009). "Retired from Active Suicide". OPEN. Open Media Network Pvt Ltd. Retrieved 26 November 2010.
- "'Water' shooting stopped again, Mehta 'asked to leave Varanasi'". The Hindu. The Hindu Group. 6 February 2000. Retrieved 20 October 2011.
- "Washington Bangla Radio".