There is a saying that it takes all sorts to make the world and the story I am about to tell you proves this.
About 50 kilometers from Jodhpur, Rajasthan, on the highway to Pali, near Chotila village, one comes across a deity called Bullet baba. On a raised platform, a Royal Enfield Bullet 350 motorcycle stands upright as people offer their prayers and donations. Travelers stop by to pray for a safe journey. People worship, and garland the old motorcycle and even light incense sticks without a trace of skepticism or disbelief. They believe in the Bullet Baba and his power to keep them safe.
The motorcycle god is a new entrant to the pantheon. As recent as 1991, one Om Singh Rathore, the son of the village head of Chotila, was driving from Chotila to Pali and crashed into a tree and fell in the ditch. He died instantly. The local police registered a case of accidental death and took the motor-cycle to the local police station. But next morning the motor-cycle was missing and when the police set up a search, they found it at the accident spot. The police thought it was a prank of some sort and took bike back to the police station, and this time, they chained it. But next day, the motor-cycle was found at the same spot.
Sensing that this was beyond their jurisdiction, the police handed the motor-cycle over to the family of Om, who in turn sold it to a resident of the neighbouring state of Gujarat. But no sooner had the new owner taken possesion, the motor-cycle found its way back to the spot, travelling about 400 kilometres from its new home. Spooked by this behavior, the buyer abandoned it too.
Soon news spread and people started visiting the site from far and wide. The motor-cycle was placed at a prominent spot and people began praying to it. And the tree which Om Singh (also known as Om Banna, Banna being an honorific in the local parlance) had crashed into also became an object of worship. Soon miracles came to be attributed to the site. According to one, a traveler crashed his vehicle not far from the site and claimed that Om Banna helped out of the crash, thus saving his life. Some locals even claim that they can hear the bullet revving at the dead of the night and according to them, it is Om Banna who does that as he loved riding his Bullet.
There is not a single trucker, biker or traveler who does not stop on the way to pay his obeisance to the Bullet and pray for his safety. Another interesting aspect is that among the many offerings that are offered to the ‘shrine’ is beer, and not surprisingly, Bullet Beer! Needless to say, that a market-place has come up in the vicinity all, doing reasonably good business.
While, this definitely beats all logic both rational and mythological, one must not overlook its ability to hold sway on folks. While this ‘deity’ does not hold allegiance to any existing deities from any pantheon, and is a creation of modern times, one marvels at the new induction of a tech-deity in the relatively over-crowded pantheon of ours!!
Story collected by: Utkarsh Patel