On Friday, as a court in Haryana’s Panchkula city convicted Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh of raping two sadhvis in 2002, sparking violent protests by his followers that left at least 36 people dead, a photograph went viral.
It showed Singh being flown to safety in a 15-seater AgustaWestland helicopter, usually used to ferry VIPs around. Accompanying him was a woman later revealed to be Honeypreet Insan, his adopted daughter.
Singh has two biological daughters – Amanpreet and Charanpreet – with his wife Harjeet Kaur as well as a son, Jasmeet Insan. He adopted Honeypreet Insan in 2009.
According to a Hindustan Times report, Honeypreet Insan is a shadow of her father, and his “likely successor”, and her voice carries a “lot of weight in the Dera”. Born Priyanka Taneja, she became Honeypreet Insan when she married Vishwas Gupta, a Dera Sacha Sauda follower, in 1999. When Honeypreet Insan complained that Gupta’s family was harassing her for dowry, Singh adopted her. Two years later, in 2011, Gupta moved court seeking custody of Honeypreet Insan from Singh.
Among all of Singh’s children and Dera Sacha Sauda members at large, Honeypreet Insan has the highest online visibility. Besides having her own website, her Twitter profile has over a million followers while she has more than 500,000 followers on Facebook and over 188,000 on Instagram. That said, she does not use social media to promote herself. Instead, her public persona revolves around praising her “Guru Pa” and highlighting his achievements.
Honeypreet Insan’s website introduces her as the “equally talented” daughter of her “multi-talented” father. It praises Singh for his “creativity, imagination, talent, dedication and confidence” – traits required to make a “perfect film” – and says that Honeypreet Insan has inherited all of these qualities from him. The website goes on to say, “As a daughter of the king of kings, your purpose is not to turn heads but to turn hearts toward our Heavenly Father.”
In all of her social media profiles, Honeypreet Insan seems to exist entirely in relation to Singh: she describes herself as “Papa’s Angel” whose mission is to “transform my Rockstar Papa’s directions into actions!”
She is also described as a philanthropist, film editor, actress and director. She is said to have learned the last three facets of filmmaking from observing and assisting her father. “All credits goes to her Dad for unveiling the acting skills in her and train her so well that she can stand at par with renowned professional actors,” reads a section in her website.
Indeed, Honeypreet Insan has been her father’s most active collaborator in his films, which include the MSG series. Besides acting in them, she shares the credit for co-directing three of his films. In two of them, she has over 20 credits to her name. Her father, of course, outdoes her in the credits race. Last year, the trailer of MSG The Warrior: Lion Heart described Singh as “the most versatile person in the history of world cinema” for having 30 credits to his name.
Honeypreet Insan’s Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts are dedicated to singing paeans to her father. On Twitter, she mostly retweets his posts. Her own tweets, too, are replies to those of her father, affirming his sentiments on a particular subject or sharing his claims of their films breaking world records.
Sometimes, she is all praise for her father’s “styles & poses”, as she wishes him a Happy Rose Day, or his “absolutely magnetising” display picture.
Her Facebook and Instagram profiles mirror the content of her Twitter profile where she is most active.
On Facebook, one video shows her wishing Singh a Happy Father’s Day while another has her tying a rakhi on his wrist, calling him her “cute SSS bro”.
She is also the star of other websites dedicated to generating positive online content on Singh and the Dera Sacha Sauda, such as Brutallyhonest.in and Youth Voice. Both websites use their social media accounts to share each others’ content praising Singh and his organisation. In one Brutallyhonest article called “5 Famous Fathers and their Talented Daughters”, the writer includes Singh and his daughters in a list of famous father-daughter teams, alongside sitar exponents Pandit Ravi Shankar and Anoushka Shankar. Unsurprisingly, most of this article revolves around Honeypreet Insan.