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Who is Ma Anand Sheela and where is she now?

Who is Ma Anand Sheela and where is she now?

KNOWN for being the personal secretary of cult leader and Indian guru Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, Ma Anand Sheela is one of the most divisive figures in all of India.

Her work alongside controversial Rajneesh, more commonly known as Osho, has often been the hot topic of conversation.

AlamyMa Anand Sheela, left, with cult leader Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, center, in 1982[/caption]

Who is Ma Anand Sheela?

Born in India on December 28, 1949, Ma Anand Sheela was the spokeswoman of the late controversial Rajneesh movement (aka Osho movement).

In 1986, she pleaded guilty to attempted murder and assault for her role in the 1984 Rajneeshee bioterror attack.

Sheela was sentenced to 20 years in federal prison but paroled after just 39 months.

In 1999, she was convicted again by a Swiss court of “criminal acts preparatory to the commission of murder” in relation to a plot to kill US federal prosecutor Charles Turner in 1985.

Where is she now?

As of 2023, Sheela lives a relatively low profile life.

However, in 2021 she took part in a Netflix documentary about her controversial life called Searching for Sheela.

At the time, she said in a statement about the docu-series: “This film is about my journey of returning to my home in India, a journey I have longed for many years.

“It captures the rollercoaster of emotions I experienced on this journey very well. I am looking forward to sharing my story with the world.”

Director of the film, Shakun Batra added: “Searching for Sheela’ is a documentary that tries to get a closer look at one of the most sensationalised personalities in India and I am grateful to Netflix for providing us with a platform and a safe space to share her story.”

What is Netflix’s Searching for Sheela?

The Netflix docu-film includes a lengthy interview with Sheela herself.

The official synopsis of the docu-film reads: “Osho’s controversial and sassy ex-secretary, Ma Anand Sheela returns to India after 34 years of exile and people just can’t get enough of her.

“Searching for Sheela is an intimate look into her journey across India, observing the rebranding of her as a pop-culture icon, with audiences unable to decide if they deem her a “criminal” or remain in awe of her badass secretary days.

“Sheela, now frail and 70, in the twilight of her life, appears to be seeking redemption, but is she? And if she is, does a world consumed by spectacle allow her the space to?”

The documentary can be streamed on Netflix right now.

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