"There are a many reasons why God don’t appear before anyone. The main reason is the age of Evil. Currently we’re living in that age and when all will seem lost when there would be more than 100 world wars and when terrorism would take the face of religion then the universe would be swallowed by Mahakaal of Ma Kali which our science call Black hole."
This is from an answer on Quora from 15 June 2017 by a 16-year-old school student from Assam's Jorhat Niraj Bishnoi. Five years later, he has been arrested by the Delhi Police for being the alleged mastermind behind the Bulli Bai App on Github, in which prominent Muslim women were being put up for "auction".
The Quint examined Bishnoi's Quora profile, which gave an insight into his views as a teenager - especially his belief in the superiority of Hinduism, expertise on tech matters and a few glimpses of misogyny.
We say as a teenager because he hasn't posted on the platform since 2 February 2018. The first post is from 16 March 2016. In the two year period, he gained 25 followers, posted 57 answers and two questions that are still publicly visible on Quora. It is interesting that one of the two questions is to do with Muslim women and if they are allowed in mosques.
His activity on Quora corresponds to a period when he was 15 to 17 years of age, presumably when he must have been in senior secondary school.
He also has a YouTube channel focussed on tech advise, gaming and music. Content on the channel is roughly from the same time period.
This story will provide you excerpts of Bishnoi's views on religion, technology and women that could be sifted from his Quora profile and YouTube channel. In the end, we will also try and look at how much of this connects or doesn't connect to what he's being accused of presently - that is being the 'mastermind' behind Bulli Deals.
BELIEF IN THE SUPERIORITY OF HINDUISM VS OTHER RELIGIONS
Thematically, there are two aspects to what Bishnoi has posted on Quora regarding religion - his engagement with Sanatan Dharma and belief in its inherent superiority and a certain disdain for other faiths.
As with many in the Hindu Right, Bishnoi says that Hinduism had attained great heights in scientific and philosophical knowledge but it is acknowledged as there was no "written proof".
According to him, even Monotheism was first propounded by Hindus. He writes on 15 June 2017:
The in an answer on 15 October 2017, Bishnoi claims that "Indians were the first to talk about 'black holes'. He writes:
However, the most important post to understand his thinking at that time regarding other religions was on 8 June 2017, in response to a question on religious conversions.
This exact question was: "Should Hindus just "sit it out" (because there are no doctrines of conversion in/into Hinduism) while Muslims and Christian missionaries are converting thousands of Hindus every year?".
In response, Bishnoi writes (excerpts):
"A religion who thinks that increasing their followers would grant them a higher level in the society cannot be classified as a religion, especially those for whom killing other religion’s followers would grant them a ticket to heaven. I’m not pointing at anyone. I’m not pointing at any religion. My words are enough for that!"
"Hinduism certainly was the most developed religion because 1000 years before when people of other religion were promoted to have 7 babies, 15 babies to grow their own football team, Hinduism tried to find new ways to stop over-population."
"Hindus get converted because of mainly two reasons: They are being forced by someone: Some religions (except Hinduism) may never have existed if they didn’t start converting. I’m not pointing at any religion."
"I’ve seen some missionaries which help people in their need but they take advantage of their helplessness! They make them eat beef so that that can’t ever be converted to Hinduism."
Like in many right-wing conversations internationally, the quote "terrorism has no religion" features in Bishnoi's Quora interactions as well and his answer (dated 9 June 2017) is on similar lines as what one frequently hears in such forums.
All these answers are from when Bishnoi was about 16 years of age, indicating that he may have started reading on Hinduism from a very young age. He is particularly enthusiastic about quoting the Bhagvad Geeta which he refers to as an "international bestseller".
Other than that, it isn't clear what his sources of information are.
EXPERTISE IN TECH
Five years ago, 16-year-old Bishnoi spent his time on the internet helping people with technology and gadgets on Quora. He answered A wide range of tech-related questions - from creating websites for free, coding to explaining how anti-viral software works.
The first available answer from Bishnoi is from 16 March 2016 where he answers the question, "How hard is it to develop an antivirus software?"
"As easy as making a master-piece," he says.
When Quora users asked how to create a website, Bishnoi shared a video from his YouTube channel where he describes the entire process behind building a website for free.
In one of his answers, Bishnoi says although "computer science had developed a lot, AI development is still underdeveloped, and it may take decades or centuries to make computers more intelligent than our brain."
In another instance, he advised people what Operating System (OS) was better for a laptop while telling the user that he preferred the Windows 10 OS because of its similarities with the Windows 7 and the added advantage of having the option to have multiple desktops. Bishnoi's knowledge about technology was not limited to computers; he also advised people facing problems with smartphones.
The rest of his videos on YouTube focused on creating games and music. In one video, Bishnoi explains how to earn money from YouTube by using copyrighted material.
He reads out YouTube's terms and conditions and takes the viewer through the steps that they can use to get around a copyright strike and post someone else's content as their own by modulating the audio and changing the look of the video. While he has only 313 subscribers, this video was viewed over 10,000 times, and he also engaged with people commenting on the video.
NOT MUCH ON WOMEN, EXCEPT A POST ON SUNNY LEONE. THERE'S SOME HOMOPHOBIA THOUGH
While most of Bishnoi's answers or Quora are either on religion or tech, the one that received a large number of responses was on Sunny Leone.
He posted this answer on 4 September 2017 in response to a question 'How did Sunny Leone become a porn star'.
Bishnoi attributes it to her "upbringing" and "greed" and ends his answer with a slur at Leone. Here's a screenshot of the answer:
The slur in the end received a number of angry responses calling Bishnoi out.
The Leone post is a little different from most of Bishnoi's interactions in Quora where his language has mostly been civil. Another exception to this is his abusive answer to someone who is probably gay.
DOES THIS CONNECT TO BULLI BAI?
His answers on Quora show that as a teenager, Bishnoi had been ahead of his time and someone who would spend hours together on the screen.
Speaking to The Quint, even Bishnoi's father said that he would be "on the laptop all day".
His love for the technology and internet was evident in one of his answers when a user asked, "What if there was no internet?".
Bishnoi starts his answer with a tinge of sarcasm but gets serious and claims that "without internet, the economy of the state would go down" and adds that the lack of "internet will also affect education".
Looking at his Quora activity, it is not hard to believe that a 20-year-old would have the technical expertise to create an app such as Bulli Bai.
His views on Quora do reveal his belief in the superiority of Hinduism, disdain for other religions and a give glimpses of misogyny and homophobia.
Can we see roots of the kind of mentality that went behind Bulli Bai? We can't say for sure.
What we can infer from his Quora and YouTube activity is that somewhere after early 2018, Bishnoi seems to have shifted entirely to anonymous social media interactions.
The Quora interactions and the videos on his YouTube channel are the last few publicly visible interactions by Bishnoi in his own name, that we could find.
It is possible that he may have parallelly been having anonymous interactions even during the 2016-2018 period that may have been different in nature from his Quora answers.
It would be crucial to find out what happened in the period between early 2018 and the creation of Bulli Bai in the end of 2021 - who did Bishnoi interact with? What were the anonymous accounts he created and what views did he express through those accounts? What was happening in the offline life of Niraj Bishnoi in this time?
Besides his transition from school to engineering college at the Vellore Institute of Technology, Bhopal and that he created a few anonymous Twitter handles, we don't know much about this period.
The answer to these questions would help us figure out a bigger question in the Bulli Bai case - did Niraj Bishnoi 'mastermind' Bulli Bai as the Delhi police is claiming, or did he merely provide tech support to others who conceived it?