BBC Acted “Totally Irresponsibly” Says Ashok Bhagani
Posted by Barry Pittard on February 20, 2007
Ashok Bhagani. Part 3.
In the ‘Eastern Eye’ interview, earlier quoted, the UK head of the Sathya Sai Organization Ashok Bhagani sweepingly declared that the BBC acted “totally irresponsibly”.
Really? The BBC cameras of ‘The Secret Swami’ production team exposed Sai Baba faking the materialization of a gold Shiva lingam, and continued filming some minutes later when Sai Baba inanely pronounced that out of his “stomach there emanated emanated Shiva Lingas of the weight of three tonnes”. Sai Baba told the crowds, “That’s the reason why some strain on the face and the body” http://home.hetnet.nl/~ex-baba/engels/movies.html
How, then, other than to be two-faced, can Ashok Bhagani still ask for evidence to substantiate claims of fraud? When Mark Roche (in his sixties) and Alaya Rahm (in his twenties) spoke in ‘The Secret Swami’ of their sexual molestations at the hands of Sai Baba, how is it that Bhagani grudgingly admitted that such allegations have been circulating for years while simultaneously declaring that they have never been proved? Why have not he and any of the Sathya Sai Organization leaders heeded the calls of (then) leaders – not to mention innumerable rank-and-file members – to responsibly investigate the worldwide allegations? Above all, to put in place proper and professional mechanisms of enquiry and to exercise duty-of-care? Why have not Bhagani and his peers not instituted those objective, best practice processes of accountability and transparency that obtain in the more democratic world – the lack of which have rocked mighty institutions? If this had been done, how could there ever have arisen a highly determined and protracted movement of exposure?
In short, the Soviet-style, cultic Sai Organization has brought upon itself its woes of the last seven or so years of organized former devotee exposure, not to mention the still longer-existing efforts of rationalists, humanists and other critics. These now former leaders include David and Faye Bailey, Serguei Badaev (Russia), Terry Gallagher (the first head of the Australian Sathya Sai Organisation), Stephen Carthew, Hans de Kraker (Australia), Rick Raines, Richard Terry Nelson, Al Rahm, Dr Timothy Conway, Ella Evers, Shirley Pike, Elena and John Hartgering, Lori Kaplowitz, Dave Lamb, Dave Lyons (USA), Conny Larsson, Britt-Marie Andén, and Magnus Vrethammar (Sweden), Robert and Reidun Priddy (Norway), and others. Of so many fine and decent people, Ashok Bhagani unconscionably says:
“These are disgruntled people. They may have been previously Sai Baba devotees, but they are disgruntled, with an axe to grind”
Bhagani, like his co top echelon leaders of the Sathya Sai Organization, would slander former devotees worldwide who poured heart, soul and skills into the social uplift and other work of the Sathya Sai Organization – many of them for decades. Almost overnight, once they spoke out, they have been considered evil-doers and pariahs. In his Christmas 2000 discourse – right when he was confronted by acute dissent and leave-taking in his organization, and by the results of former devotees going to several major media and to UNESCO – Sai Baba called them “Judases”, “demons”, “cawing crows”, said no matter what their number of karmic re-births they would never be redeemed, and charged that his critics were attacking him for money. Many of his followers, mindlessly in like vein, have all along hurled at former devotees epithets such as disgruntled”, “deluded”, “troublemakers,” shunning those whom they have known, loved and respected for many years …..
Accounts by scholars and others who have studied the behaviour of cult leaders and followers under rational questioning attest that the misrepresentations and evasions of Ashok Bhagani and his peers are entirely typical.