Dr Naresh Bhatia. Silenced Now In Indian Child Abuse Scourge
Posted by Barry Pittard on April 16, 2007
For many years, Dr Naresh Bhatia was a prominent doctor (and head of the Blood Bank) in Sai Baba’s vast but from many reports badly under-utilized Super Speciality hospital at Puttaparthi. There are accounts of his having to flee for his own safety from Puttaparthi and then finally being able to retrieve his possessions only after his undertaking with Sai Baba’s top officials to make no further public statements. A secret swami’s secret India, where at last a landmark study of abuse and the extreme hiding of it has just been released by the Manmohan Singh government. See Resources, at the foot of this article.
The Guru Can Do No Wrong
Dr Bhatia says that he, when younger, was for a long time a homosexual lover of Sai Baba. (The former Swedish film star Conny Larsson, now a drug rehabilitator among prisoners and others, says the same of himself). Dr Bhatia has told me that he still cannot shake off his belief that Sai Baba is Divine even though he knows that Sai Baba has sexually abused very many of his male students and other young males. One may note that the guru tradition in India cannot be readily understood by outsiders. One concept is that one does not criticize one’s guru, no matter what he or she says or does. Rooted in almost timeless history, the grip of the guru and other religious authorities is endemic in India.
On November 12, 2000, in an extensively researched article, author and journalist Mick Brown wrote:
“Contacted by phone, Bhatia said that he had become a devotee of Sai Baba in 1971, at the age of 20, and that he had sexual relations with Sai Baba for “15 or 16 years”. In that time, he said, he was also aware that Sai Baba had relations with “many, many” students from the college and school, and with devotees from overseas.”
When making The Secret Swami the BBC television producer Eamon Hardy also spoke with Dr Bhatia, this time in New Delhi but the segment was not included in the documentary, for which 80 plus hours of footage had been shot, containing many compelling testimonies from various countries that, taken together, depict Sai Baba as a serial sexual molester on a most terrible scale.
Many Indian Gurus Abuse But Followers Shut Up About it
Among my papers, I have a note by a former national leader of the Sathya Sai Organization (who still has not gone public). He had a huge outreach among both Indian and Western devotees. He wrote the note while still a devotee but already going through angst following the upheavals following fusillades of revelations around 2000 in the organization which he and his wife so much loved:
“Talking to some Indian devotees (who by the way are not affected at all hardly any of them have left) they tell us that it is common knowledge that “Gurus” generally have some of those tendencies”
Anecdotally, this scenario would surely suggest the origins of the vast shockwaves right now going through India, following the release by the Manmohan Singh government of a landmark study of child abuse in that country. Where sexual abuse is concerned, Sai Baba the ‘secret Swami’ (as BBC television has called him) is close kindred to countless other Indian secret gurus who but reflect countless millions of ‘secret’ citizens of India. Like those of us in other countries who shut up for the sake of the ‘quiet life’, they are – even when not directly committing child abuse – to an extreme degree, therefore permitting it. For decades, Sai Baba has said India is about to lead the world in spirituality, under his banner. But his own ‘backyard’ (which he has said he will clean up before visiting the world) is in a dire shambles. So is he, as we can see when we examine photos and film footage that emphatically display his decrepitude. He is also increasingly given to unquestionably inane utterances and other odd behaviour. Click here for my articles Sai Baba’s Tip To Keep Ageing Away and Sai Baba – A Degenerative Disease?
Dr Naresh Bhatia – Some Clarifications
Dr Bhatia told me that he felt the threat to his life was very real and that he was concerned that no further harm should come to a young boy who he (and a medical colleague in Bangalore) professionally believed was injuriously sodomized by Sai Baba. For this reason, he says, he has modified his earlier public stance that can be read in David and Faye Bailey’s The Findings (April 2000). Though one child is extremely precious, there can be a great danger to protecting a single individual. Shutting up rather than strong combattive action can threaten the safety and well-being of a great many children.
There Have Been Threats to Life or Limb
I asked Dr Bhatia whether he thought his near fatal accident where a truck hit him was likely to be the work of those on the nasty side of Sai Baba’s outreach. He replied that he felt that the distance and speed from which the truck came before hitting him did not seem focused enough to have been an assassination attempt. I also asked him to clarify a point that has raised some confusion.
The Abuse Patient Was A Level Seven (Primary School) Boy
It had been repeated – either originating, or worse confounded, in the Bailey’s seminal article that a boy was seven years old when very badly sexually abused by Sathya Sai Baba. Dr Bhatia responded that the boy was not seven but was then in Level 7 at Sai Baba’s school at Puttaparthi. He has also confirmed this to my fellow Australian, Stephen Carthew, long known for his courage and truthfulness not least when trying to reform the Sathya Sai Organisation from within, who visited Dr Bhatia in New Delhi 2000. Stephen, who had made kept this visit to India very secret, wrote to me that:
“I found Dr Bhatia delightful and most welcoming, notwithstanding the bind he is in. His own ambivalence regarding the spiritual nature of his Guru and the pressures coming from many sources to keep quiet make it difficult for him to do more than tell his story when asked. Certainly, he believed he was threatened and harassed during his rushed departure from Puttaparthi, after criticizing Sai Baba to his face.”
Abuse Is Too Cruel At Any Age
I should add that, in essence, abuse of a person is still grievous no matter what the age of a victim. However, amongst Sai Baba apologist documents is the incessant habit of siezing on every mistake or inconsistency or inadvertency in the writings of critics of Sai Baba. Any attempt to point out the actual facts results in, for example, further adversarial displays of nitpicking and obsession with peripherals. There are also cases when responding so as to put the record right would entail releasing information that is sensitive and should be secure. However, to genuine and bona fide investigators, such as leading media and those doing studies with well-accredited tertiary institutions, patently sincere enquirers such as those processing the anguish of leaving Sai Baba, and so on, this constraint is often not present.
Note on the Baileys
The Findings reports the Baileys’ discoveries that Sai Baba is guilty of male sexual molestation, huge financial fraud, faked miracles and other criminal and vastly hypocritical deceptions. David Bailey is a well-known British musician who lectured in Music at Sai Baba’s university in Puttaparthi. Travelling around the world as Sai Baba would direct, he was his highest profile roving ‘ambassador’ among devotees. Sai Baba arranged his marriage with Faye, who had previously been a key worker in the Australian Sathya Sai Organization. Unlike so many of the other leaders who know the truth of the accusations, David and Faye were possessed with a conscience. When they spoke out, they had to endure untold scurrility. It went throughout many countries in the Sathya Sai Organization that David languished in jail on charges of paedophilia. Similar outrages occurred when Conny Larrson, former head of the Swedish organization, spoke out. Those of us who were in touch with them on their private telephones were struck by the fact that they were decidedly free – except from the dastardly slanders of many Sai devotees around the world. As has been the case with a number of those of us formerly connected with Sai Baba’s work, Sai Baba’s male students and others who have come under his sway, David and Faye Bailey have been the repository of many accounts of sexual abuse (not to mention other shocking revelations) by Sai Baba. Against almost unimaginable slander and distortion by his defenders, former devotees in various countries continue the attempt to expose these abuses to the world.
Child Abuse. Landmark Indian Government Study
Abuse of Indian children ‘common’
By Geeta Pandey
BBC News, Delhi
By David and Faye Bailey (an historic but in various ways a very dated document)
Child Abuse in India. Will Minister Renuka Chowdhury Act?
By Barry Pittard. Email: bpittard (at) optusnet.com.au
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