UK Guardian On Sathya Sai Baba and Duke’s Awards
Posted by Barry Pittard on October 21, 2008
Directly after the November 2006 article in The Guardian (UK), The Indian living god, The paedophilia claims and the Duke of Edinburgh awards by Paul Lewis, an historic Indian media feed seachange started to happen.
There were many successful IANS (Indo-Asian News Service) feeds to Indian media (and a few overseas) which referred to this article, with some added input from IANS Staffer Sudeshna Sarkar who followed up on the story, and filed from London. (See Resources, below).
HRH The Duke of Edinburgh
His Royal Highness’s officials had to act on top of a ‘politically’ not very experienced or competent UK Duke of Edinburgh Awards CEO, Peter Westgarth – see HERE. They were slow off the mark. However, after very high level representations from our side, the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme trustees and Prince Philip’s Private Secretary, Brigadier Sir Miles Hunt-Davies KCVO, CBE,
realized that a serious matter was at hand. Questions were also raised by some powerful citizens, including a former Home Minister, Tom Sackville. The Duke of Edinburgh Awards required of Dr G. Venkataraman, head of Sathya Sai Baba’s international propaganda apparatus and deputy world chairman of the Sathya Sai Organization, that an official Sai Baba website take down the triumphant – but absurdly mistaken – information that the Duke of Edinburgh Award had been awarded to Sai Baba himself. Venkataraman complied.
Guardian Article and IANS News Agency Feed Loosen Indian Media Censorship on Sathya Sai Baba
This IANS feed broke decades’-long silence from from an Indian press which (with a rare notable exception such as India Today in December 2000) almost exclusively has censored news adverse to the extraordinarily powerful and influential Sathya Sai Baba. The Telangana separatist issue, in which vast conflicting interests were involved, was the next blow to Sai Baba’s virtual immunity to criticism in the Indian media. He spoke publicly about this hot topic, whereas in years past he has avoided comments concerning political issues. Why, after all, would he want to alienate huge number of followers who have many political suasions? More recently, however, he has been making increasing errors of judgement. See Sathya Sai Baba Continues To Ail
Sathya Sai Baba’s Promise of Moon Darshan Fails
This marked media change was yet again seen in early October 2007 in the wide Indian press coverage of reports that Sathya Sai Baba had promised a great divine miracle, subsequently cancelled when clouds appeared, in which thousands of his devotees gathered at his private airport, creating terrible traffic snarls and potential danger to human life and limb. This immediately followed an announcement in the evening via his close aide and chief translator Professor Anil Kumar, that Sai Baba would miraculously show the universal form of God (or vishwarupa darshanam) in the moon. But both Sai Baba’s own vision AND the moon itself that night were clouded over! (Sai Baba’s gesture, though unfulfilled, is redolent of the type of vision Sri Krishna gave to his chief disciple Arjuna as recorded in the Bhagavad Gita).
Again, it was the upstart news agency IANS which was aggressive in getting its feeds accepted in India.
- Many NRI’s (non-resident Indians) freely are able to read news and views highly critical of Sai Baba in other countries around the world. A mere glance at the dozens of overseas media that have carried articles adverse to Sathya Sai Baba gives an idea of how exposing it is for Indian media that has normally imposed a heavy blanket on information critical of him
- New generational influences are arising in Indian media far more inclined to secularism, and that what with the arrival of a rising ‘star’ news agency like IANS, Satha Sai Baba and his semi-feudal, ancien régime servitors and minders now face some tough challenges. New generations of movers and shakers are gradually emerging out of the grip of the gradually fading, but still rife, gerontocracy of the Indian power echelons.
Paul Lewis, UK Guardian. Saturday November 04 2006. Page 3 of the Top section.
“Tom Sackville, a former Home Office minister and chairman of Fair, a cult-watching and victim support group, said: “It is appallingly naive for the award scheme to involve young people and the royal family with an organisation whose leader is accused of paedophilia.
‘Parents who plan to send their children on this month’s pilgrimage … should be aware of the danger their children are being exposed to.'”
“Officials of The Duke of Edinburgh Awards and Buckingham Palace were upset by the boasting of those such as Dr G. Venkataraman and about the Award connections. (Dr. G. Venkataraman is Sai Baba’s deputy world head, who also directs Sai Baba’s international 7 days 24 hours propaganda satellite radio service via the WorldSpace International corporation. See Shitu Chudasama HERE. Shitu Chudasama is the UK Sai Baba national youth coordinator”.
“While addressing a gathering of devotees at his ashram in Puttaparthi in Anantapur district yesterday, Sai Baba had opposed the division of the state and said overall development was possible only if the state remained united.
The TRS leaders condemned his remarks and demanded his apology for hurting the sentiments of Telangana people”.
“It is interesting that so many devotees have assumed that the vision apparently promised by Sai Baba via his chief translator and close servitor Professor Anil Kumar to many thousands of devotees gathered at his Puttaparthi ashram would entail seeing the form of Sai Baba on the moon. If they had consulted their timeless sacred classic, Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 11, they might have recalled that the vision granted by Sri Krishna to Lord Arjuna (vishwarupa or vishvarupa darshana) was of a very different character. It was not the form of Sri Krishna -who was right beside him! – but a cosmic vision of enormous range and depth”.
Further articles at https://barrypittard.wordpress.com on the moon darshan issue
Robert Priddy writes on Moon darshan issue at http://robertpriddy.wordpress.com
The Sathya Sai Organisation’s Deception and Propaganda Exposed – by Robert Priddy and Barry Pittard. Part One Part Two Part Three
Posted by robertpriddy on June 28, 2009
Witnesses (An alphabetical list linked to testimonies)
There is a Spanish version available: