Sathya Sai Baba’s Chief Broadcaster Dr G. Venkataraman: Select Critical Articles by Barry Pittard
Posted by Barry Pittard on June 24, 2010
Dr G.Venkataraman is about as close to Sathya Sai Baba as it is possible to get. His worldwide brief as his international broadcaster and his deputy chairmanship of the Sathya Sai Organization makes it relevant to look at his performance. The reader may keep in mind the question: Is Venkataraman’s performance what one would expect of a chief disciple of – supposedly – God fully incarnate? Of course, even the most eminent disciples of famous spiritual leaders of the past made some bad showings – but (if the historical records are to be credited) turned out okay in the final run home. But has Venkataraman done so? He has had decades of practice for the “run home”?
A detailed analyis of Venkatarman at work is found in Robert Priddy’s and Barry Pittard’s jointly authored, four-part article ‘The Sathya Sai Organization’s Deception and Propaganda Exposed’ . To see his machinations in concert with the Vajpayee government and the then Director of UNESCO (which were exposed by the BBC’s David Saville), see: The Case of UNESCO’s Missing Media Advisory
“G. Venkataraman, formerly an intimate member of India’s nuclear bomb community, was Vice-Chancellor of Sai Baba’s university at Puttaparthi. He is now second-in-charge of the international Sathya Sai Organization, and head of Sai Global Harmony. The latter entity broadcasts, in affiliation with WorldSpace International Satellite Radio Service, 24/7 to many countries. With a behind-the-scenes corporate-style, assisted by the billions of funds that pour from many countries into the Sathya Sai Central Trust, the aim is to penetrate to every corner of the globe. A vital question will be whether politicians in democratic countries will be capable of distinguishing between the issue of freedom of religion and the issue of cults that decidedly do not, whatever may be their rhetoric, respect democracy …. Dr Venkataraman is tantamount to being Sathya Sai Baba’s ‘minister of propaganda’. Practically all heads of the Sathya Sai Organization are forbidden to comment on critical matters, but G. Venkataraman is an exception. The few spokesmen (and they are almost always men!) say very little, as one would expect of a virtually Soviet-style, cultic organization, with a leader and a deputy chairman who can both wax lyrical about how the former dictator of Uganda Idi Amin wept with tears of devotion over Sai Baba”.
“Dr G. Venkataraman speaks of how thrilling was Sai Baba’s account in this ‘Christmas’ 2006 discourse of his 1968 visit to Uganda! But oh, what an inspiring figure was Idi Amin to refer to in a Christmas message! In case G. Venkataraman or anyone badly informed of Idi Amin’s evil deeds and regime, here and here are BBC reports at the time of his death in August 2003 and a list of resources”.
“The issue is not about high-profile leaders who unavoidably find themselves mixing with monstrous human beings – for example, dignitaries simply going about their formal duties, such as a King, Queen, President etc. The clear issue is that both Sai Baba and G. Venkataraman enthused warmly about recollections of Sai Baba’s visit to Idi Amin in Uganda in 1968, saying how Amin and his retinue were in copious tears of devotion for Sai Baba. Amin was one of the world’s greatest monsters – causing a holocaust estimated at 400,000 people, torturing, raping, engaging in violent orgies and cannibalism. And yet – Sai Baba (who claims to be all-knowing and God fully manifest on earth and come to save the planet before he leaves it) and Venkataraman showed the most appalling bad taste and absence of judgement”.
“Note how Venkataraman, on Sai Global Radio, refers to Mr Idi Amin. I may add that it is interesting that Amin claimed to have a direct line to God. Did he have in mind, specifically, Sathya Sai Baba? Perhaps Amin scholars may have something among their files, and can let us all know.
“Robert Priddy is the former long-time head of the Sathya Sai Organization in Norway and a retired philosopher in the Social Sciences, University of Oslo. He has written insightfully on the extraordinary, often Procrustean efforts of Dr G. Venkataraman to rationalise his beliefs in Sathya Sai Baba”.
Dr. G. Venkataraman reviews at length developments in our scientific knowledge of the cosmos… though nothing scientific that is not found in hundreds of books and other media. Venkataraman was a physicist working for the Indian government’s nuclear programme. However, he has copied his information on astronomy from other scientific authorities. Yet he does not once attribute anything he reports to its originators or to other scientific sources! He has even plagiarised text from the Dennis Dutton website, without any mention … “
“Despite the alarum and excursions of Dr G. Venkataraman (and informally allied Sathya Sai Baba proxy defenders on the Internet whose libels and slanders are deemed by top lawyers in three countries to be extreme, widespread and highly actionable), the BBC had every just cause to shoot clandestinely. The extensive lack of accountability, transparency and of Duty-of-Care were not only seen clearly by the BBC but have also been noted by other world leading, high quality media in several countries”.
The International Sathya Sai Organization – an accessory to a massive libel and disinformation campaign. Open letter to the Prasanthi Council – c/o Dr. M. Goldstein, Dr. G. Venkataraman and its other members. Here is a quote from that document:
“Two semi-official pro-Sai web sites – saibabaofindia.com/ and saibabalinks.org/ – which could not operate without the help of central officials of the Sathya Sai Organization, Radio Sai Global Harmony and Sai ashrams, have links to websites which libel all former members who have spoken out. Such links reveal the obvious inability of Sai representatives in these groups to reply honestly and cogently to any of the many published allegations about Sai Baba made by those who were long respected members, in some cases prominent leaders, of his international organization. Furthermore, some members link to extremist web sites which have as their primary agenda contrived attempts at character assassination of ex-followers who present critical views. The most prominent of such sites are examined here and here.”
See a list (by no means exhaustive) of typical depradations of those Sathya Sai Baba forces (and those caught up in other cults) who claim to be involved in spirituality: Dissent From Guru Cults Draws Slander and Harassment. See also, Cultic Depersonalization or Demonization of Dissenters
The one-hour BBC dcumentary, The Secret Swami (2004) on Sathya Sai Baba, is compelling, and was the work of more than seven intensive months. Its scope was, however, narrow indeed in comparison to a vast database that discloses that much else ails Puttaparthi Sai Baba and his forces such as the Prashanti Council and the International Sathya Sai Organization. See: The BBC’s ‘The Secret Swami’ – A Revision
The Public Petition
(Note: You may prefer to proceed straight to the Petition): Public Petition For Official Investigations of Sathya Sai Baba and His Worldwide Organization