But what instructiveness might a Test cricket series in Australia have in relation to the call from former Sathya Sai Baba followers in many countries for media and government investigation of their former teacher, who is arguably the most powerful and controversial guru in history?
The Sai Baba-India Cricket Nexus
After all, it is not Sathya Sai Baba but Sharad Pawar who promptly threatened to cancel further games in the series. Pawar (pictured below) is the powerful head of the BCCI (Board of Control for Cricket in India). He is also being touted as the next ICC (International Cricket Council president). As well a having been Governor of the State of Maharashtra, he was earlier on a short list of three or four for the Indian prime ministership. (There was another recent high profile candidate who has been pushed hard for by many close to Sai Baba – Shashi Tharoor, for the succession of of Kofi Annan as Secretary General of the United Nations. Part of a strikeback to our successful efforts to bring accusations against Sai Baba and his global cult the Sathya Sai Organization to international attention, Tharoor wrote an article supporting Sai Baba in the International Herald Times). See Here.
Calmer reasoning set in, but Pawer’s reaction inflamed rather than cooled an already anguished situation in the last week. Perhaps, being ever the politician, he wanted to show tough in front of all those crying out about India’s honor. However, a great many in India (where with deep fulfilment I lived for several years working among the poor alongside fine fellow workers of diverse beliefs) respect proper processes of enquiry and dispute resolution and care to see justice for all sides. There was not from Pawar a call for a strong mediation process. Or an immediate reminder to all that excellent and prompt judicial processes can be drawn upon. Provision of these was a later development.
Sharad Pawar – Or Sai Baba Power?
Pawar’s hyper reactive responses do not bode well when one considers the deep link between top level Indian cricket and Sai Baba. One also has to consider that India has an almost unimaginable power (or should that be Pawar?) over world cricket, and is THE top money roller. In India television audiences of around 200 million and sometimes 400 million, watch cricket on television.
In the meantime, despite the many and serious worldwide allegations against Sai Baba, the BCCI does not cut off its close ties with Sai Baba, and alarming numbers of Indian cricket authorities and Test cricketers are either his devotees or, along with them, actively cooperate in his cricketing plans.
Sai Baba’s Agenda to Use Top Level International Sport
Sai Baba is raising an enormously costly international sports centre at Puttaparthi, and making a run for a powerful influence of several major sports, including at Olympic standard. See, Champion Tennis At Top Indian Guru’s Ashram
He has already had Indian, Sri Lankan and Pakistan Test players and one UK player play at Puttaparthi on his world class pitch. See, Sai Baba Vs Kerry Packer.
Given worldwide allegations against Sai Baba, it is clear that Sharad Pawar, the BCCI and players themselves – not to mention the highly culpable Manmohan Singh government – who have shown themselves so partial to Sai Baba, have some explaining to do. Is it appropriate that a great Indian flagship to the world be used to further the well-known agenda of Sathya Sai Baba to reveal himself to the world as God fully incarnate? Is there any other nation which would support – much less profoundly support, as successive Indian governments have done – an individual who makes such extraordinary claims?
Indian Cricket Players – Playthings of Sathya Sai Baba?
Why would they not want to heed a call for media and government investigation of these many allegations? These compelling accounts include (but go far beyond) wide-scale serial sexual abuse of boys and young men from India and many other countries, implication in and cover up of killings in his bedroom in June 1993, massive deployment of multi billions of international funds to erect lavish buildings far exceed good works like hospitals but which flashily glorify him as God on earth. See, Sai Baba Exchequer Worth Billions. Many Countries Donate, and Sai Baba, Kubla Khan, Citizen Kane, Bill Gates et alia.
The Status of Witnesses Who Claim Abuse By Sai Baba
Former Baba devotees who make the allegations have been taken seriously at the most senior levels by UNESCO, Interpol, FBI, Australian Federal Police, German Chief Prosecutor’s Office, French National Police (which are all hamstrung by lack of cooperation by the Indian Police) and by major reputed media in several countries, as well as very noted public institutions who, having been granted access to high level information, have severed their ties with Sai Baba’s Internation Sathya Sai Organization. These include BBC, DR (Denmark), AZUL (Argentina), CBC (Canada), ABC, SBS (Australia), and in the press – India Today, Times of London, Telegraph, Guardian, Age, Australian Financial Times, and newspapers in several parts of Europe, Canada, Latin America, and elsewhere. See, Exposure of Sathya Sai Baba. Media Source List
For the Time Being, Judicial Processes. But Will Pawar’s Threats Return Sooner or Later?
Sharad Pawar’s threat tactic later acceded (or has at least for the while) to a judicial process, which is normally 7 days but with provision for extension. New Zealand judge John Hansen has been made commissioner for the Indian player Harbhajan Singh’s appeal against a complaint that he made a racist comment during the second Test in Sydney just over a week ago. The ICC (International Cricket Council) match referee, Mike Proctor, had upheld Australian captain Ricky Ponting’s formal complaint that Singh had called Australian player Andrew Symons a “big monkey” and that this was racist. A 3-match ban was imposed on Singh. Three month’s previously, Indian cricket crowds had chanted “monkey” at Symonds during a match in Mumbai as recently as October 2007. Not least in fueling bad feelings in the present series in Australia were several indisputable bad umpiring decisions by Steve Bucknor and Mark Benson. When the problems became known, there was across India a spree in which Ponting, Bucknor and Benson were burnt in effigy.
Neither the angry mobs in the Indian streets nor Pawar displayed the confidence, which would have been so richly justified, that the Indian team did, at least in a number of serious issues, indeed have the moral highground, and could have drawn on world (and indeed Australian) disgust that there had been poor calls as well as Australian player spirit and conduct.
Top-flight Indian lawyers, Arun Jaitley, Sashank Manohar and N. Srinivasan are to support Harbhajan Singh who, in the meantime, has been permitted to play pending the verdict of the appeal. How sensible. A mediator highly regarded by all cricketing countries Ranjan Madugalle, from Sri Lanka, has been sent in as peace broker. Even more sensible. Still better, in the future, will be, if professionalism prevails, best practice cultural sensitivity (not damned lectures!) training, and other forms of handling personal pressure, animosity, and so on.
And What Of The Honor Of Grieving Former Sai Baba Devotees Worldwide?
But a judicial process or mediation is far more than Indian authorities have been prepared to do for the grieving families in India and far beyond who accuse Sai Baba of badly sexually abusing their young males. See, Corrupt Judges Stonewall Case Vs Sai Baba
For an example – which never fails to appal my legal friends! – of how a kangaroo court of Sai Baba partial judges in the Supreme Court of India can thwart some of India’s best legal talent (in Kamani Jaiswal and her team), see the notes of the case, whose provenance I am happy to disclose to reputable media and other genuine investigators, HERE. See also the article on P.N. Bhagwati, ex-Chief Justice of India that gravely questions his protection of Sai Baba, HERE
What then of India’s honor that is currently being shouted out across India?
Is Pawar a BCCI “Secret Swami” Man?
And what might we expect if Pawar assumes presidency of the ICC? Secrecy? Cover up? Refusal to be challenged on the Sai Baba nexus?
With the BBC terming Sai Baba as ‘the secret swami’, can we expect Pawar and the BCCI to maintain the secrecy surrounding Sai Baba and his intentions for international Indian cricket? The international media needs to question him hard on this, for most Indian newspaper proprietors have been too fearful to take on Sai Baba – although, since the excellent work of IANS (Indo Asian News Service) and repeated attention by major foreign media, this powerful censorship wall may be starting to crack. Perhaps India’s media proprietors begin to see how absurd it is for Non Resident Indians to freely read foreign media articles adverse to Sai Baba and yet there be, with an honorable exception like India Today, an almost total ban inside India on articles seriously critical of him. See, Indian Media’s Reticence on Top Guru, Sathya Sai Baba, Weakens.
This effigy-burning aspect of India relates to that part of India that is so ridden by anarchy, political manipulation of mobs, poverty, crime, corruption, nepotism, and casteism, and so often pretendedly democratic. It is the India which long ago Sai Baba promised to bring to ways of peace (shanti) and non-violence (ahimsa), before he left for other countries around the world, saying that he would first “clean up (his) own backyard”. Yet as recently February 16, 2007, in a so-called ‘divine discourse’, Sai Baba said, “I intend to undertake a world tour, shortly.” See, Wealthy Americans Prepare Mansions For “God’s” Visit
Sharad Pawar and his Board want his team’s word of honor to be taken. But – if sauce for both goose and gander – do not other countries wish their player’s word to be respected? If there is lying and false witness among players, then proper processes need to be convened. Pawar also wants to preside over world cricket. He needs, then, to be asked some hard questions about his and many of his team’s affiliations with Sathya Sai Baba and that guru’s own bid for world supremacy – not only in Sport but, with a devious sport’s stepping stone, to posturing himself to the world as its Savior of all Saviors who have ever visited the earth.