Dr Manmohan Singh is India's new Prime Minister.
By: Barry Pittard
If there were many references to his appearance at Puttaparthi, as is the case with leaders such as former Prime Minister A.B. Vajpayee, one may have to reckon with a new PM who is an old devotee. But references to any visit by Manmohan Singh to Puttaparthi are close to nil. Here is one relating to SSB's 70th birthday celebrations, in November 1995, attributed to The Times of India, Bombay, November, 24, 1995: Sai Baba gives Birthday gift to Andhra villages by Pushpa Iyengar, November 23, Puttaparthi: http://www.oocities.org/priyasai108/cd/achieve.htm
"The celebrations over the last 10 days have seen the presence of Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao, Union Ministers S.B.Chavan and Manmohan Singh, Lok Sabha Speaker Shivraj Patil, VHP Leader Ashok Singhal and BJP Leader Murli Manohar Joshi."
The then Union government PM Narasimha Rao, with whom Manmohan Singh (then Finance Minister) was closely allied in economic reforms, ended up in jail on vast corruption charges. Back numbers of Sanathana Sarathi show SSB as saying what a good Prime Minister Narashima Rao is! (He has thus flattered several Prime Ministers when they visited him, none of them angels in the least).
S.B. Chavan, formerly a powerful Home Minister, is the subject of a report by Robert Priddy http://robertpriddy.wordpress.com/2011/08/23/ - who relates that his close friend of many years V.K. Narasimhan, the great Indian newspaper editor, very close to SSB, told him that he was present when Chavan laughed and joked with SSB's younger brother, Janakiramaiah, when the June 6, 1993 police murders in SSB's private quarters were being vastly covered up by police and state and central governments, saying, "Dead men tell no tales."
Of Murli Manohar Joshi. More soon! One by one, they will be exposed....
This quote attributed to Manmohan Singh, unsourced but clearly referring to the same time, appears on: http://www.saibaba.ws/service/sssihl.htm:
The concept of Integral education that is a Divine gift of Bhagawan Baba to this Institute, comes closest to ancient ideals. Blessed indeed are the students who have had the privilege of going through an educational programme which combines deep appreciation of the method of modern science and technology and the ancient Indian knowledge and wisdom accumulated over the centuries. This type of education can be a powerful means of self-perfection and social redemption." Dr. Manmohan Singh, Union Finance Minister (Convocation, November 1995)
A lot will depend on whether this first Sikh to be an Indian Prime Minister will prefer the magnificent teachings of Guru Nanak or the economic spin-offs from the billions in foreign donations that accrue to India in the form of donations to the Sathya Sai Central Trust. Until recently, the Trust was the biggest single Indian recipient of charitable foreign donations. http://www.rediff.com/money/2003/aug/16donations.htm
There is another Sai propaganda report of this same occasion, Manmohan Singh is reported as saying:
In our own time, Bhagavan Baba with his emphasis on Dharma, right moral conduct, and the fundamental unity of human relationship is preparing humankind for the new universal civilization of love and brotherhood. The lamp lit by Bhagavan is no ordinary lamp. I am confident that the light it emits is powerful enough to reach every nook and corner of the world.”
However, a politician uttering platitudes and felicitations is not new, and comes with his/her territory. Andhra Pradesh has notoriously been a crucial electorate in winning or losing elections at the national level.
Manmohan Singh may not be a Sathya Sai devotee or admirer at all but simply smiling for the voters.
And why are references that link Manmohan Singh to SSB so old? Perhaps he is one of that expanding number of politicians and other prominent leaders who are excusing themselves from any connection with India's most questionable 'national treasure' - who is being unmasked by the intensive researches of increasing numbers of highly respected media around the world.
We shall soon find out what's what - and who's who....