SAI BABA'S BIRTHDAY CELEBRATIONS
By: Robert Priddy
The Express network newspaper informs that President Kalam is to be the special guest of SB on November 23 and writes, "Prashanti Nilayam has been converted into a fortress in view of the visit of several dignitaries.
President APJ Abdul Kalam with Sri Satya Sai Baba
at the convocation of the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of
Higher Learning at Prashanti Nilayam. Photo: Newindpress
The entire town has been spruced up to welcome the VVIPs and barricades have been erected all along the route from airport to Prashanti Nilayam. With more than a lakh of devotees expected to descend on the town to to take part in the birthday celebrations ... etc. etc." (1)
A lakh is one hundred thousand, so claims of millions of celebrants have been dropped this year. Having seen massed Indian villagers (and ashramites) behaviour at the birthdays, I can but wonder what it is all in aid of. Coney Island type light shows, a roaring trade in Puttaparthi, famous dignitaries to gawp at (one has presumably seen the distant SB enough already?). There is a free meal to be had, perhaps, and even a ball of prasad in the human crush. What is the big purpose?
At the same time, Naxalites and Maoists continue a bombing campaign in Andhra Pradesh about which the world hears nothing. The Express Network reports on 22-11-02 : "One killed, 16 hurt in bomb temple blast" and "a bomb went off near the popular Sai Baba temple in the crowded Dilsukhnagar area". (2) Could it be that not everyone loves SB, as he claims. Not even in his own State?
In another article, this network reports: "According to local human rights groups, 174 persons were killed in polive "encounters" in the first 8 months of 1998."(3) Dozens of deaths have taken place in Andhra Pradesh in the ongoing guerrilla campaigns. (4)
The avatar who boasts he is turning India back into the spiritual leader of all nations has a conflict on his doorstep that is of Middle Eastern proportions. The intensive security around SB is hugely increased for the birthdays... it is the kind of terrorist target we have been well warned about... a gathering probably including up to a thousand or more foreigners from many countries of the world, hardly one of them a Muslim. Except the President of India, whose whole fame originates in his being the inventor of India's nuclear delivery vehicle. Hurrah for progress and SB's nurturing of human values!
(Attached three articles from the Express Network)
1. President to be the chief guest at convocation of Satya Sai Institute
2. 1 Killed, 16 hurt in bomb blast in temple
3. Peoples' War Group (PWG)
4. Naxals blast AP railway station, kill 8 Jharkhand policemen