An Interview with Professor Anil Kumar
Posted by robertpriddy on May 26, 2012
This is the concluding part of Professor Anil Kumar Kamaraju’s interview in Thailand continued from earlier recent blogs. He was asked:-
Comment: The version Anil Kumar says he ‘heard’ and holds to be authentic is quite different to what I learned from persons who were invited to a series of evening talks with Sai Baba at Kodaikanal in the summer of 1992 together with a large selected group of his students, some officials and VIP followers. These included my close friend, V.K. Narasimhan – the editor of Sai Baba’s journal Sanathana Sarathi – also Robert and Rita Bruce, the Danish industrialist Jørgen Trygved, Dr. John Hislop and other persons I knew). An Indian gentleman devotee related to the group how he had med Prince Charles at the Windsor Manor Hotel in Bangalore. The Prince of Wales took him aside and questioned him in detail about Sai Baba. He said he wanted to “have his darshan” (i.e. see him) but that his government would not allow it for reasons of security. Prince Charles was moving around South India without security problems at the time, so it seems likely this was a way of not telling what were far more likely reasons, such as the damage to the Crown if the future King and Defender of the Faith (of Anglicanism) were to be seen worshipful before an Indian miracle guru who made phenomenal claims of Godhead for himself and was highly controversial due to his supposed miracles!
Prince Charles was the target of a considerable campaign to get him to visit Sai Baba and if possible induce him into the ranks of Sai Baba supporters. This kind of attempt began in the 1960s by a Sathya Sai movement book importer in London, Manubhai Patel, who regularly sent books about Sai Baba as gifts to the Prince at the Palace. Later, a very prominent and privileged devotee, the Welsh classical pianist David Bailey (subsequently a major exposer of Sai Baba as a sex abuser and fraud), who performed for the Queen and also instructed Prince Charles’ sons in music at their school, was urged to invite Charles to see Sai Baba. This led to him being questioned at the airport when he returned from India by the British Secret Service – especially about the alleged Sai Baba sex abuses, of which Bailey had numerous sworn testimonies from the vistims who had approached him at Sai Baba’s college in Puttaparthi. (Listen to a taped phone call interview with Bailey here). The Prince of Wales’s architectural adviser, Keith Critchlow, was a devotee who knew Bailey well. He no doubt also asked Sathya Sa Baba if the Prince was welcome. Rita and Robert Bruce were present at an interview in which Sai Baba was asked whether Charles and Diana would visit him. He replied in the negative and said “they are a disgrace to their country”.
Further, V.K. Narasimhan told me during my visit there (Nov. 1996 to January 1997) to the 70th birthday that he had received a mail inquiry from Prince Charles about visiting Sai Baba, to which he replied on Sai Baba’s instruction. He could not divulge what Sai Baba had said, but he wrote to Prince Charles and reminded him that he had met him once when Charles was a young man attending a demonstration of fishing in South India. It was clear from what he said that there would be no visit by the Prince of Wales. (See from my notes made at the time about what V.K. Narasimhan wrote to Charles)
That Sai schools and hospitals were entirely free has been contested by a number of those who were asked to pay for entry or treatment. Devotees from various countries who donated sums to the Sathya Sai Trust were given preference over any poor people. See Sathya Sai Baba’s Super speciality hospitals as two-faced projects
As to the much vaunted water projects that Sai Baba is accredited with (though virtually all he himself did was to ask for funds in discourses) they have by and large proven to be a dismal failure, and the Rayalaseema project suffered from unpredicted much depleted ground water levels as well as corrupt entrepreneurs and unfinished pipeline etc. so that the Andhra Pradesh government had to take it over to save what they could. See Water projects in Rayalaseema and for Chennai – Sathya Sai Baba and Water scarcity and its cause according to SSB
Sathya Sai Baba education ventures have indeed given opportunities to the underprivileged, but also to the highly privileged (as Sai Baba picked out many the sons of prominent officials, judges, police chiefs, and VIP devotees for his colleges. See Sathya Sai Baba education. The level of education can only be said to be primitive compared to any modern Indian or Western university (rote learning, suppression of individual thought and opinion under enforced doctrines and much moral preaching. His ‘university’ (its status secured by pressure on devotees among the governing elite) does not rank anywhere in any comparative studies of universities in India or the world. Sai Baba’s teachings and education in academic isolation
Further, the entire Sathya Sai Central Trust was exempted from customs duty and taxation, which meant that the public purse subsidised them, as it also did for the energy used by all Sai institutions. Since his death, the Trust has been deprived of that subsidy and has gone begging with a public petition to try to pressure the government into re-financing it.