Indian news media are remarkably silent about the 86th birthday anniversary celebrations of Sathya Sai Baba on 23rd November. None of the major newspapers have coverage of the event, though the Hindu has a brief article. Even the official International Sathya Sai Organization website (http://www.sathyasai.org/) was not updated after 21 November this year, and has no mention whatever of the event! That is surely a very telling sign of the state of affairs, if ever there was one. Search as one may, the Indian news outlets on-line have nothing substantial whatever to offer. That the 86th celebrations were very far from being anything remotely like the best days of the past is evidenced by the content of the main Sai Baba propaganda websites – such as saibabaofindia.com, where there are videos but where one sees no sign of real crowds other than all those involved in Sai Baba schools, colleges and other institutions dependent on the Central Trust. The videos show a mostly po-faced or scowling Sai Baba endlessly swinging on his joola from the distant past… interspersed with the empty joola swinging this time, accompanied by the musical group at the celebrations. Saibabaofindia.com carelessly labeled its page absurdly (as is their style) as “Sri Sathya Sai Baba Birthday celebrations in prashanthi Nilayam puttaparthi India and all over the universe”
The propaganda machine now apparently under the overseership of Ratnakara, the nephew of SB who won the battle to be the main holder of the Sai Trust purse strings, is continuing its disinformation. As ‘The Hindu’ remarks (see below) “scores of devotees” thronged the 86th celebrations, while Ratnakara mendaciously expands this to 75 thousand! One can see (image here) the main celebration was held in the Kulwant mandir, which holds less than 10,000 when jam-packed! The Hindu also wrote: “The Tamil Nadu Governor, Konijeti Rosiah, who was the guest of honour on the occasion, said that Puttaparthi was a holy place as it was proved beyond doubt with the very presence of millions of devotees across the globe.” One can but laugh at that kind of imaginary proof, especially today when Sai Baba lost credibility even with so many Indians when he died prematurely of such causes and was found to have been a private miser and hoarder! ”The Hindu remarks that he “sought to allay fears of decline in patronage” – exactly, this is the main agenda now, a vain agenda! His vanity depends on the position he now has whereby he is largely responsible for how well the ship sails… which also explains his great reticence in publishing details of the donations received – the obvious great drop in these from abroad – at the very least – would be damaging to him too. His policy is typical of the way the Sathya Sai authorities and Organization have always operated… faked multiplication of numbers of visitors, devotees, groups, centers in every instance. No independent head count has ever been made to check a single one of these claims. For a Sai group to become an official ‘centre’ it only has to have nine members! Some centres only have 9 members spread out over a large geographical area, even a whole nation! This indicates adequately what lies behind the boast that the organization has centres galore in hundreds of countries!
The Sathya Sai Organization (which is quite separate from the Central Trust with its money bags) is truly negligible compared to other such international bodies in terms of the volume of its charitable, voluntary works, except possible in parts of India. Once the number 60 million followers was established in some media, the lie has persisted – even though some media have reduced it to 30 million (with not a figment of proof one way or the other). Only because of the laxity of modern, ever-more-impoverished newspaper journalism and their reliance on press releases did the misinformation machine have such success in deceiving world media about the true numbers involved. The Organization used to report such vastly exaggerated figures as “three million visitors” to the 70th birthday (actually not more than 500,000). Now it is down to 75,000… which is itself wholly unbelievable. Not a single remotely famous or more consequential person was present this time either.
One of our most incisive and well-informed commentators writes:-
Yes, on TV9, the Kannada State broadcasting station, you see more police than devotees in the streets of Puttaparthi. Nonetheless, the 86th birthday celebrations of His Late Greatness are channeled larger than life by His only active voice, Radiosai, and portrayed in all their lavishness and money spending splendour through accompanying videos. In the afternoon of November 20, infamous husher-up-of secrets and head of the international SSB Organisation, Dr. Michael Goldstein, resurfaced, as he held a speech in the Sai Kulwant Hall. One of his topics? The TRUTH, no less…