More Sathya Sai Organization propaganda on village regeneration
Posted by robertpriddy on October 21, 2011
Among recent events reported by SSB official news were the Grama Seva 2011 Project (28.09 – 5.10) See http://www.srisathyasai.org.in/Pages/Announcements/CTPressRelease03aOct2011.html http://www.srisathyasai.org.in/Pages/Announcements/CTPressRelease03aOct2011.html and Avatar Decalaration Day (20.10) http://www.saibabaofindia.com/20th-october-Avatar-Declaration-Day-Sri-Sathya-Sai-Baba.htm http://www.saibabaofindia.com/20th-october-Avatar-Declaration-Day-Sri-Sathya-Sai-Baba.htm. These two events taken together lead to a question about the meaning of the Grama Seva Project.
As it was reported the Grama Seva as a project started in 2000, the most unfavourable year for Sathya Sai Baba’s reputation (‘The Findings’ by David Bailey and the failure of the so-called UNESCO conference due to their having withdrawn on account of the sex abuse allegations through direct reference to several of the accusers). In 2011 the Project covered 145 villages with about 350 000 houses in the areas around Puttaparthi, Bukkapatnam and Kottacheruvu (http://saiprema.wordpress.com/2011/09/21/prashanti-news-grama-seva-to-start-from-the-28th-sept-2011-christmas 2011/ http://saiprema.wordpress.com/2011/09/21/prashanti-news-grama-seva-to-start-from-the-28th-sept-2011-christmas-2011/). Volunteers distributed hundreds of thousands packs with rice, sweets and clothes. Of course the villagers were happy. But what is the deeper meaning of this service? What is a perspective for the villagers? 300 grams of rice and a dhoti once a year will not change radically their situation. Even if it has been done for 10 years. Apparently, there is even a special Trust for this project http://sathyasaigramasevatrust.org/inception.html” http://sathyasaigramasevatrust.org/inception.html. However, the latest reported activities are from 2006!
Many years ago it was claimed by Indulal Shah – backed up by the Sathya Sai Organization – that a project to regenerate 6000 Indian villages was underway. V.K. Narasimhan (one of the very few frequently outspoken persons very close to Sai Baba and in the know) informed me privately that the project petered out quickly after a large number of ‘delegates’ had been to the ashram for a few days of free lunches – it was in fact what Narasimhan called “a washout”, which ceased within the first year of its inception in 1985. This village project is still trumpeted as a divine success in Sai Organisation literature, information brochures and on web pages. Details of this project can be read here