By: Gopal Alankar, Ph.D.
April 23, 2007
Inexplicably, what takes place in some areas of democracy is the very opposite of what democracy is designed for. Democracy and politics are interdependent. Politics is the vital process for the preservation of democracy but on a sore note it is also susceptible to manipulation. Politicians manipulate democracy for their devious needs. They adopt unethical means to realize their designs. The recent infamous incident that involved Puttaparthi Sai Baba is an instance of this manipulation.
It is a shame that politicians stoop low to seek the support of holy men to pursue their unscrupulous needs. Much more shameful is the willingness of some holy men to oblige for the unholy acts. Don’t get me wrong. There are many holy men who don’t touch politics with a ten-foot pole. They follow only the dictates of the Supreme God and never those of the mortal politicians. But Puttaparthi Baba obviously chose the opposite. He obliged and thereby brought on himself the wrath of Telanganites.
On January 21, 2007 at a felicitation function in Madras, Baba, the self-proclaimed living God, made the irrational statement that creating Telangana from Andhrapradesh would be a ‘Maha Papam (great sin)’ giving it a religious twist. Rumor had it that he did it at the request of the Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y.S. Rajashekhar Reddy (YSR). A few days before Baba made the statement, YSR personally met the Baba and requested him to speak against the separation of Telangana. He followed it by sending two of his trusted ministers to remind Baba of his promise before the function. The two messengers had a pow-wow with Baba and the living God agreed to utter the unutterable. Assuming that this rumor is true, it is beyond anybody’s comprehension why a God personified will bow in for sinister requests of humans.
Baba’s blabbering infuriated the protagonists of a separate Telangana. They went on a rampage. His effigies were burnt, his Shivam Temple was rampaged, and worst of all his dirty laundry was brought out of the closet.
Instantly the Internet became busy delivering websites that assailed Baba’s character and his divine claims. His proclamation that he is a living God was challenged. His assertion that he is the reincarnation of Shirdi Sai Baba was decried. “There can never be a reincarnation of a reincarnation. Borrowing the name of Shirdi Sai Baba is a sin,” said the Shirdi’s followers. His healing powers were belittled. “If Baba possessed the divine powers of healing the sick why does he then have a hospital on his estate?” exclaimed some. His powers of producing gold, pens, rings, and vibhoothi from thin air were assailed. “Why did he stop the tricks since a video recorded his acts?” queried some. His preaching that he is an Immaculate Conception (Pravesa) was ridiculed. “What does he think he is – a Jesus Christ?” fumed the Catholic devotees.
But the attack from the Telangana activists was sharp, forthright and convincing, and is summed up below:
“Sai Baba claims to be omniscience, omnipresent and omnipotent. How is it then he does not know the history of Telangana? Telengana was never an integral part of Andhra region. So the question of carving out Telengana does not arise. It was annexed from the erstwhile Hyderabad State against the wishes of its people. It was never a happy union and the time is now for an amicable divorce. Which is the Maha Papam – subjugation of hapless people by politically powerful Andhras or justifiable delinking of Telangana to its rightful state of original existence? ”
With the utterance of illogical “Maha Papam”, Puttaparthi Sai Baba has virtually written the obituary of his godly intelligence. Alas, all holy men are earthly mortals!
Gopal Alankar, Ph.D.