Spiritual gurus soft targets as no clear policy to secure them

Spiritual gurus soft targets as no clear policy to secure them
Team DNA
Tuesday, June 1, 2010 2:11 IST

New Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore: What kind of security are spiritual leaders provided? The question has assumed significance a day after a gunman shot at the convoy of Sri Sri Ravi Shankar near Bangalore on Sunday.

Tragedy at Mangalore AirportWhile the Art of Living founder has forgiven the gunman and invited him to his ashram, and the Karnataka police are playing down the incident as not a ‘targeted attack’, the issue of protection of religious and spiritual leaders, who move around freely among thousands of devotees and thus remain soft targets for miscreants, has come across as a concern for many.

Sources in the Union home ministry said there are no guidelines or norms to provide security to religious leaders. “The security is related to developments and is provided by the state governments as and when needed,” they said, adding that such attacks are generally the fallout of internal rivalries involving followers.

Buttressing the ministry’s point of view, a Delhi police source said the force had no trend of providing personal security either to such persons or to their establishments. “We do not provide security to any religious leader. Arrangements are made if the religious heads or their sects organise functions.”

The case with the Mumbai police, who have decided to re-examine the security cover to visiting religious leaders after the Bangalore incident, is similar. Currently, they have provision for Z plus security to two religious leaders — Nirankari Baba Hardev Singh and Sathya Sai Baba. As for the others, the police examine the scheduled places of visit and assess the threat perception.

“Each time a religious leader visits the city, we examine the level of security to be provided,” said Naval Bajaj, additional commissioner of police (Protection).

“Depending on whether the leader has recently been in controversy and the number of followers, we draw up a security cover that needs to be provided,” he added.

However, post the Pune bakery blast in February, the central security agencies, including the Intelligence Bureau, have been keeping a watch over spiritual centres across India. “The intelligence input gathered after the incident has created an additional burden on the security agencies towards providing security for seers and religious and spiritual centres,” observed an officer in the agency.

However, fool-proof security to spiritual gurus is not an easy task. In Karnataka, over 500 police personnel provide security to seers. But the proliferating number of swamijis and seers from each community makes it an onerous task.

Besides, spiritual leaders like to mingle with their devotees and brook no involvement of the police in gatherings. The alleged bid on Sri Sri at his Kanakapura ashram has exposed this vulnerability. He has Z-category security, say senior police officers.

DNA India Reference

AP Gets Rs 800cr From Centre

AP Gets Rs 800cr From Centre
Express News Service
First Published : 24 Oct 2009 04:03:52 AM IST

Chief Minister K Rosaiah seeking the blessings of Sri Sathya Sai Baba at Prasanti Nilayam in Puttaparti on Friday

Chief Minister K Rosaiah seeking the blessings of Sri Sathya Sai Baba at Prasanti Nilayam in Puttaparti on Friday


PUTTAPARTHI: Chief Minister K Rosaiah today said the State had received Rs 800 crore from the Centre towards crop insurance for the last Kharif season and an order was issued for payment of Rs 386 crore to the affected farmers.

Addressing a gathering at Satyasai Airport, the Chief Minister thanked the people of Anantapur district for their help to flood victims. At a time when the government had declared 981 mandals in the State drought hit, unexpected and unprecedented floods wreaked a havoc.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi visited the flood affected areas and announced an immediate relief of Rs 1,000 crore, he said.

Rosaiah who arrived here from Bangalore, drove straight to Shanti Bhavan enroute Sai Kulwanth Hall in Prashanti Nilayam. The Chief Minister touched the feet of Sri Satya Sai Baba and sought his blessings. Sathya Sai Baba gave a private audience to the Chief Minister in the Green Room for about 30 minutes.

Earlier, he was received by Agriculture Minister N Raghuveera Reddy, former minister JC Diwakar Reddy, ZP Chairperson T Kavitha, Anantapur Mayor R Parasuram, Anantapur MP A Venkatarami Reddy, Hindupur TDP MP Nimmala Kishtappa, TDP legislators P Raghunatha Reddy, Abdul Ghani, Congress MLAs B Gurnadha Reddy, K Madhusudhan Gupta, K Venkatarami Reddy, District Collector B Janardhan Reddy, SP MK Singh, Joint Collector Anitha Ramachandran, Congress leaders T Bhaskar Reddy, Y Visweswar Reddy and others.

Later, Rosaiah left for Bangalore.

Express Buzz Reference

Chief Minister to Visit Puttaparthi Tomorrow

Chief Minister to Visit Puttaparthi Tomorrow
Express News Service
First Published : 22 Oct 2009 04:22:00 AM IST

ANANTAPUR: Chief Minister K Rosaiah will visit Puttaparthi on October 23.

According to a official press release here today, the Chief Minister will arrive at the Puttaparti airport from Bangalore by a helicopter at 3.30 p.m. From there, he will drive straight to the Ananda Nilayam at Prasanti Nilayam. He will have a meeting with officials and non-officials in the district. Later, Rosaiah will the darshan of Sathya Sai Baba and fly back to Bangalore at 5.15 p.m.

District Collector B Janardhan Reddy instructed the officials to tighten security in the area in view of Rosaiah’s first visit to Puttaparti (the “Abode Of Peace” and residence of Sri Sathya Sai Baba) after he took over as Chief Minister. He asked the officials to erect barricades and ensure proper sanitation in the area. Penukonda Sub-Collector Praveen Kumar, DSP, DM&HO and officials of R&B and Fire departments met at Penukonda today to prepare the route map and minute-to-minute programme of CM’s tour.

Express Buzz Reference

The BPOs are calling Bharat

The BPOs are calling Bharat
MINI JOSEPH TEJASWI TIMES NEWS NETWORK , TNN 10 October 2009, 05:27am IST

College and an office job was 17-year-old Abhijit’s dream. But financial problems meant he had to join his father on the farm, helping to grow paddy Steep rentals and a high attrition rate in cities are why many BPOs are moving and sugarcane, collect fodder and sell milk. That became his life in the tiny hamlet of Baburayanakoppal, near Srirangapatna in Karnataka.

Until three months ago, when an abandoned rice mill in the village was renovated and became the office for a 100-seater BPO (business process outsourcing) unit.

Word was soon out in the village that there were jobs to be had. Though he neither spoke nor understood English, Abhijit decided to give it a shot. He applied, wrote a test, was taken in and trained. Today, he’s part of the Indian BPO army, once seen as an urban opportunity accessible only to educated, English-speaking boys and girls.

Abhijit’s employer B S Venugopal, a director of Mpro Solutions, says though the training takes time, it is worth the effort. ”We did not expect to find readily employable talent in rural areas. They are raw with no language or communication skills but eager to learn.”

A few weeks into his training, Abhijit tells TOI Crest in grammatically correct English, ”It’s not that a farmer’s life was a bad one, but farming doesn’t pay enough for a comfortable living. In my case, I had no education and didn’t think I could be anything other than a farmer.” Now as part of his job, he makes calls to prospective donors from a database seeking funds for NGOs. His salary is Rs 3,500 a month.

Abhijit isn’t the only one taking advantage of BPOs going rural. Even as many outsourcing firms based in cities put a freeze on hiring, many new units are opening up in villages and towns in the south.

Karnataka’s IT/BT secretary Ashok Kumar C Manoli says the companies are bringing technology and financial empowerment to rural youth. ”The idea is to create a rural BPO cluster , which can be integrated with similar projects across the country,” he says. ” We want to promote jobs for rural youth who have some computer knowledge and belong to small towns with a one lakh population. To start with, each of these centres will have 100 seats,” he adds.

Abhijit’s colleagues at Mpro – Mahesh, Jagadish , an orphan, Soumya and a dozen others – are also taking advantage of this economic transformation. But what will they do with the extra money? Abhijit wants to help his father buy more cows. His friends, too, want to help their parents out but they also want to buy mobile phones and bicycles.

”The initiative will change the economic fabric of the countryside,” Manoli says. BPOs will make youth in the hinterland financially independent as they did in the urban areas. They will have money for marriage, to pay off debts or buy sewing machines and cows. More importantly, it will stop the mass exodus of young people from villages to cities seeking employment, he says.

It is the cost of business in big cities – exorbitant rentals, steep wages, high attrition – that has many companies looking towards the village. Mpro Solutions is the first to become operational under the Karnataka government’s ambitious rural BPO scheme. The state plans to set up a hundred such units to create one lakh jobs in the next four years. A few weeks ago another centre was opened at Gundlupet, while two centres are being readied in Salgame and Shiggaon in Karnataka. Also in the pipeline are eight more in Sirsi, Huliyur, Chikbalapur, Hosadurga, Pavagada, Mundargi and Devadurg in rural Karnataka.

The state is rolling out the red carpet for those adventurous enough to go rural. It’s offering financial incentives of up to Rs 20 lakh and a per employee training incentive of Rs 10,000. Manoli says the response from entrepreneurs has been overwhelming. Infosys and Wipro, too, have shown interest.

Bangalore-based BPO company RuralShores, which already has a centre in Bagepalli, is in the process of entering rural areas in Tamil Nadu and Bihar. Xchanging, which acquired Cambridge Solutions, and Hinduja Global Solutions too are venturing into semi-urban places like Shimoga in Karnataka and Durgapur in West Bengal.

Other southern states too are developing business models to encourage private players to venture beyond the cities. Tamil Nadu already has rural BPO units and is planning another 100 rural units in the next few years.

Kerala is looking at a hub-and-spoke model. The government aims to set up 100 rural BPOs at the panchayat and district level in 14 districts over the next three years. The first rural BPOs have already come up in Perinad and Kadakkal in Kollam district.

Sai Seva Business Solutions, a rural BPO unit, was set up in Puttaparthi (the abode of Sathya Sai Baba), a couple of years ago by management students of the Sri Sathya Sai University. HDFC Bank outsources part of its work on data capture and profiling of new accounts to them. Tata Business Support Services has set up a BPO in Mithapur in Gujarat, near the manufacturing unit of Tata Chemicals.

A country-wide rural BPO drive is expected to create employment opportunities for millions of rural Indians, allowing them a share in the country’s $12-billion BPO pie.

Times Of India Reference

STOI remembers Vinayak Krishna Gokak

STOI remembers Vinayak Krishna Gokak
Rishikesh Bahadur Desai, TNN
2 August 2009, 05:45am IST

Even as the debate rages on whether Kannada should be the medium of instruction in schools in Karnataka, the state gets ready to observe the birth centenary of the man who mooted the idea. STOI remembers Vinayak Krishna Gokak — legendary scholar, writer, teacher, and institution builder. The occasion will be celebrated in Bangalore on Aug. 3 and 4 as well as in Dharwad on Aug. 9 and 10.

In his famous report, Gokak advocated primacy to Kannada in education and administration. But, he was also a Jnanpith Award winner, distinguished academician and inspiring teacher.

He studied the status of other Indian languages in states where they were spoken. “However, the report is not just about implementing Kannada in Karnataka. Gokak felt that all Indian languages should get primacy in their states,” says his student and Hindi poet Siddalinga Pattanashetty.

Gokak was born in Savanur village, and climbed his way up through hard work. In 1938, he became the first non-white pupil to top Oxford University in its 340-year-old history.

Gokak changed the course of Kannada literature by batting for modernism as early as 1940. He won the Jnanpith Award for the modern epic Bharata Sindhu Rashmi. He was among the few modern Indian academicians who produced creative literature in more than one language. He wrote poetry in Kannada and English and spoke with authority on literature in Marathi, Gujarati and Sanskrit.

“As a writer and translator, he introduced Indian values and culture to the West. As head of academic institutions, he implemented the best practices from around the world into Indian education,” recalls his student and writer Chandrashekar Patil.

His teaching is the stuff of legend. His student Surendranath Minajigi recalls in his book on Gokak: “He was a creative influence, a cult figure on campus and students imitated him.” He was so popular in Pune that students from other colleges attended his classes.

He was the founding spirit behind several prestigious institutions like the Central Institute of English in Hyderabad and the M N College in Gujarat. CIE was to set the template for teaching and research in English in India. He introduced value-based education in the Satya Sai Institute of Higher Learning, as its vice-chancellor.

Gokak committee and agitation
The Gokak agitation, demanding primacy to Kannada in Karnataka, was the first high-voltage pro-Kannada agitation after the one demanding unification of Karnataka in the 1950s. It started with the R Gundu Rao government failing to implement his report.

The Rao government formed the Gokak committee in 1980, after being criticized for its policy of regarding Sanskrit as the first language in schools. Gokak submitted his report in 1981 and recommended that Kannada be taught as the first language in schools. An agitation broke out when the government did not seem enthusiastic about implementing it. Though writers and Kannada activists started the agitation, it became hugely popular and glamorous when film stars led by Rajkumar joined it. The Kannada film industry struck work and stars led rallies across the state.

Life & times

  • Born in Savanur (Haveri dt) on Aug. 09, 1909
  • Joined Karnataka College, Dharwad after elementary education in Savanur
  • Won Daxina scholarship and Ellis prize for academic achievement
  • Completed MA English literature in 1931
  • First non-white to top Oxford University in 1938
  • Published first poetry collection in English
  • Started writing in Kannada under Bendre’s influence
  • Wrote 70 books that include creative works in English and Kannada literature, education, and contemporary thought
  • Awarded the Jnanpith for `Bharat Sindhu Rashmi’, an epic work of 35,000 lines on Indian cultural history
  • Served as president of the Bharatiya Jnanpith
  • Died in Bangalore in 1992

Time Of India Reference

Dr. Vinayaka Krishna Gokak (the first vice chancellor of Sathya Sai Baba’s university The Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning) related how one day he asked Sathya Sai Baba to come to his house for a meal. Sathya Sai Baba readily accepted.

Dr. Gokak was excited, cleaned his house, and waited for Sathya Sai Baba to come. Days and weeks passed. A year went by, Dr. Gokak began to think that Satya Sai Baba had forgotten.

Then one day, while sitting in front of altar, he noticed that the most prominent pictures were of a guru he had in the past and still had a fondness towards the pictures. Off to the side and hanging on the wall was a small picture of Sathya Sai Baba. “This is not right,” thought Dr. Gokak.

Remembering that now Sathya Sai Baba was the main focus of his devotion, he quickly changed the placement of pictures so that Sai Baba’s picture was in the centre.That very day, just after this seemingly small change occurred Sathya SaiBaba came to Dr. Gokak and said warmly, “Now I will come for the meal.”

When Baba visited Dr. Gokak’s home, he saw on the wall for the first time a portrait of an Indian saint, Shri Panta Maharaja of Balekundri, and asked about its presence there.

The Vice-Chancellor replied to Baba that the saint had been his father’s guru, and that he, himself, held the holy man in great reverence.

Sathya Sai Baba: “Have you a smaller portrait of him to carry when you’re travelling?”

Dr. Gokak: “No.”

Sathya Sai Baba: “Would you like one?”

Dr. Gokak: “Yes, Swami, very much.”

Sathya Sai Baba waved his hand, for a little longer than usual, remarking, “He is coming.” Turning the palm up, he handed the doctor a small enamel pendant. It bore a miniature replica of the saint’s portrait.

At another time, Dr. Gokak was to address a large gathering of Sai Devotees in the USA. Orator that he was, the crowd was expecting a heavy downpour of his resonant voice in meaningful words, but nothing came out for a minute or two. Dr Gokak could not believe such a situation he was in for the first time in his life. Suddenly he remembered Swami and mentally prayed to Him. And to his great surprise he found Swami sitting in the front row with smiling benediction. And then there was a torrential flow from the Professor providing a treat to the audience.

Book: Gokak, Vinayak Krishna, Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba : an interpretation / Vinayak Krishna Gokak Abhinav Publications, New Delhi : 1975

IIT will be established at Muddenahalli, says Moily

IIT will be established at Muddenahalli, says Moily

Chickaballapur June 2: Union Minister for Law and Justice M. Veerappa Moily on Sunday said that an Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) would be established at Muddenahalli on the outskirts of Chickaballapur.

Addressing a meeting of Congress workers here, Mr. Moily, who represents Chickaballapur in the Lok Sabha, said that he had discussed the matter with Union Human Resources Development Minister Kapil Sibal. Steps would be taken soon to set up an IIT at Muddenahalli, he said. During his election campaign, Mr. Moily had promised that he would strive to get an IIT established at Muddenahalli, the birthplace of the legendary engineer Sir M. Visvesvaraya. Muddenhalli is all set to occupy a prominent place in the country educational map. Visvesvaraya Technological University (VTU) has also drawn up plans to set up Visvesvaraya Institute of Advanced Technology (VIAT) at Muddenahalli.

According to Higher Education Minister Arvind Limbavali, foundation stone for the VIAT would be laid this month at the 200-acre plot identified for the project. Besides facilitating advanced research in various branches of engineering and technology, the VIAT would offer degree and post-graduate courses.

Further, the Puttaparthi-headquartered Sri Sathya Sai University is also in the process of establishing its campus at Muddenahalli. Sathya Sai Baba, the Divine Chancellor of the deemed University, laid the foundation stone for the new campus at Muddenahalli in February this year.

Mangalorean Reference

Providing Hope And Healing To Heart Patients

Providing Hope And Healing To Heart Patients
Dr Michael Nobel, chairman of the Appeal of the Peace Prize Laureats Foundation, had said, ‘I have never seen anything like this on earth. It is a wonderful feeling, far removed from the national healthcare in the West, which does not seem to work very well. The impressive thing about the hospital created by Bhagwan Sathya Sai Baba is the combination of the three aspects: state-of-the-art technology, free medical treatment and the healing powers of his presence instilling in the patient the firm belief that he or she will get well.’

The Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Medical Sciences’ super-specialty hospital in Whitefield, near Bangalore, offers free heart surgeries to people from all walks of life. Till date this hospital has conducted nearly four lakh surgeries, according to hospital staffers, who point out that there is no billing counter here.

The hospital’s mission is to ‘provide high quality medical care absolutely on a no cost basis to all irrespective of caste, creed, religion, and financial status in an overall spiritual environment which recognises the patient as a human being and not as a diseased entity’.

Each and every patient receives the same treatment
The hospital is situated on a sprawling 53-acre complex. A large number of patients, young and old, rich and poor, get their heart problems treated free of cost. Some treatments would cost Rs 4 lakh in other medical facilities.

Y Arvind, manager of public relations at the Sri Sathya Sai Baba Institute of Higher Medical Sciences, says that the list of patients is endless. ‘We have patients throughout the day and I must tell you that we are proud of our waiting list. We meet every patient and we never promise what we cannot deliver. But we only deliver the best here. The doctors meet and evaluate each and every patient who comes here. The cases are taken up for treatment depending on their urgency,’ he added.

Every patient receives the same treatment here, free-of-cost. ‘The idea is that each patient is at the same level and if you do not pay for your treatment, then everyone is on par,’ explains Arvind proudly.

The hospital runs on donations from various philanthropists and devotees
The hospital is equipped with a fully automated information system which takes care of the patient data. The hospital also maintains a manual record of the data.

The super specialty hospital, with a built up area of 3,54,000 sq feet, houses 333 beds, eight operation theatres, six intensive care units, two cardiac cath labs and a 24-hour emergency unit. This state-of-the-art hospital, with a dedicated team of expert doctors, is also remarkable due to its Indo-Saracenic architecture and magnificent gardens.

How does the hospital dispense free medical treatment to so many patients? All the funds for the hospital come from the medical trust, which in turn receives the money in the form of donations from various philanthropists and devotees of Sathya Sai Baba. Arvind explains that on an average, the hospital authorities spend Rs 50 lakh a month on surgeries, treatment, maintenance cost and staff salary.

Not medical counseling, but patient counseling
‘We are able to manage this thanks to resource optimisation. For example, we don’t waste paper. It is compulsory for anyone using a note to use both sides of it and not throw it away after writing on only one side,’ Arvind explained.

The doctors have been instructed not to conduct medical counseling, but to conduct patient counseling for every patient. The doctors draw up an emotional profile of the patient to figure out the route of his emotional imbalance. This understanding helps the doctors in keeping their patients calm, and studies have proven that a calm mind helps heal a patient better.

Sri Sathya Sai Baba‘s first initiatives in the field of medical care began with the Sri Sathya Sai General Hospital, Prasanthi Nilayam, which was inaugurated on October 4, 1956 as a 12-bed facility for serving the poor in Puttaparthi and the surrounding villages.

Free healthcare to all patients
The initiative was aimed at giving free healthcare to all the patients seeking treatment at the hospital. Soon, the hospital began to attract patients from all across Anantapur, adjoining districts and other states. Over the years, the SSSGH grew from a single room dispensary to a sizeable general hospital with 90-bed capacity, treating patients suffering from various aliments. The Out Patient Department in the hospital now handles nearly 600 patients daily on an average.

In 1976, a second hospital, Sri Sathya Sai General Hospital, Whitefield was inaugurated by Sri Sathya Sai Baba in Bangalore. He also founded the Sri Sathya Sai Medical Trust in September 1991, to set up super-specialty hospitals to provide quality medical care to needy patients irrespective of caste, creed and religion.

State-of-the- art medical care
The first venture of the Sri Sathya Sai Medical Trust, towards providing high-tech tertiary medical care, was in the form of the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Medical Sciences, Puttaparthi in November 1991. The institute provides state-of-the-art tertiary medical care absolutely free of cost to all those who came to its portals. This super specialty hospital treats diseases related to cardiology, urology and ophthalmology.

After the success of the super specialty venture in Andhra Pradesh, the government of Karnataka wanted Baba to start another super specialty hospital in Bangalore and offered 53 acres of land to build a super specialty hospital in its suburbs. The Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Medical Sciences, Bangalore was inaugurated on January 19, 2001.

Rediff News Reference