More birthday reports
At a heavily guarded gate at the Sathya Sai Hill View Stadium, an elderly man is halted by the volunteers. “Sai Ram, this area is marked for VIPs. Who are you? VIP or delegate?” asks a volunteer. “I’m a VIP,” goes the man, deadpan. At 4.30 am, that’s not the kind of existential exchange you want to overhear.
True enough. The need for VIPs or delegates (to delegate what, exactly?) at an 80th birthday party is enough of a puzzle. Here's another one from Newindpress:
In the last few decades, he has built a vast empire worth billions of rupees transforming the small village of Puttaparthi, his birthplace into a modern town with a state-of the-art airport, education and health facilities.
At least here we have an editorial statement that acknowledges the billions that have been spent to construct a township. Later:
His birthday every year is an occasion for his devotees to seek blessings and shower costly gifts on him.
No kidding, I wonder what he got this year. A new Mercedes? Perhaps a Jaguar? A rare Ferrari Enzo?
Organisers claimed that a million people, a majority of them clad in white, participated in the celebrations.
What's a milion divided by 10? 100,000. Whispers from Prashanti indicate that the propaganda machine tends to bulk up the figures by multiplying them by ten.
He used to perform miracles like producing gold out of thin air but about a decade ago he stopped performing miracles in the wake of a controversy.
Rationalists have challenged him to prove his miracles in their presence and have accused him of cheating people.
We can be generous enough to acknowledge a journalistic error with regards to the statement of halting miracles a decade ago, without considering of the miracles were genuine in the first place. However, it is heartening to notice than even in an article that is a supposed celebration of a "public" life, the facts about controversy will always out and be present as a black mark on Sai Baba's white birthday robe. :-)
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