Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Sri Sri Sides With The Rich And Well-Casted

File under: The Siddhi of PR and Sri Sri's March on the Prize

In a move that stands as a black mark against his Nobel Peace Prize chances, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar has sided with the monied and high born by standing against admission quotas by caste at Indian universities. It turns out most of India's poor are born into the low castes, leaving very few of them with access to higher education. The "reservation issue" appears to be about preserving a more equitable distribution of India's educational resources. Sri Sri's stand against this precisely mirrors the Republican fight against affirmative action in the States. Not very Nobel behavior if you asked us.

Watch as a PR wizard spins the issue like a top:
"Caste-based reservation will not end disparities in the society. While being born in any particular caste should not be a curse, reverse discrimination is not the way for justice"
Notice Sri Sri's deft use of the term "reverse discrimination." It throws a negative cast on the issue and attempts to turn the blame on the victims of caste discrimination for reversely discriminating against the discriminators.

It's another example of Sri Sri sticking his head in the sand for political benefit. One can only hope the Nobel Prize committee sees how transparently Sri Sri stalks notoriety in the form of the Peace Prize while playing to whatever political wind that blows in India.


At 5/25/2006 12:28 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It turns out most of India's poor are born into the low castes, and very few of them have access to higher education.
but did you know that a lot of those who use reservations are not poor, even though they are "low caste"?
in your quest for yet another blog entry denigrating sri sri, you have exposed your ignorance of the whole "reservations issue" (and maybe sri sri doesnt know much either, as reverse discrimination is but one smaller aspect of the problem). and how do you think he'll get political benefit from this - some publicity for his views, maybe.
u have gone overboard here, when he was somewhat right after all.

At 5/25/2006 3:05 AM, Anonymous taj said...


No aspersions on your knack for guru-roasting, but in this case your lack of knowledge of Indian politics is showing. If you had been watching even relatively closely, you would have noticed that this is really a big deal in India right now and that this is hardly a cut and dried issue. If someone has to be accused of pandering for votes, it would be the Congress politicians that have pushed through the reservations with basically zero analysis and research (because that would of course be real work).

Stick to your strengths.

At 5/25/2006 8:19 AM, Blogger jody said...

While I've never purported to know anything about politics in India aside from the observed maneuvering of the various big time gurus, it still seems to be a low vs. high caste issue from here.

At the very least, it's very similar to affirmative action in the states. Just because a few rich low caste folks are taking advantage of the system doesn't mean it's still not necessary to counterbalance centuries of caste discrimination.

At 5/25/2006 1:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

doesn't mean it's still not necessary to counterbalance centuries of caste discrimination.

Its the means to do that counterbalance that is being debated; most people agree that something needs to be done. doesnt look like sri sri is also against reservations per se. its all about how its done.

Sri Sri's stand against this precisely mirrors the Republican fight against affirmative action in the States.

sorry, no. at best, the situation in india can be compared loosely (at best) to AA in the USA. lots of uniqueness and history and not in the least vast economic differences between the two.
It just exposes your biases that you need to attack sri sri for being "republican".

At 5/25/2006 2:01 PM, Anonymous taj said...

Undoubtedly it's a low vs high caste issue, and yes it's superficially similar to affirmative action. It's your snap judgement of "a few rich low caste folks" that I took issue with in the first place. You don't know if it's a few, and neither does the government - they've done no research. Why would they? There are enough people who can self-identify as low-caste when it's convenient for them (for many people all you have to do is be born in a particular part of the country) that it will tip voting scales their way. All they have to do is pass a law requiring all government hiring and all educational institutions to take on 30% people of certain surnames.

Anyhow, I'm not any caste (we Sikhs are technically not supposed to recognize caste, though there are enough of us who fall in the "low caste" category when it suits us), so it doesn't effect me in any real sense. But snap judgements from afar bother me. There's enough of that nonsense going around in this country already.

At 5/25/2006 3:43 PM, Blogger jody said...

But snap judgements from afar bother me.

I appreciate the education, Taj. Most of what I've learned about the issue came from a quick review of what I could find on Google news.

As you say, it's a complex issue upon which folks are taking a number of stands. I may be shooting out of my ass, but it would seem to be a roll back rather than a roll forward to eliminate the reservations.

At 5/25/2006 3:46 PM, Blogger jody said...

It just exposes your biases that you need to attack sri sri for being "republican".

Oh, I have plenty of bias against Sri Sri. Check some of the reader comments on my posts. We've got people here who were close and personal and saw firsthand how Sri Sri gets down and dirty.

The guy is a world-class, self-promoting narcissist. And he's probably not even self-realized. Or if he is, he certainly hasn't absorbed it much so far, as far as I can tell.

At 5/26/2006 6:43 AM, Blogger ontheotherhand said...


Thanks for bringing the conversation back to the real issue -- Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. I don't care which side of the reservations issue he takes. What matters to me is the number of uninformed people ready to defend this deceiver. People who have met him, even spent a little time with him think they know him, and feel they need to defend him because they see an organization that is supposedly trying to do some good. He needs nobody to defend him at this point since he has such an enormous following. Even Wikipedia has said that the article posted about him is too biased to be considered impartial. Too much gushing about how great he is, I suppose, and not enough fact. When the facts about SSRS finally do come to light, it won't be the Nobel Peace Prize he's striving for, but rather his basic freedom. Then again, he can buy most anything, including the politicians and police who keep him free and clear of the law. Oh well, another day, another fake guru.

You said:
"And he's probably not even self-realized"

Ya think? Duh. If what he has is enlightenment, I don't want any. I already know how to be a liar, an angry person, a fearful person, etc. and so forth. I went to him in hopes of solving such shortcomings that come to nearly all humans. In him I found a cesspool of deceit covered with a sweet exterior and lots of nice words in public. So much for the Great Guru.

At 6/13/2006 2:43 AM, Anonymous gs said...

Only after seeing all these comments abt Sri Sri Ravishankar, i realised how sick human minds are...come on guys, don't be so narrow minded in ur outlook...dont behave like children in using dirty language against someone who has atleast tried to do something for the mental clarity of the fellow citizens unlike U PEOPLE WHO HAVE DONE NOTHING OTHER THAN COMMENTING ON OTHERS INABILITIES.. just like any other human being he has every right to voice his opinion..u should first of all understand that he is against discrimation of any sort.. & u ppl can also voice ur opinion without hurting the fellow humanbeings if ur really civilised..

At 6/13/2006 9:19 AM, Blogger jody said...

don't be so narrow minded in ur outlook

I suggest you open your own eyes and see that Sri Sri's "charitable" purpose is to increase his own name and fame as much if not more than to actually help anyone.

Some people get helped. So what. People get helped in all kinds of ways that don't require a self-aggrandizing fame junkie who likes to read about himself in the press.

At 8/13/2006 4:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jody. I do not have any love for the antics of Sri Sri but seems this time you are dead wrong. In the last 50 years or so reservation quota has achieved little more than creating enormous antagonism against lower caste for nothing. It is the poulists who are pushing it for low castes knowing fully well that it doesn't help them.

But I agree to your point that a 'spiritual' guru has no business to poke his finger in politics other than getting some news bytes.


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