Just Call It Sri Sri Lanka Now
File under: The Siddhi of PR
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar has been busy lately indoctrinating politicians from Sri Lanka at his Bangalore Art of Living headquarters, and boy has he been effective. Take it from his newly-minted PRbot, Sri Lankan MP Jayalath Jayawardana:
"There is religious harmony (at the ashram). I met a Catholic teacher from Kerala. There are Muslim teachers, Catholic teachers, teachers from different ethnic groups. This is a novel experience I can take back to our country. There is some kind of distance between religious groups in our country," he added.It looks like Jayawardana drank 10-gallons of Sri Sri's Nobel Peace Prize Kool-Aid and he's pissing soundbites to order. We wonder what the quid pro quo is here. Perhaps Sri Sri offered to mention him in his Peace Prize acceptance speech, an international recognition sure to boost Jayawardana's profile at home. Or maybe he just stuffed some pockets with "donations" at the laundry.
"We have been leading a very busy life and a tense and stressful life. These three days we were able to learn how to lead a relaxed life. We have a demanding profession, especially because of the ethnic conflict. We have learnt how to be patient, how to be compassionate, how to be tolerant, how to be natural."
Jayawardana, who also heads UNP's relief and human rights committee, said more Sri Lankan MPs would certainly make it to the Art of Living Centre in the months to come.
Already a few of the nine MPs had decided to become vegetarian, he said, without revealing their names. "A couple have indicated to me they will give up alcoholic consumption."
The likelihood of Sri Sri ever giving that speech is on a par with his success at peacemaking so far. And with the Sri Lankan government still bombing the Tamil Tiger rebels and civilian population of northern Sri Lanka, Sri Sri's going to have to do a lot more than convince a few junket-whore politicians to favorably spout off about him to the press.