Sunday, June 24, 2007

How Gurus Clock $$$ In India

File under: Gurus Clockin' Dollars and The Siddhi of PR

The excellent just aimed us at this piece about the business of godmen in India. We found this passage particularly interesting:
...delegates pay Rs 5,000 each to attend the annual AOL festivities. This year, nearly 5,50,000 attended [for a grand total of 66 million dollars]. “You have to run it like a corporation to make it financially viable,” Sri Sri Ravi Shankar told TEHELKA in an interview.
Sri Sri is sync with the cha-CHING! But he's still an itty-bitty pipsqueak compared to Big Mamma:
“She is sitting pretty on an empire worth Rs 1,200 crore [294 million!] Amma runs high-power institutions through which big favours can be distributed to people who matter. The payment for a medical seat at her super-specialty hospital-cum-medical college is Rs 40 lakh [close to $100,000]. There would be concessions in the case of children of VIPs,” says U. Kalanathan, noted Malayali atheist. “Amma’s benefits are going to the devotees. So where is the question of this huge annual turnover?” argues Swami Dhyanamrita, a long-time Amma confidant.
And that is the utter beauty and perfection of this scam. If anyone questions where the money goes, you can always say, "right back to the devotees," whether it be tsunami relief or a palatial HQ accessed by your own helicopter.

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At 6/25/2007 1:51 PM, Blogger Sanjay said...

SSRS interview on Tehelka is a must read. You cannot imagine the insensitivity of this person without actually reading his words. Asked about farmers in some part of India committing suicide due to poverty and debt burden, SSRS has a unique answer:

Interviewer: Not too far from here, farmers are committing suicide.

SSRS: I want to bring to your notice there is zero percent unemployment in the country among the uneducated today. Plenty of employment is available. But there is nobody ready to work. If people are hungry today, it is because of their lack of initiative and laziness. If farmers are committing suicide, it is because of their lack of education in agriculture.

In other words, farmers are committing suicide due to their own faults.

Here is the full interview:


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