Sri Sri And Rohith’s ‘crime’: you can say anything with a knowing smile and get away with it

Kriti Kapoor

When you give the power of leeway to an offender, he is going to take advantage of it. Take the case of Ravi Shankar, the virtuous godman who’s done so much for our ecological ecosystems this past week.

From guiding the green court on how to rule, passing judgment on its decisions, helping out with the quantum and terminology of the “compensation” to impose, he’s now passing judgment on other social and political cases, while asking that nothing be politicised.

Since he’s always been such a good boy, never been late to school and all, he gets to point fingers at Rohith Vemula for being the “criminal” that he was. I agree it’s easy to politicise any matter. It’s equally easy to ignore, or completely obliterate the context of an event, as suits convenience.

Now if I were you, I would not take Ravi Shankar at his word, given how contradictory his statements have been. Claims about The Art of Living’s World Culture Festival held on the Yamuna’s floodplains this past weekend such as no trees being cut, no vegetation destroyed, “mud” used in construction of the stage and no debris brought in have fallen flat on their face.​
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Flattened crops
Flattened crops
Debris scattered to make walkways, against NGT orders
Debris scattered to make walkways, against NGT orders
The grand stage constructed using ?eco-friendly? materials
The grand stage constructed using ?eco-friendly? materials
The grand stage constructed using ?eco-friendly? materials
The grand stage constructed using ?eco-friendly? materials

Proud proclamations of the land left cleaner than before, after cleaning efforts by “volunteers”, which basically translates as picking up plastic and other waste, putting it in bags and dumping it elsewhere, have also failed to answer the larger question of how that will bring back the birds, grow back the reeds, restore the farmers’ crops and soil quality or recreate the water pockets that existed in the Yamuna’s wetlands.

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But then, if you’re one of the captive audiences of “blind faith”, perhaps you will easily have maligned Rohith Vemula in your mind, at Guruji’s word. Just as easily as you were swayed to cheer for the baba’s Nobel prize ambitions in a blatant show of strength on day 3 of WCF!

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Lakhs trampling the Yamuna floodplains in a vulgar celebration of ?culture?
Lakhs trampling the Yamuna floodplains in a vulgar celebration of ?culture?

I can understand how a sense of community, a sense of belonging to a group of ignorantly blissful people can swing such an opinion. To question a notion is difficult, beyond the limited scope of personal spiritual growth, but I so wish you would because everything is interconnected, and you never know when your silent compliance may come back to bite you.

I also wish Rohith had met Sri Sri. Maybe that would have helped in divorcing himself from his reality of being from a disadvantaged community, to calmly dissociate from his immediate caste identity. But who cares what the truth is? It seems you can say anything with a knowing smile and get away with it!

Kriti Kapoor is a Delhi-based media producer focussing on grassroots innovation and entrepreneurship.