Back in 2001 one of my exposé colleagues raised the following question: "Can you suggest any parameters of economics, politics, social or cultural traits of life that should be undoubtedly improved to be clear indications that SSB's mission leads India to revival and welfare of the nation? May be we can use some UN statistics to see if there is any positive trend which can be ascribed to SSB influence."

At the time, I was already convinced of the truth of most of the allegations of sexual abuse by him (though many more surfaced in later years) and also that he could not possibly have not known of and condoned the execution by the police (who were under the control of him and his minions) of the four young men in 1992 who invaded th temple and caused him to flee. What I wrote in 2001 shows how my fuller disillusionment gradually set in:-
"The short answer is quite simply `no`, I`m afraid. UN statistics are mostly negative too... increase in population, black money, wife-burnings, attacks on minorities, child labour, bonded labour etc. My main sources on contemporary India were V.K. Narasimhan (who was, as you know, a celebrated journalist who started out with Gandhi) and another Indian V. Ramnath, who is a member of the exclusive IAS (Indian Administrative Service) - the top officials of the Indian administration. I had countless discussion about India with both of them, not least as I was trying to write a book on India in the light of Baba`s mission! The results were so negative that I gave up the project... it would have been a long tale of woe. This is also the predominant view among contemporary and independently-minded  historian-journalists like the writers N.C. Chaudhuri, V.S. Naipaul, Trevor Fishlock, Salman Rushdie and Mark Tulley. The class of 'brown sahibs' that took over from the British in 1947 were still trained in relatively harmless practices - minor corruption - but since increased voting puts more lower castes in power, all values have declined. The lower castes were never expected to be honest in India, it was the sahib class, the Brahmins etc. who were rulers and lawmakers. But with ordinary tradesman class in positions of power, all rules went overboard. Prominent Indians who have settled in the West have agonised over the near universal corruption, bribery and political/legal obstructionism dishonesty which rules there.advised against business involvement with India due to the tremendous corruption, bribery and dishonesty which rules there.
Sai Baba predicted changes and improvements on various occasions, from his first interviews with Hislop and onwards. Baba promised his students would be taking over in high posts etc. This has not happened and they have had no known or visible effect anywhere. Frequently - and in 1996 when I was there too - Narasimhan asked Baba why things were getting steadily worse and worse for the majority of the population, with morals, corruption, poverty and malnutrition. Baba replied it would take a long time + he was planning for centuries (which conflicts with what he has said on other occasions about expected improvements). Things are worse on all measurable fronts that might be thought of as Baba-influenced. After the 70th birthday Baba hinted in discourses at big improvements to come in India. He had probably discussed with the then PM, Narasimha Rao (since found guilty and imprisoned by the High Court for huge corruption) the changes he supposed would come - the investigation of corruption by the CBI and subsequent court cases against big names. The CBI did take action shortly after the 70th birthday against a long list of politicians, including the PM. But most of the cases failed and the opportunities for corruption only passed on to even less scrupulous politicians of lower castes after the removal of some Congress politicians. It took private investigations - at considerable risk - for an independent TV station to catch red-handed on video ministers of the present government involved in receiving black money... but this did not lead to prosecution so far and just convinced everyone that things are the same as ever. My one-time friend Ramnath was at a private dinner for Baba at a Central Trust member`s villa in Bangalore - and also at an interview. He heard Baba tell how the PM and Presidents of India completely ignored his advice... also that Indians have more money in private Swiss bank accounts than the entire national debt!
As to increased globalisation and the opening in 1994 of India to the World Trade Org., the overall picture seems blacker and blacker, comparable in many effects to the USSR. After the first flush of consumer goods and tv (mostly available only to the well-to-do) came in and technical standards began to improve (telephony at least). But the lot of the majority has got much worse! I am a great admirer of Mrs. Vandana Shiva, one the the really intelligent and most progressive persons India can show today. She is on the board of various official and less official organisatons, and is one of the most powerful spokespersons in the world on the dangers of runaway globalisation through free but one-sided trade for the vast majority of peoples in India and their cultures. She runs village projects herself too, besides being a speaker at the BBC Reith lectures with Prince Charles and doing major work in India`s research institutes. She shows, for example, how a small rise in the price of lamp oil can cause the collapse of a whole set of village economies and result in desertion of all workers, and then their families, to live in big town slums... a most terrible disruption of lifestyle and culture. This problem is increasing at a frightening rate in India, along with pollution, environmental disasters everywhere....
So, you see, I hold out no hope of showing any other improvements that Baba has brought about than in his localised projects: schools, colleges, hospitals and water projects. The water projects are admirable in intention and achievement too... even though the Rayalaseema water project was in real difficulties even before its completion due to bad contracting, no one who can run and repair it etc. Narasimhan told me & I have had contact with a (non-devotee) professor of hydrology in Andhra Pradesh, who confirms the difficulties (as David Bailey also found - at least he got that right!).
The quotes of Baba about the org. you sent are all well-known to me. I have for years been turning and twisting my brains to try to follow his advice (often with no aid or only opposition from the Org.) and make things fit together to run the centre in the true spirit of Baba as I studied it... until I had to realise that Baba says about whatever suits him for the circumstances - his whole teaching provides a broad a la carte menu of items which are either far too vague or, if not, often conflict wholly with one another... so everyone can find something they can digest and ignore the rest! A clever kind of `inclusive` teaching!
It is fairly clear that I am some considerable way further along the road of disappointment than yourself. I just can`t regenerate enough faith in Baba`s leadership any more to take a real interest in the organisation, except to recount and analyse my own experiences for the record.
Robert Priddy"

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