Art of Living using the Anna movement for its own shameless self-promotion
Thanks to ABCD for sending us the following internal email.
date Fri, Sep 2, 2011
subject Anna Hazare
Dear friends of ABC & AOL,
As you know, the Anna Hazare movement against corruption, which recently happened in India, was an extraordinary movement, entirely non-violent and an example to the world.
What is less known is the intense,, behind the scenes involvement of the Art of Living movement and the essential role played by HH Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.
Guruji asked me to write an article on this role and gave me quite a few pointers.
It is important, for reasons that you may fathom, that this role be widely known around the world.
What you should do is adapt the attached article to the standards and outlook of your own country (for example in South Africa, a few added sentences on the inspiration of the Mahatma Gandhi on Anna Hazare), translate it if necessary and get it published in a mainstream newspaper and magazine.
It need not be publlished under my name, if you feel that yours or someone else would be a better passport and the fee for the article can be donated to your local AOL chapter.
You can forward the article to as many contacts within and without the AOL movement, who would be susceptible to get it published.
Please send scanned copies of published article to ABC central, Bangalore ashram (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Counting on all of you
François Gautier / Director Media ABC
THE TRUE STORY_ANA HAZARE .doc
40K View Download
THE TRUE STORY BEHIND THE ANA HAZARE MOVEMENT IN INDIA
Often, what we read in newspapers or see on television, represents only the
partial truth, or even sometimes a distortion of truth.
The recent Anna Hazare movement in India embodies one of the most
significant and extraordinary happenings in the history of the world: one
man, using only the tools of his own will power and without any violence
whatsoever, brought an entire government to its knees, forcing it to tackle the
cancer of corruption which is eating his country’s entrails. It is an example
for the world to follow.Yet, the whole truth has not been told: Anna Hazare
succeeded in part because he had the backing of well known spiritual leader
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and his entire Art of Living Foundation. Sri Sri Ravi
Shankar is one of the most popular figures in India and has a significant
following all around the world.
It all started on December 1st, 2010, in Delhi. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Anna
Hazare, and civil activists Arvind Kejriwal, Swami Agnivesh, Prashant Bushan
and Kiran Bedi,launched the India Against Corruption IAC) campaign. One
of the outcomes of this meeting was the first draft of the Jan Lokpal bill which
was signed by them and sent to the Prime Ministe of India. On the 5th of April,
2011, Anna Hazare began a fast unto death.
Before the movement, Anna Hazare’s support, was mostly in Maharashtra
(central India), his native state, but Sri Sri, as he is affectionately called, has
the backing of the largest middle class base in India – and he brought these
to the Anna Hazare movement, not only in New Delhi, the capital, but in all
the major cities of India, such as Bangalore, Kolkata, or Mumbai. Hazare’s
movement would not have caught fire as it did, without that all round support.
Another spiritual guru, Swami Ramdev, had also earlier canvassed support
for an anti corruption movement, logging nearly 100.000 kms in India, but
the police clamped down on his followers and he was forcibly removed. Sri
Sri Ravi Shankar, who benefits from a moderate and responsible image
with all political parties, including the one in power, went even further: he
personally travelled to more than 16 states across India to address hundreds
of thousands at Art of Living satsangs (public meetings) raising awareness
about the Jan Lokpal Bill and offering holistic solutions to tackle corruption.
The Art of Living Foundation, which is the second largest NGO in the world
(after the Red Cross), in terms of volunteers, many of them youngsters, also
brought to the Anna Hazare movement a badly needed structure: Sri Sri’s
volunteers quietly handled the security system in Delhi’s vast Ramilla grounds
where Anna Hazare conducted his hunger strike; some of Sri Sri’s key
lieutenants informally advised the Hazare core team and his singers provided
round the clock entertainment, singing patriotic songs to the crowds. This
came to the attention of the Media, which began to give extensive coverage to
It is also to be noted that Sri Sri Ravi’s Shankar’s support to Anna Hazare
was right from the beginning, whereas many of India’s celebrities rallied in
the end, when they saw how the movement had caught the imagination of
India’s youth and middle class. Meanwhile, the Art of Living which has 10,000
teachers in urban areas and about 50,000 yuvacharyas (rural volunteers)
in villages of India, each of them with thousands of students, continued
spreading awareness about corruption and its solutions and exhorted
people not to take or give bribes. Stickers saying “I don’t take a bribe’ were
distributed and enthusiastically pasted by Government employees all over
At a gathering in Bangalore recently, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar pointed out that
corruption exists at many levels, the first being in the minds of the
general public. “We tell God: if you do my work, then I will offer you this or
that. Let alone our bosses we don’t even spare God!” The next levels of
corruption, he pointed out, were at the official level and ministerial levels,
which the Lokpal Bill seeks to address. He asked people to develop a strong
resolve not to pay bribes, no matter how much discomfort it causes them
and bureaucrats not to take bribe. Hundreds and thousands attended these
gatherings and they all pledged to fight against corruption.
Finally and most importantly, Sri Sri saved the movement when it was on
the brink of disaster. Its back to the wall, as the Government was thinking of
forcibly hospitalizing Anna Hazare. It is then that he went personally to meet
the leaders of the BJP, who were originally hostile to the left-leaning aides of
Hazare, and convinced them to press for the acceptance of draft favorable to
Anna Hazare’s demands in India’s parliament. Mr Advani then met then the
Prime Minister, a draft was agreed upon. The outcome of Anna Hazare’s fast
was thus the passing of a 3 point resolution by both houses of the parliament.
The Art of Living continues to fully support Anna Hazare’s fight for a strong
and independent Anti-corruption authority, as the Government is seen
sometimes as backpedalling. Thus, the right hand man of Anna Hazare,
Arvind Kejriwal, publically thanked Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and his Art of Living
volunteers who united for this noble cause.
The author, correspondent in India for Le Figaro, France’s largest
circulation newspaper, for ten years, is the author of Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s
biography, “The Guru of Joy”, which sold 100.000 copies worldwide