New Statesman
Letters - Open questions
Monday 28th June 2004

It is excellent that Andrew Billen got the right message from the BBC2 documentary Secret Swami (The Back Half, 21 June). However, his wish that Sai Baba be confronted in interview is totally unfulfillable, as he is protected at top government level in India and only sworn devotees can get anywhere near him. He is heavily guarded by an armed security force, both openly and by undercover plain-clothes agents who are constantly present. Only two journalists have ever been granted interviews, and only one had anything like genuine questions, and that was long ago.

The donated-water projects that Billen mentions were not studied properly by the BBC, for they have largely failed to work (except for one at the ashram, which needed the water for its many visitors and donors from abroad).

Robert Priddy
Nesoddtangen, Norway

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