A few days ago we published a report on Basava Premanand’s deathbed statement, in anticipation of the lies that usually follow the passing of great men of reason. Not to be undone, the liars are at it again. A blog dedicated to the conman, fraud and alleged rapist Sai Baba has begun the work of misrepresenting Premanand’s legacy. The first thing to remember before analyzing the events here is that such declarations as made by Premanand are a precautionary measure against exactly the type of attacks that we are seeing from these folks. The second thing to remember is that Premanand was one of the most influential critics of Saibaba. Keeping these two things in perspective, let us take a look at the facts.
The argument made in the article relies on the accusation that Premanand was not of sound mind when his deathbed declaration was made. The implication being that he was coerced into signing it. They then use this to associate Premanand with someone who was a known psychic, claiming that this association meant that Premanand may have actually believed in the paranormal. Let us begin with the primary assertion that Premanand was forced into signing the declaration.
To make this assertion, the article points to facts that are clearly stated in the article we published. But in addition to the facts we have stated, the article makes factual assertions that the writers have no way of knowing. In essence, they lie. Here is an excerpt of their claims:
First and foremost, the “deathbed declaration” attributed to Basava Premanand was NOT authored by him. The “deathbed declaration” was written for Premanand by Indian Rationalists who got him to scribble his signature on it when he was:
Actively dying of metastasized cancer.
Drifting in and out of consciousness.
Barely able to speak.
In a hospital.
Unable to write due to weakness.
Too weak to sit up in bed.
“On his deathbed” (as described by nirmukta.com).
Consequently, Basava Premanand was not “sound of mind” on September 20th 2009 when he scribbled his signature on the “deathbed declaration” (which he did not author as falsely stated in the letter). Basava Premanand’s signature was obtained with assistance and the signature was so illegible, a thumbprint had to be used. It is also significant to note that Basava Premanand had very poor vision and could not read without his glasses on. Premanand scribbled on the letter without his glasses and did not look at the place where he was signing (as confirmed by the picture above), which resulted in a completely illegible “signature” (see enlarged signature below):
We made no attempt to conceal the physical condition of Premanand. What the critics are attempting to do here is to equate Premanand’s physical illness with mental sickness. This is dishonest, not that one would expect any better from Saibaba’s goons.
Not only do the Saibaba followers falsely posit to know what Premanand’s mental capacity was at the time, they actively spread lies to distort the truth. Nowhere in the article that we published was it claimed that Premanand authored the statement. Saibaba’s people are lying when they say that we claim Premanand authored the statement. Here is the relevant portion of our article:
The statement reproduced herein was put for his signature. But, his hands were weak and hence we had to take his thumb impression too. The declaration has been witnessed by Dr. Maya Prabhu his sister and Suneera one of his admirers who has been taking care of him.
The statement was approved of by Premanand in the presence of witnesses. If this is unacceptable to Saibaba’s squad of rationalism detractors, then they must also discount the vast majority of signed declarations in the world. This sort of thing is so absurd that it is obvious the Sai-sheep are clutching at straws here.
This deception and banal rejection of common sense is appalling in itself, but it gets worse. The guru-grovelers have a more elaborate conspiracy theory to ‘explain’ why the deathbed declaration was made. As usual, this ‘explanation’ has nothing to do with Premanand, or with reality for that matter, but with debunking a well-publicized string of rapes that Saibaba has allegedly been systematically committing over the years. In order to defend their fraudulent boss, they resort to the oldest trick in the book- smearing the opposition. Here is how this plays out:
First, they make this claim:
It would appear that Indian Rationalists attempted to counter information that strongly suggests Basava Premanand may have entertained beliefs in the paranormal.
What information do they have to say that Premanand “may have entertained beliefs in the paranormal“? Here it comes… Premanand once published a book written by a known psychic, Conny Larson. The book? “Behind The Mask Of The Clown”, a behind-the-scenes look into Saibaba’s web of deception. Wow, what convincing evidence!
This sort of reasoning is so childish that it surprises me every time when employed by adults. The best way to represent this idiocy is through analogy. Let’s say a Nazi agent who is guilty of some crimes against Jews wants to publish evidence implicating Heinrich Himmler in the murder of thousands. If X published the Nazi agent’s book in order to bring down the monster Himmler, the Sai-followers would claim that X sympathizes with the crimes of the Nazi agent and believes that Jews are an inferior race. Therefore, X is guilty by association and Himmler is not guilty of any crimes. This is, in essence, the childish logic that the Saibaba followers use to make their argument.
It should be noted that these Saibaba goons are thugs of the worst kind. Online, they form a network of propagandists intent on whitewashing the terrible crimes that their chosen idol has committed. Their strategy is to go after anyone telling the truth about what takes place behind the scenes. Most of those campaigning against Saibaba are ex-devotees. They comprise a very vocal community online- a community that threatens the conman guru and his flock of gullible fools. Sai’s online intimidation machine uses the most underhanded tactics to discredit these opponents of Saibaba. The conman’s online staff has a series of blogs setup to discredit each of these opponents and thus detract from their message.Their strategy consists of monitoring the individuals closely, accusing them wildly of everything from sexual deviance to drug use and alcoholism, and harassing them online and off. There are also accusations of murder and physical violence against detractors.
The opponents, often very distinguished people who were once believers in the conman, have their own blogs and websites. Here are a few of the excellent sites maintained by those who have made it their life’s mission to expose the crimes and deceit of Saibaba.
For the record, if this person Conny Larson is indeed claiming to be a psychic, then it is possible that he is a conman as well. Or perhaps he is simply deluded. But does that make his claims that Saibaba repeatedly raped children any less serious? The Sai devotees would like you as a rationalist to be diverted by the fact that Larson is a superstitious believer, so that you won’t focus your attention on the alleged crimes of their boss. In the process, they are trying to portray Basava Premanand, one of the greatest rationalists and debunkers of superstition in modern times, as a believer in the paranormal. Not only is their line of revisionist reasoning absurd, but they are now making new enemies in their quest to suppress criticism of their beloved charlatan. One thing they will not be able to ignore is the progress of science and rational thinking. They will try to intimidate and distort their way online, but as more people get educated in India and the tools of reason become available to all, such superstitious nonsense will become less and less relevant.
Here is a BBC video on the story of Saibaba.