Environment

Isha Foundation Responds to Subhashini Ali’s Article in The Wire

For the last 20 years, the same accusations have been going on without any substance. It is time that this pulp fiction ends.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Jaggi Vasudev unveiling the Shiva statue at the ashram. Credit: narendramodi.in

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Jaggi Vasudev unveiling the Shiva statue at the ashram. Credit: narendramodi.in

‘Meet the Tribal Woman in Coimbatore Who Is Standing Up to Isha Foundation’ by Subhashini Ali, was published on September 27, 2017. The article weaves one fabricated story into another to create a highly biased narrative against Isha Foundation. Below, we give readers the truth.

Muthamma

The article starts with the story of Muthamma, twisting a few facts to produce fiction. The fact is Muthamma is a tribal woman who worked at the ashram around 20 years ago.

In the article, the author claims that Isha Foundation illegally took possession of 44 acres of land that were assigned to the landless poor. Isha Foundation has never indulged in such activities. The fact is, Isha does not have any connection with those 44 acres of land in the area. All it takes is a local verification to reveal that this entire land-grabbing tale is false.

Muthamma has filed a case against Isha Foundation regarding allegedly illegal structures on wetlands at the Chennai High Court. There has been no illegal construction. Muthamma’s statement is false. The matter is sub judice.

Muthamma in an interview to Sathiyam TV which was telecast on March 3, 2017 has stated that there is no land for her people to reside in that area and there is no employment opportunity. That it is only for that reason that they have filed this writ petition. It is clear that a group of people are operating with a malicious intent to defame Isha Foundation.

Adiyogi statue and illegal construction?

Next, the article claims that the Adiyogi statue which was unveiled by the prime minister was built without permission. Here, we lay out the facts for you.

By associating the term “building” with Adiyogi, it wilfully accuses and defames Isha Foundation. Adiyogi is not a building but a 112-ft statue made of steel. It has been installed with requisite permissions from The District Collector, Coimbatore, The District Forest Officer, Coimbatore and also from BSNL authorities. Refer to the table below.

S. No. Date Authority

 

Ref No.
1. 29-09-2016            District Collector Na.Ka.6901/2016/E2
   2. 15-11-2016     DFO (Forest Department) Na.Ka.V1/5589/2016
3. 13-10-2016               BSNL             —

Regarding the supposed construction of Adiyogi on so-called wetlands, the revenue divisional officer and the superintendent of police, Coimbatore called for reports on the land and scrutinised them. The district collector inspected the land and gave a ‘No Objection’ for the said land to be used for non-agricultural purposes. This was granted after ascertaining that there were no standing crops nor any cultivation in the pertaining field for three fasli years.

The article makes false statements about Isha Foundation illegally constructing many buildings. The fact: all the buildings of Isha Foundation have been approved. A technical clearance has been obtained by the Directorate of Town and Country Planning.

Pollution of Noyyal river?

The article alleges that Isha Foundation is polluting the Noyyal River. Actually, Noyyal flows nowhere near the ashram. Isha Foundation has neither blocked nor polluted the Noyyal, nor the small stream that does flow nearby the ashram. The district agriculture engineering department, public works department and revenue department have inspected the entire land holdings of the ashram and the course of the stream several times, and there have been no negative reports.

Elephant corridor?

The article falsely claims that the ashram is built upon an elephant corridor. It is a futile attempt to establish an elephant corridor where there is none. The principal chief conservator of forests (PCCF) himself has categorically stated otherwise. Officials from the Tamil Nadu forest department have verified that Isha Yoga Centre is not constructed on forest land or an elephant corridor. It is constructed on 100% patta land. (Read about the RTI and response from the PCCF here.)

For the last 20 years, the same accusations have been going on without any substance. It is time that this pulp fiction ends. Every concerned authority has looked into every aspect of the foundation and the foundation has come clean of these fictitious allegations.

Rahul Dubey is a volunteer with the Isha Foundation

  • Anjan Basu

    This disclaimer proves nothing. It even means very little. Why does Rahul Debey take it into his head to believe that when it comes to his word against Subhashini Ali’s, the readers will believe his rather than Subhashini’s? Subhashini Ali has years of public service behind her and, deservedly, she is held in respect by a wide spectrum of people. The Satguru, like any other self-styled godman, is essentially a power broker. The Wire’s readers would know better than falling for Isha Foundation’s manipulative tactics.

  • Anjan Basu

    Without joining issue with you, may I ask you to please look at the overwhelming majority of reader comments posted here? A cursory look will tell you what most ‘rational, open-minded persons’ think about the poor defence mounted on behalf of the Isha Foundation. I am not alone in thinking that our fake godman, who abuse our political-economic powers structures with impunity, need to be junked for good. For they are serving nobody’s interests but their own.

    • RAVINDER YADAV

      Your own opinion reflects how much you are open minded…and you people have this habit of declaring self as rational and others as biased nd fool…self proclaimed free thinking people

      • Anjan Basu

        Yes, of course, I consider myself a rational man. I don’t know anybody who thinks of himself/ herself as an irrational person. Do you? And I don’t think I called anybody a fool, here or anywhere else. I do think of some organisations as being parasitical, surely — Isha Foundation is one such — but I never thought they were foolish. Being able to manipulate the system demands that one is anything but a fool.

  • Anjan Basu

    Of course I wanted to make my intentions, and my position on this issue, absolutely clear. Why should I beat about the bush? ( You need not, either.) I believe the Isha Foundation leads a parasitic existence and that all preferential supply lines ( of money, of ‘statutory’ approvals, of government patronage and so on) to the Foundation should be choked fully, and now. It is another matter if it will happen or not, another matter that some of us will continue to delude ourselves that men like Jaggi Vasudev are doing us all a great deal of good. Well, a lot many people thought the same was about some other Babas as well, but look at what happened to them. Mark my words: sooner or later, the truth will catch up with the likes of Isha Foundation as well.