(Did you notice the extra Ji at the end of my title? nice, hay?)
And the day before the official announcement, AOL people were expecting the NPP to just fall on SriSri’s lap. These kind of emails were circulating:
Friday, 7 October 2005 -Dear All,Jai Guru Dev!Tomorrow at 11am (Oslo, Norway time) will be the announcement we have all been waiting for. Attached is a media release. Please feel free to copy as you like.
Ever pleasing Francois Gautier (SriSri’s puppet journalist) even prepared this press statement for AOL centres:
*** It is with great pride that we receive the news that His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar has been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for 2005. His Holiness has been working tirelessly for bringing peace in the lives of people for the past 25 years.
Attempts to bring peace in society have been largely confined to the realms of economics and politics and have often missed the spiritual perspective. That’s where His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar has been making a difference. Using his globally acclaimed breath-based stress-elimination programmes, he has been able to promote a stress-free society as the only permanent antidote to terrorism and violence.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar has not only motivated thousands of volunteers to action towards peaceful co-existence, but also traveled extensively to strife-torn places to heal the wounds of victims and calm the aggressors. Thus he has been able to bring together people from opposing opinions. From Kashmir to Kosovo to Israel, he has worked to create a desire and drive for peace among the people from both sides of conflicts. A case in point is Sri Sri’s all inclusive pan-Kashmir approach to promote collective peace in militancy-hit Kashmir Valley, where within a short span of time, he reached out to all sections and rallied them together to create an atmosphere of mutual trust and dialogue.
This award will help encourage people to set aside all barriers of caste, creed, race, nationality and religion and join Sri Sri’s ceaseless crusade for peace. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar hopes that the recognition bestowed by this award will go a long way in realising his vision of a stress-free society.
It could not have come at a more special time when the Art of Living Foundation is gearing up to celebrate the completion of 25 years of service to humanity. Though this event will be feted throughout the year in major cities around the world, the main celebration will be in Bangalore, India in February 2006. Heads of governments, spiritual and other leaders from all over the world will come together at the event, …………..
What a laugh! Sri Sri’s own press office in Bangalore Ashram were so sure about Sri sri receiving NPP that they sent a press kit to all centres, even releasing Guruji’s statement to them, all ready to go:
We are delighted to learn that His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar has been awarded this year’s Nobel Prize for Peace. The first ever Indian to win this accolade, His Holiness views this as an affirmation of our country’s long-standing spiritual ideals of knowledge, non-violence and harmony......
Very humble acceptance statement, don’t you think so?!!(Esp knowing he had got it prepared beforehand!!!)
And just to be sure no enthusiastic devotee published the above statement before the official announcement from Norway, they added these warnings to the emails:
...Please note that the statement by the Art of Living Foundation will be shared with the press only after the NPP commitee makes the announcement.
... NOT TO BE SHARED WITH MEDIA UNTIL THE OFFICIAL ANNOUNCENT.
So funny, don’t you think so?! They sure were salivating waiting for the news & most of it from SriSri himself.
And what a shame that all that preparation came to nothing when the next day, NPP 2005 was awarded to the International Atomic Energy Organization & not to SriSri !!!
And before the national coordinators had a chance to breath , after all the work they did for NPP 2005, they received the new directive from Sri Sri through the same project team:
After several consultations with Guruji, we are very delighted to once again invite all colleagues in the NPP project network to embark on a fresh undertaking: to put forward Guruji’s candidacy for the NPP 2006. Guruji’s message to us all is that we should not not lose heart in not making it to our goal this year. Instead, the challenge is for us to strive and persevere with more dedication and creativity in the cause spreading his living legacy of peace. We have learned so much from our past NPP project experience, and we should continue to put to bear our 100% efforts on the noble aim of calling the attention of the whole world to the great works of Guruji.
………..We know that the NPP is a “Euro-centric” political process and we are calling on all European NPP Coordinators to re-double their efforts to secure many more NPP nominations from Europe.
No!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Not again?!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Do we have to go through all that again?!!!! Yes, Sri Sri wants a NPP. Can we just give one to him ourselves, to make this megalomaniac happy? No, he wants the one from Norway!! Can we buy him one?!! Well, that is what we have been trying to do & continue to do, ie buy influence!! I wish buying a NPP for SriSri was at easy as buying some stamps with his pictures on it & saying Govt of that country issued them in his honour!! It would have saved all of us so much time & effort!
So here we went again. There were new set of orders from top echelon to win NPP2006:
Last year, we were not able to secure a single nomination from “peace research institutes and institutes of foreign affairs”, as a category of eligible nominators. This year, it should be our high priority to get nominations from these institutions.
Unlike last year where our efforts to secure nominations were concentrated in the month of January, this year we must come up with the needed nominations by end December 2005.
Nominators who agree to write a nomination letter for Guruji will be given assistance in drafting their letter if so requested. Attached to this email are a list of points, duly noted by Guruji, which our nominators can choose to highlight in their nomination letters. Please study these points carefully and consider which ones can be personally endorsed by a nominator whom you have approached. As in the past, drafting assistance will be extended to NPP National Coordinators by members of the International Coordination Team.
…So let us please quickly, discreetly, and with renewed enthusiasm re-launch our NPP campaign. Guruji has given his blessings to each and everyone of us. This round has to be the final round!
The NPP project international coordination team will immediately contact all coordinators by phone for consultations and follow-up.
(Please note Guruji’s secretary’s name, Jaina, appears at the top of SriSri’s NPP project team list.)
We were all wondering, didn’t His Holiness, Himself , bless the project last year? So what was the use of his blessings?!! And if no good last year, what good it would be this year?!!
Only if Norway Noble Committee knew what we had to endure to get this guy a NPP, surely they would have shown some compassion & just give it to him. Just for one year!! That is all he wanted, to be known as the winner of NPP, so he could get more money from George Bush & alike to build his real estate business. What is wrong with that?!! Just another title he could add to his name. Why Oslo Noble team couldn’t get it that this guy was GOD; that he could add any title he wanted to his name. So he was really giving them an opportunity & a great honour to confer Sri Sri the NPP title & earn good merits! What an honour would be for Nobel committee if SriSri got NPP!!! They didn’t think about that, did they? Silly silly boys! As Gautier would have us believe, it would have increased the integrity of NPP so many folds if it was given to Srisri!!! Right Francois?
And if NPP could have been bought by cash, that would have been no problem either. SriSi may be short of integrity & honesty, but not short of cash!
To be continued....