Damage to Yamuna floodplains: Art of Living responds to Firstpost article on NGT row

Editor's Note: On 20 April, 2017, Firstpost published an opinion piece by Sandipan Sharma titled 'Damage to Yamuna floodplains: AoL's Sri Sri Ravi Shankar needs to shed his ego and learn the art of apologising'. The context was Ravi Shankar's statements blaming the government and the National Green Tribunal (NGT) for permitting his NGO to hold the World Culture Festival on the Yamuna river bed, NGT slammed him and said that the founder's statement was shocking. Neema Kamdar, Director, The Art of Living Bureau of Communications has sent a rejoinder to the piece. We have produced the letter in its entirety below.

The Art of Living would like to respond to the facetious article by Sandipan Sharma on the Art of Living founder, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.

The article is questionable from all possible angles. He offers no insight whatsoever into his reasons for deciding that Art of Living should apologise. If anything, his reasons are limited to the fact that the “expert panel”, which is a disputed entity, has given a report to the National Green Tribunal and the NGT has passed some comments.

File image of Ravi Shankar.

File image of Ravi Shankar.

There is not even a cursory look into the proceedings of the NGT hearings that have gone in our favour. There is no understanding, of what has transpired in the past. There is no presentation of our say versus that of the petitioners. It does not offer any facts from our 200-page report; it does not point out the loopholes in the “expert panel” report or even the basic fact that the report was not even signed by the head of the panel, among other things.

There is no real information or real opinion. The writer has chosen the easy way out by reiterating the baseless noises made by vested interests. If he was serious about his work, he would have chosen to dig into our side of the story as well before jumping to his convenient judgment. That’s not journalism, that’s negligence and irresponsible.

While we have no issue with his pre​-decided love for the other side of the story, we strongly object to the appallingly tasteless language used for a highly reputed organisation that is known to have made a difference to the lives of millions around the world, and its founder, the highly respected Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.

Making personal remarks about a globally acknowledged saint like Sri Sri Ravi Shankar demonstrates a serious lack of class. It also indicates he has little by way of concrete objections.

​​T​he link  is of the rebuttal which has been filed in the Court and completely rubbishes the petitioners allegations​​.​ Also this​ link​ ​has​ the absolute facts about the World Culture Festival 2016.​

We regret that Firstpost did not think twice before publishing such slanderous tripe that has been clearly written blind-folded. And we would expect that better judgment is used next time.

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Updated Date: Apr 25, 2017 11:30:37 IST

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