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’Child Goddess’ Sambhavi has to go to School! Andhra Pradesh Human Rights Commission Orders!

by Babu Gogineni, 15 June 2010

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15 June 2010

Dear All,

For the last 9 months Humanists, Rationalists and Human Rights activists in India and Nepal have been fighting an elaborate reincarnation fraud in South India, enacted with connivance and encouragement from the Nobel Peace Laureate Dalai Lama. I am writing to report success but maybe I should first give the back ground to a complex story where Buddhist and Hindu superstition about rebirth, criminal intentions of parents to exploit their child for business as well real estate business and spiritual fraud and an international conspiracy to exploit a child for political and religious purposes are involved.

As you know, Buddhism has three major divisions: Hinayana, Mahayana and Vajrayana. The tantra, magic and ritual-based Vajrayana has four further factions and the Dalai Lama is head of one of these four - the Gelugpa sect. The Dalai Lama does not represent all Buddhists and is merely head of some 6 million Tibetan Vajrayana Buddhists, whereas there are over 300 million Buddhists the world over. The present Dalai Lama was identified as the reborn 13th Dalai Lama at the age of 2, and at a young age fled Tibet after a failed rebellion against China.Most Tibetans lived the lives of serfs whereas he lived in the 1000-room Potala Palace. After fleeing Tibet he started a life long mission to liberate his people from brutal Chinese oppression and has succeeded in obtaining the world’s sympathy and attention to the just cause of Tibetan self-determination.

However, the Lama’s Vajrayana Buddhism also needs babies so that they could be identified as reincarnation of dead Buddhist Lamas. It is a terrible tradition, like that of sacrificing little children to monasteries, sending toddlers to Taliban run schools or the Kumari cult of Nepal where young girls are declared goddesses and abandoned after they cross teenage. Most such children end up being thouroughly damaged. Osel Torres, a baby from Spain was identified by the Dalai Lama many years ago - but Osel fled the confines of the monsatery to declare in 2009 that he was not a Lama and that his life was a lie!

Now, in 2009, Sambhavi, a 6-year old girl child was identified by the Dalai Lama as the reincarnaion of another dead monk and he participated in religious rituals along with the child in his Indian headquarters of Dharamshala. Videos were taken by the Hindu parents of the child and they circulated these widely in an attempt to portray the child as having supernatural powers and powers of prophecy. The media were heavily involved in this circus when claims were made that the child travels to Tibet in trance, she communicates with the Dalai Lama by telepathy; she spoke Telugu and Tamil automatically - languages that she was never earlier exposed to. She was installed as a goddess in a temple, she received devotees who prostrated before her, she foretold the future. For good measure, Sambhavi was also made to say that when Veera Bhoga Vasanta Rayalu will come in 2012 as predicted by Veerabrhmendra Swami 400 years ago, he will tear out the hearts and eyes of the atheists. Some big wigs bought land around the proposed ashram because of the real estate gains to be made. A helipad was constructed, new roads were beginning to be laid to Surya Nandi. Meanwhile, her parents illegally occupied some temple premises nearby and air-conditoned the cottage they built there. French and Russian documentary makers entered the scene to record the life of this extraordinary genius and goddess who played in her previous life with the Dalai Lama and met with Acharya Nagarjuna, dead forover 2000 years. Sambhavi said that she was born for the cause of Tibet’s freedom, declared that Tibet would be free by 2012, that China would become democratic in 2016, that she prayed for the Dalai Lama’s health and healed him.

A joint ritual and discourse was planned and announced for 22 December 2009 for the 75 year old Dalai Lama and the 6-yr child. it was widely expected and suggested that the Dalai LamaThe Dalai Lama came as far as Hyderabad for taking the fraud further, but had to retreat in the face of the campaign against this obvious fraud.

We had also filed a petition at the Human Rights Commission against the child’s guardians and others for gross, public and unrestrained abuse of the child Sambhavi, seeking urgent intervention to save her from further mental abuse as well as to stop the religious and political exploitation of a vulnerable child. The campaign slogan ’Should she be in a temple or ina school’ was a question every one took up: the media as well as the Human Rights Commission. We also asked for investigation into the complicity of the Dalai Lama in this disgraceful affair.

A huge number of individuals and organisations joined hands: amongst the petitioners are President of the Federation of Indian Rationalist Associations, Prof. Nayak, Jana Vignana Vedika and child rights groups as well as IHEU MOs Manava Vikasa Vedika, IRHA, Hyderabad Rationalist Forum, Indian Radical Humanist Association etc. The Judge ordered an investigation into the child’s antecedents and a number of lies came out, including the lies told about who the parents were - the real mother was posing as a guardians, saying the child’s mother had died to obsure her origins so that she could be portrayed as a goddess. The mother it appeared was also a second wife of the child’s father - bigamy is disallowed in India amongst non-Muslims.

At the last hearing on 30 Dec after I finished the arguments, the Judge Subhashan Reddy noted that the child’s mother had lied, and observed that the child was being exploited. On 14 June he delivered his orders: in summary the child has to go to a recognised school and cannot be presented as a goddess and that the child should not be made to believe she has divine powers. He also disallowed the plea that the parents could provide the child private tuition and rejected the claim that the child does not like to go to school. Here are extracts:

"... it is not open to (the mother) Ms. Usha Rani to assume something supernatural about the child-Shambhavi and then deprive her of her usual, normal and inherent childhood rights ... She cannot induce any hallucinations into the tender mind of child-Sambhavi that she is a supernatural person with divine powers isolating her from the natural surroundings and to behave like a saint confined to a place attracting devotees. This Commission makes it clear that Ms. Usha Rani, her husband and their child-Shambhavi are entitled to practice any religion of their choice, but they cannot assume, or, are allowed to assume, or to make others to believe that child-Shambhavi is herself a Goddess or possessing supernatural powers... the natural parents Ms. Usha Rani and Mr. Soumya Acharya are directed to desist from interfering with the child rights of Ms. Shambhavi."

"It was stated by Ms. Usha Rani that she wants to educate her daughter, Ms. Shambhavi, by keeping her in Ashram by even giving special coaching by vedic teachers. But the law does not permit Ms. Usha Rani to have such a course of action. (Right of the Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009) is provided under Article 21 A read with above Act of 2009, is inalienable and neither the child can abandon the said rights nor the parents".

Orders of Andhra Pradesh Human Rights Commission, dated 14 June 2010 (on Petition No. 7777 of 2009 filed by IHEU Member Organisations, Associates and Intellectuals). Words in brackets provided for clarity.

This is a victory of Sambhavi’s rights, which the judge said cannot be violated even by her parents. It is a triumph for all those who support Children’s Rights. This is the first order issued after the introduction of the Free and Compulsory Education Act, and with these land mark orders that were obtained based on our complaint along with IHEU MOs, the Indian flag today flies higher and the enlightened Indian Constitution gains an enhanced meaning and relevance to the frighteningly large number of children in the country not yet in school. We had asked that the child be given psychological counselling to bring her back to reality as regards her supernatural powers, but the Human Rights Commission orders are silent on this request.

After retreating from Hyderabad the Dalai Lama has been absolutely tight lipped about the Sambhavi affair. How sad he abandoned a child who in her previous birth was his playmate! People who dislike China automatically like the cuddly Dalai Lama - here is a chance to rethink about him and his dangerous stupidities. If he is not stopped he will strike again and find another child victim.

I have to mention that the activism of the last 10 months have resulted in several threats,phonecalls and open warnings to the petitioners. There is also an attempt to portray this as an attack by rationalists against religion in TV channels during discussions, but these dishonest arguments are being countered or are not being heeded to - going by the general swell of good will for the Human Rights Commission orders. It has been repeated endless times us that the case was filed as fellow humans, it was pointed out that what we have uncovered was criminal activity, and that we never objected to Samhavi’s freedom of religion - it is her parents’ outrageous attempt to turn her into goddess and install her in a temple which we have opposed. We also pointed out that they recruit fundamentalist groups to oppose us when we went to depose at the inquiry ordered by the government.

Prof. Santa Sinha, one of India’s leading Human Rights activists and currently Chair of the National Commission for the Rights of the Child hailed it as a landmark and progressive judgement.

We are all happy for Sambhavi who the Judge ordered should be enrolled in a school within a week failing which he would prosecute the District Collector who he has charged with this task!

Currently the mother seems to have had a dispute with the father and they are not in touch with each other, and the mother has disappeared with the child!

There is enough TV footage about this sordid saga that can be turned into a documentary - to show the different factors and forces that come into play in such a campaign.

The High Court is the appellate court but I cannot imagine that these orders will be overruled should they decide to take the matter further - additionally the parents of Sambavi are likely to be prosecuted for perjury should the District Collector who is also the District Magistrate decide to do so.

Many thanks to all those who supported us in the campaign in a terrible context where the elite media is reluctant to expose the Dalai Lama.

We will certainly write to the Nobel Peace Prize Committee.

best regards,

Babu Gogineni