Skip to main content

London School of Economics students protest "casual Islamophobia" of Sadhguru

Counterview Desk
In a fresh round of controversy involving Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev, founder of Isha Foundation, a non-profit organization which offers yoga programs around the world and claims to be involved in social outreach, education and environmental initiatives, has referred to a Muslim student at the prestigious London School of Economics (LSE) as “a Talibani” and “Taliban”.
Earlier Sadhguru invited criticism from the well-known anti-dam organization, Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA), for his Rally of Rivers campaign, allegedly meant to support of the establishment, and playing in the hands of India's corporate interests. In 2017, NBA accused Sadhguru of gathering “millions of rupees from many corporate and many media houses” for his campaign.
NBA said, Sadhguru, “who has taken up to saving the rivers by spending millions of crores of rupees himself is accused of violation of many environmental laws in Tamil Nadu”, including “encroachment on the Kundakoi tributary of the river Noyal, construction of ashram with nearly one thousand buildings on the reserved forest, encroachment on the elephants corridors”, etc.
LSE Students Union (SU), responding to Sadhguru’s “Talibani” comment following the “Youth and Truth: Unplug with Sadhguru” event has sharply reacted to the mystic, saying, his words do offend, even though a clarification was issued later on.

Text of LSESU statement:

There have been reports that, subsequent to the event ‘Youth and Truth: Unplug with Sadhguru at LSESU, Sadhguru (Jaggi Vasudev) called a Muslim student at the LSE “a Talibani” and “Taliban”. The LSESU is deeply disappointed in Sadhguru’s comments and views them as Islamophobic. The LSESU confirms that such comments do not have a place on campus and are to be condemned. If the comments were made in jest, this does not lessen their impact – the words still offend. Such incidents, if not duly denounced, aggregate to create a culture where casual Islamophobia becomes acceptable and, as such, we implore Sadhguru to release a formal apology to the student body with regards to the statements made.
Sadhguru’s team was contacted for comment and gave the following response:
“Namaskaram,
This is addressed to all those concerned, Bilal Bin Saqib – the London School of Economics student with whom I had interactions, and two students who were with us as part of Youth and Truth. Bilal is a wonderful young man, having aspirations to make an impact in the world, particularly in his country. The last thing I have is any ill-will or intention to abuse or insult him. It did not come out this way at any point in the conversation. It is not in my heart to insult anybody, especially not this wonderful young man with so many aspirations and intentions for the world.
This small video clip of a private conversation, which has been mischievously edited, is unfortunate. I would like to tell all those concerned that the word ‘Taliban’ in Arabic means an ‘ardent student’, which Bilal definitely is, as also the other two students are. This term is always used in India in relation to someone who is over enthusiastic. It is in that context that I was joking with Bilal, it is very unfortunate that it has been projected this way.
If this has in anyway offended or insulted anybody, this was not the intent. This private conversation was mischievously edited, with what intent, I am unable to fathom. I wish to anyway apologize to the London School of Economics and the Students Union, if it offended any of you in some way. My gratitude to the London School of Economics and the Students Union for having organised this event.
Thank you very much." 
LSESU stands firmly on our above stance and deem the comments to be Islamophobic. We do not believe the video was "mischievously edited” and have heard no reports supporting the common use of ‘Taliban’ in India as meaning over-enthusiastic.
We believe that individuals who have many followers, hold power and status, and claim to promote tolerance, should be aware of and sensitive, to the political and extremist connotations attached to the word ‘Taliban’ in our current context. Casual Islamophobia such as this perpetuates the culture of misunderstanding and judgement. This is especially relevant given recent spates of terror against Muslims in Britain, New Zealand and around the world.

Comments

TRENDING

WHO move can 'enable' India to detain citizens, restrict freedom, control media

Counterview Desk  In an an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, with copies to concerned Cabinet ministers, bureaucrats and MPs,  health rights network  People’s Alliance for Public Health (PAPH alias JanSwasthya Morcha), has urged that India should not be a signatory to the World Health Organization ( WHO) Pandemic Agreement and Amendments to the  International Health Regulations (IHR) 2005  to be adopted at the 77th World Health Assembly in Geneva from 27th May to 1st June, 2024.

'Enough evidence': Covid vaccines impacted women's reproductive health

By Deepika*  In 2024, the news outlets have suddenly started reporting about covid vaccine side effects in a very extensive manner. Sadly, the damage is already done.

A Hindu alternative to Valentine's Day? 'Shiv-Parvati was first love marriage in Universe'

By Rajiv Shah*   The other day, I was searching on Google a quote on Maha Shivratri which I wanted to send to someone, a confirmed Shiv Bhakt, quite close to me -- with an underlying message to act positively instead of being negative. On top of the search, I chanced upon an article in, imagine!, a Nashik Corporation site which offered me something very unusual. 

Informal, outdoor workers 'excluded': Govt of India's excessive heat policies

Counterview Desk  Top civil rights network, National Alliance of People's Movements (NAPM), has demanded urgent government action to protect millions of outdoor workers from extreme heat and heatwaves, insisting declaration of heatwaves as climatic disaster.

'Uncertainty in Iran': Raisi brokered crucial Chabahar Port deal with India

By Pranjal Pandey*  Ebrahim Raisi, the Iranian President, and the country’s foreign minister were tragically found deceased on May 20, 2024, shortly after their helicopter crashed in foggy conditions. In response, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei swiftly appointed a relatively unknown vice president as the interim leader.

Growing stream of pollution infecting homes, bodies in US, Vietnam

By Erica Cirino*  Louisiana’s “River Parishes,” located along the Mississippi River between New Orleans and Baton Rouge, shoulder some of the worst industry impacts in the United States. As a result, this region has acquired a grim reputation as “ Cancer Alley .” 

Desist from academic censorship, stop threatening scholars: Letter to ICMR

Counterview Desk  In a letter to the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) director, the Universal Health Organisation (UHO) which consists of prominent health experts, has insisted that the Government of India’s top medical research agency should lead high quality research on vaccine safety and “desist from academic censorship”.