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Saffronisation of Sai Baba: ‘Sabka Malik Ek’ becomes ‘Om Shri Sainathaya Namah’

The six trust members of the Shirdi Sansthan associated with the Bharatiya Janata Party are said to have brought about the changes.

The Shirdi Sansthan has allegedly made several alterations in and around the Sai Baba temple, going against the ethos of the saint’s teachings and principles.

Reportedly, the flag column built to commemorate the centenary year of the temple being established has been inscribed with just “Om” instead of markers from all religions, a message conveyed by Sai Baba.

Dainik Bhaskar reported that this purposeful omission of inclusion of markers from all other religions is a continuation of the attempts to saffronise the temple. Reportedly, in 2016, the official documents of the Shirdi Sansthan, too, were published with the slogan, “Om Shri Sainathaya Namah” instead of Sai Baba’s usual message, “Sabka Malik Ek”. The report also added that in 2017, the name of Baba’s house — where he used to live in Shirdi — which used to be called, “Dwarkamai Masjid” was renamed abruptly as “Dwarkamai Temple”.

The Shirdi Sansthan currently has six trust members, who are associated with the BJP. Reportedly, this number is only a fraction of the 17 members stated to be appointed by Maharashtra Law Ministry under the laid down provisions.

Former Shirdi administrative officer Subhash Jagtap told Dainik Bhaskar, “Sai Baba used to say that Ram-Rahim are one and that divinity could be attained only if there were Hindu-Muslim unity. His religion was humanity. This is the reason why his devotees hail from different religious backgrounds… The flags on Dwarkamai placed with Baba’s permission symbolise this (unity).” He added, “The prayers used to be offered there (at Dwarkamai) only according to Hindu rituals but now, for the last few years, old-fashioned ideas have grown in influence.”

The move also angered non-Hindu devotees of Sai Baba. A US citizen and New York resident Claude Rodrigues said, “How did the message of ‘Sabka Malik Ek’ change to ‘Om Shri Sainathaya Namah’ in the temple premises? I am a Christian (and) in the US I go to the Sai Baba temple every Sunday with my family. There I get satisfaction by getting darshan of all Gods. But this controversy and the flag column built in Lendi Garden with just the ‘Om’ inscription on it has been disappointing.”

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