Last modified on 19th Aug. 2016
I felt it appropriate to put up a recent comment exchange of mine with another Facebook user on my Facebook post, https://www.facebook.com/ravi.s.iyer.7/posts/1778072492409320, as this separate post (slightly edited).
Mr. Ap Ramesh wrote (slightly edited):
about Marvyn (Mervyn Hughes), you please take it that they can never file any complaint. --snip-- cannot lodge complaints. they are doing --snip-- things. why worry. sir, you keep the fight on light body. let me assure you that if they file a complaint on you, we will lodge 100 complaints on --snip-- and --snip--. this is a promise.
I (Ravi) responded:
Ap Ramesh, Thank you so much for your support. I know that the probability of Mervyn Hughes himself filing a police and legal complaint against me is very low, as first he will have to come out in the open and reveal his identity. But here's why I decided to react the way I did to his police and legal action threat.
I came to know of Mervyn Hughes' police and legal action threat against me from a private message sent to me by a Facebook friend. Now as a blogger and Facebook writer, legal complaints can be made against me by parties who I criticize and who think that I have made defamatory statements against them. That is the law in India. You may have noted the defamation suits (both criminal and civil) filed by BJP leaders and union ministers like Arun Jaitley and Nitin Gadkari against AAP leader and Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal.
So for me to ignore such a threat and issue some kind of filmi (movie) dialogue daring Mervyn Hughes to do so, would be inappropriate, in my considered view. As a responsible social media writer and law-abiding Indian citizen I consider it my duty to transparently show to my readers (and, if required, to an Indian court of law and/or Indian police) that my writings conform to freedom of speech laws of India (as I understand it), and that my criticism, sometimes vehement criticism, of actions and words of some people is permitted under Indian law and cannot be termed as defamation.
Further, there are some ground realities that I have to consider. I live alone in Puttaparthi. In 2011-12 (after Bhagavan's Mahasamadhi) when I fought against the Asathya (untruth) and Adharma (unethical behaviour) done by the Sai university (SSSIHL) administrators (former HOD DMACS V. Chandrasekaran, former vice-chancellor Sashidhara Prasad, then and current Registrar Naren Ramji, and former director Prasanthi Nilayam campus, Sudhir Bhaskar) against me, I had a bitter taste of the realities of Prasanthi Nilayam ashram system. Not a single person in the university where I offered nine years of free service, supported me. I thought that at least some of them were my friends. But in my time of need, NOT ONE PERSON in the Sai university supported me when Asathya and Adharma were done to me. They were TERRIFIED of supporting me then as I think they were afraid of people like Naren Ramji targeting them for action if they did so. It was a very, very sad and bitter experience for me about the realities of Prasanthi Nilayam ashram system. [You may see details of the matter here: My May 2012 service record & record tampering related correspondence with Sai university (SSSIHL) administrators, http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2015/11/my-may-2012-service-record-record.html.] I must also mention here that two former students of mine of the Sai university who were working in companies in Indian cities, and a former Sai university faculty colleague (no longer working in Sai university then) supported me privately over mail, besides some old software industry colleagues of mine and my relatives. All of these persons were not in Puttaparthi then (and now). So I got to know who are the people that I could really turn to for help when I needed help! None of such people who were willing to help me were living in Puttaparthi!!!
So now that Mervyn Hughes made a threat against me, I wanted to see whether some people come forward to support me. You see, this is a generic issue. Mervyn Hughes need not file a legal complaint against me. Sashidhara Prasad, Narasimhamurthy and Madhusudan Naidu of Muddenahalli group may file a complaint against me for defamation (which I think I can successfully defend (win) in an Indian court as my criticism is largely factual and some fair opinion, meant to inform Sai devotees about what happened and so not defamatory). But fighting a legal case needs moral and other support. So I wanted to know whether there are some people in the Sai fraternity who will support me if Muddenahalli group harasses me with legal suits filed against me.
I am glad to see that a handful of people have come forward with words of support. If no one had come forward perhaps I would have given up on such writing. I mean, why should I stretch my neck out on this matter, if nobody is willing to help me. So I converted the Mervyn Hughes legal and police threat to me, to a test to see who will come forward with words of support to me. As some have come forward I have decided to continue my work of sharing the truth about Muddenhalli FALSE BELIEF even though Mervyn Hughes is targeting me so nastily.
Another point. Some have wondered (from a helpful and supportive point of view perhaps) whether I have got scared by Mervyn Hughes' threat of legal and police action. Perhaps that was the entire intent of Mervyn Hughes' post - Scare me and stop me from writing against Muddenahalli FALSE BELIEF. I am NOT scared of Mervyn Hughes' threat. But I do recognize the reality that moneyed people can use lawyers to harass and create trouble for writers and publishers who write unpalatable truths about them or their friends. Then it becomes a money power game. A single individual like me without significant money power to hire top lawyers to fight the top lawyers the opponents could hire, is vulnerable to such money power games. This is the reality. I prefer to be practical and consider the ground realities involved rather than issue filmi (movie) statements that I am not scared of anybody. I think some fear is good for health and longevity :-). Due to some support that I have received from a few people (less than ten persons actually, though I have 288 Facebook friends and 237 Facebook followers!), I have decided that, as of now, from a practical point of view I can fight off any legal and police action threats from Muddenahalli group supporters.