Last updated on 5th June 2019
5th June 2019 Update: Readers may want to visit my later post: Sathya Sai Aug. 1998 interview with Mumbai mediapersons in Prasanthi Nilayam (Puttaparthi): Transcript, pics and corroboration from three participant mediapersons, https://ravisiyer.blogspot.com/2019/05/sathya-sai-aug-1998-interview-with.html, 24th May 2019. end-Update
The concerned interview transcript is provided on this Facebook post: https://www.facebook.com/notes/visvesh-baabu/bhagavans-interview-with-the-press-in-1998-transcript-of-the-interview/1117918538239219/, dated 31st March 2016.
As I had mentioned in my Facebook post, https://www.facebook.com/ravi.s.iyer.7/posts/2491490177734211, "I find this article based on 1998 interview of Swami to leading media persons from Mumbai, to have the potential to be an important historical event in the career of Sathya Sai Avatar. Top media persons from Mumbai are very powerful and influential people. The pics that are put up on this event are evidence that the interview did take place. But the transcript of the interview needs to be corroborated by some of the media persons who were present then (the pics give their names)."
Two of the Mumbai media persons who were part of the media team then, responded to me confirming the authenticity of the transcript. I have copy-pasted the screenshots and some text in them, below. This becomes clear corroboration of the interview transcript by some participant media persons and therefore becomes historical evidence.
5th June 2019 update: The screenshots and text can now be seen here: https://ravisiyer.blogspot.com/2019/05/sathya-sai-aug-1998-interview-with.html. I deleted it from this post to prevent this post from being mistakenly viewed as the media corroboration post. end-update.
--- Snipped large part of post (corroboration from two Mumbai mediapersons) which is now available in above mentioned link ---
Now the person who prepared the transcript got offended by my efforts to get this corroboration and does not seem to understand that such corroboration is vital before any current or future historian will accept the transcript as factual. Of course, if the interview transcript was published in any of the Mumbai media outlets in 1998, and that publication is available now, then that itself is enough to establish the transcript as historical fact. But I don't know whether any Mumbai media outlet published it and even if they published it, whether that publication is available to examine now.
Now if any regular Prasanthi Nilayam media organization like Sanathana Sarathi/SSS Book Trust or Radio Sai publish it and keep it freely accessible on the Internet, then it will be great. But it seems that they have not put up this interview so far as when I Google searched for this interview I did not get results from Sanathana Sarathi/SSS Book Trust or Radio Sai. Perhaps they may put it up in future - I certainly hope so.
Meanwhile, I thought of putting up a post where I will share this authentication of the interview transcript by these two media persons and also share the interview transcript. I can simply point to the above mentioned (first) Facebook post having the transcript but I think if the content is replicated on my blog, the longevity may be better, and may appear as a Google search top ten result link for suitable search terms.
But I am running against a --snip-- block! The person who made the interview transcript does not like the idea of me sharing the transcript on my blog.
Now my view is that it is Bhagavan who called the Mumbai media for the interview. Therefore, in my view, the interview transcript and pics are Bhagavan's property which should be shared freely with Sathya Sai fraternity. But this gentleman seems to feel possessive about the transcript and is trying to tell me not to put it on my blog!
Now I don't want to get into avoidable arguments with such people. So to avoid an argument, I think I should not put up the transcript on my blog but simply share the (first) Facebook post link mentioned above along with the corroboration screenshots from two Mumbai mediapersons, which I have already provided on this post.
I would like to have the advice of readers on this matter. Please let me know what you think I should do. Thanks.
Given below are some comment exchanges on this matter:
An elder statesman of Sathya Sai fraternity (based in USA) wrote me over email (and was OK with public sharing; slightly edited):
Sai Ram, Ravi,
Seems to me that that interview is in “public domain”.
As far as I can see, there is no copyright statement on it.
The words of Swami and the interviewers don’t belong to --name-snipped--.
In my view, as long as a copy of the interview gives a link back to the original on facebook, it should be OK.
It’s good that you got corroboration from others about the interview.
That was important.
I (Ravi) responded (edited):
Thank you so much sir for your response.
A long-time devotee (based in USA) wrote:
"Please go ahead.
Sai Ram, Ravi.
It will be appreciated by all who read it."
I (Ravi) thanked the above devotee for the valuable response.
An India-based Sai devotee wrote:
"Dear Iyer sir,
It is well known that Bhagwan gave audience to people of His own choosing and so I do believe that no one has a copyright on the content. Of course, the original source may be credited since the effort is his/hers. If there is nothing incriminating to either the author of the transcript or someone in the general public, then I believe Bhagwans words contain wisdom that cannot be limited to only a select few. Of course, any content that is strictly and only of personal nature can/should be excluded."
I (Ravi) responded (edited):
Sai Ram --name-snipped--,
Thanks for your valuable view.
--- end comment exchanges ---
Ravi: Based on the above responses, I have decided to go ahead and put up the transcript. I will also be thanking the transcript author for his valuable contribution to documenting Swami's 1998 interview with Mumbai mediapersons and preserving and sharing that documentation with others in Sathya Sai fraternity.