India

That’s the Press, Baba

When your audience is made of real followers

Sathya Sai Baba, one of the most celebrated Indian gurus, is best known for having established a spiritual movement that has amassed devotees from religions in every part of the world. The man, who during his adolescence announced that he was the reincarnation of the Sai Baba of Shirdi, after his death in 2011 was effectively deified by his followers: they consider him to be the avatar of the God Shiva. His Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust has 1200 centres in 100 countries and today is one of the largest economic empires in India, valued at over 12 billion dollars. Sai Baba’s estimated six million followers include politicians, captains of industry, business magnates, Bollywood stars and sporting heroes.

His ashram (place of meditation), known as Prashanti Nilayam, is located in Puttaparthi, near the village that was Sai Baba’s birthplace, in the southern state of Andra Pradesh. Financed by private donations from all over the world, the centre was created in 1950 by Sai Baba, whose activities over the years were the source of various controversies (linked to his alleged miracles and the enormous flows of money generated by the activities of his spiritual organization). Today the ashram is a fully-fledged town: prayer and meditation take place constantly but there are also shops, bookstores, a supermarket, a hospital, sports fields, schools, a university, as well as free accommodation and catering for visiting pilgrims. But, above all, there is a media department equipped with the very latest equipment and responsible for documenting and communicating the ashram’s activities: its name is Radio Sai.

The ashram’s media propaganda unit was set up in 2001. Its team is composed of communications professionals, photographers, camera operators, directors, presenters and IT experts, all working daily to create content for the various information channels though which the divine message is spread.

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