June 24, 2000
New Delhi: Eminent litterateur and former member of Parliament Amrita Pritam has strongly criticised the move to ban Ma Yoga Neelam, former secretary to Osho Rajneesh, in the wake of the controversy over the ownership of copyright to his words.
In a statement, Pritam asked: ‘Osho creates Sufis, how come these people have become Maulvis?’ and added that whatever was going on in the name of Osho did not fit in with his image. She wondered who were the people denying entry to Ma Yoga Neelam, who had been associated with Osho for thirty years. She also suspected that there were some other powers behind the people at the Pune Commune who had banned her entry.
She asked: “Can the doors of the divine ever be closed? The Guru is like an open sky. Osho did not believe in copyrights. If Osho himself decides to return today, these people may not even allow him to enter as they no longer needed him. In addition to being a Jnanpeeth awardee, she was recently bestowed with Poetess of the Millennium award by the Delhi Government.
According to Swami Chaitanya Keerti, who is a senior member of the Commune and is camping in the capital, disciples of the Osho had held a spontaneous dharna at the Rajyoga Meditation Centre in the capital on learning about the banning of Ma Yoga Neelam.
Apart from India, anxious inquiries were received from many parts of the world including Australia, Canada, USA and European countries. According to a report from Pune, several disciples have declared rebellion against the functioning of the 21-member decision-making committee, described as the ‘Inner Circle’, which had been chosen for life by the Osho himself.
Over a period of time, 15 of the original members left the Commune in disgust, peeved at the autocratic functioning of the Chairman, the Vice Chairman and the Secretary of the ‘Inner Circle’, says Ma Neelam, who herself had been a member of this Circle. All these 15 members had been replaced by New York-based Inner Circle chairman Swami Prem Jayesh (Canadian-born real estate agent Michael O’Byrne), she alleged, adding that the actual policy decisions were taken only by the three members at the top of hierarchy.
She said when Osho came back to India in 1987, he wanted everything belonging to the Commumne to be transferred to India including the copyright of his books. But the copyrights never got transferred and the publishing rights continued to remain in New York. Thus, although the world headquarters of the Commune is in Pune, permission had to be sought from New York to publish Osho’s works, she says.