Following the expose here of how the Indian press had documented the way in which the Calcutta Ratha Yatra was sabotaged by the ISKCON Gurus, many persons were shocked that Bhakti Caru Maharaja was maintaining that 'hundreds of thousands' of persons had attended the Ratha Yatra.

This prompted one devotee, Mr. Deepak Vohra, who is also a media executive for a leading Amercan publishing company, to write to CHAKRA, a pro-GBC web-site, challenging Bhakti Caru Maharaja to substantiate his comments, which appeared to be starkly contradicted by the evidence of the Indian press. Bhakti Caru Maharaja did reply to the challenge, but unfortunately in doing so he simply revealed that he did not in fact have any evidence to back up his claims. Mr. Vohra meanwhile had contacted my office and received further evidence from myself which further revealed that Bhakti Caru Swami had not been telling the truth. Mr. Vohra therefore wrote again to CHAKRA showing how Bhakti Caru Swami had been caught out by photographic evidence from the 'Asian Age' newspaper. So once again, Bhakti Caru Swami has been caught cheating (please also go here, for instance, to see where we exposed Bhakti Caru Swami mis-translating Srila Prabhupada's books into Bengali to support his position as Guru).

We produce below Mr Vohra's full letter, which CHAKRA refused to publish. Upon reading it, it becomes very clear why CHAKRA were very keen to spare the Maharaja's blushes! 

Dear CHAKRA Hare Krishna! 

Please accept my humble obeisances. 

All glories to Srila Prabhupada!

I would like to thank His Holiness Bhakti Caru Swami for responding to my concerns over the Indian newspaper reports about the Calcutta Ratha Yatra ("Was it so Successful?", CHAKRA, 8 July 2001), which conflicted with Maharaja's initial report as published on CHAKRA ("Without Prejudice - Calcutta Ratha Yatra,", 5 July 2001). 

I hope readers will forgive me for bringing up yet more evidence, this time photographic, which to my mind still raises questions over the accuracy of Maharaja's latest report ("Calcutta Ratha Yatra Was Indeed Highly Successful", CHAKRA, 18 July 2001). Readers will appreciate that as my profession is in the media, it is my job to verify the accuracy of all statistics, reports and sources before they are put into print or broadcast over the airwaves. In this way, my concern is the same as His Holiness Bhakti Caru Swami who stated:


"I tried my best not to deviate from the truth, knowing well that in this age 'dharma' is standing on that leg only, and I don't want to deviate from that path. With all sincerity I want to declare that I don't have any intention to deceive anyone with false propaganda."
(Bhakti Caru Swami, 18 July)

For this reason, I have checked with the 'Asian Age' newspaper to verify Maharaja's statement that the Calcutta Ratha Yatra was celebrated by "hundreds of thousands" of devotees. I also requested Adridharan das to provide evidence to refute Maharaja's accusation that he (Adri) had deliberately sabotaged the Rath carts.

The photographs and accompanying captions attached herewith are the evidence I received from both sources. CHAKRA readers are therefore now in a position to make up their own minds as to the accuracy of Adridharan's newsletter vis-a-vis Bhakti Caru Swami's reports.

In Adridharan's original article, he stated that:

1) Due to a 'fraudulent application', Mayapur was able to conduct the Ratha Yatra festival, rather than Calcutta.

2) That contrary to Bhakti Caru Swami's claims, "hundreds of thousands" of persons did not attend the festival, but that actually relatively few persons attended compared to when the festival was organised by the Calcutta Temple.

3) That the carts were not damaged by him (Adri), but rather work had simply stopped on them due to Mayapur having being given permission to conduct the festival. He also quoted many newspaper articles in support of his points.

In contrast, Maharaja's latest article on CHAKRA quotes newspaper articles which simply *confirm* what Adridharan das stated in his newsletter - namely, that Mayapur had been given permission to conduct the festival. I am still unable to see any evidence at all in support of Maharaja's claim that "hundreds of thousands" of persons attended the ISKCON Ratha Yatra. This impression is given by Maharaja when he reproduces the following incomplete quotation from the 'Asian Age newspaper':

"An unidentified foreign devotee chants Hare Krishna along with other Indian devotees while watching the Rath Yatra in Kolkata on Saturday. Hundreds and thousands of people celebrated the Rath Yatra ..."
(Asian Age, June 25th, 2001).

The ACTUAL quote states the following:

"An unidentified foreign devotee chants Hare Krishna along with other Indian devotees while watching the Ratha Yatra in Kolkata on Saturday. Hundreds of thousands of people celebrated the Ratha Yatra *in different parts of the country on Saturday*."

(Asian Age, June 25th, 2001 - emphasis added)

I wonder why Maharaja decided to leave off the final 8 words of the quote when he had already quoted the rest of it, especially since these final 8 words would establish clearly that hundreds of thousands of persons did NOT attend the Mayapur Ratha Yatra, but rather these were the numbers of persons which attended ALL the many thousands of Ratha Yatras which are held at this time all over India, including the one in Jagannath Puri (indeed, these other nationwide Ratha Yatras were reported in many Indian newspapers).

Maharaja has also repeated the accusation that the carts had been deliberately sabotaged the day before the festival by Adridharana, although Adridharan had already stated that there was no need to 'sabotage' the carts as they were already incomplete, since work had stopped on them many days before the Ratha Yatra due to Mayapura's actions in preventing Calcutta from staging the festival.

I reproduce herewith the photograph and article sent to me by Adridharan, published again by the 'Asian Age' newspaper. 'Asian Age' confirms that work had stopped on the carts as soon as Mayapur had been granted permission to stage the festival.

As the article accompanying the picture clearly suggests, work had stopped on the carts many days before the Ratha Yatra festival started when Mayapur got permission to conduct the festival, and thus there was no sabotage carried out on the carts the day before the festival.

The picture clearly proves that the carts were therefore already in a state of disrepair way before the festival began, and therefore Bhakti Caru Swami's allegation of sabotage the night before the festival was due to commence is clearly refuted.

It also seems to me that Adridharan's citation of a newspaper report that there was no special VIP guest to inaugurate the festival ('Pratidin' June 24th, 2001) is only confirmed by Maharaja's statement that:

"In a way it is true that, unlike other years, we could not get some very important personalities to inaugurate the Rathayatra ..."

Maharaja's article of July 5 again restates his vision of the events:

"If any of our critics had been present in Calcutta during that time then they would have seen how ecstatic the mood of that festival was. They would have personally seen how hundreds of thousands of people came to attend that festival everyday, chanted and danced in ecstasy, honored Krishna prasada and went back to their respective homes with Srila Prabhupada and Lord Jagannath's mercy at the end of the program."

Maybe it is my contaminated consciousness that prevents me from sharing in this unbridled enthusiasm, but I still find it extremely difficult to reconcile this report with the photographic evidence and the complete, unedited quotes of the independent Indian media. As a reminder to readers, this is what the newspapers reported:


"ISKCON's Rathayatra celebration in Metro city of Calcutta became a dull & dry show because of infighting between Dharma gurus. Since the last 20 years the Rath Festival in this metro was known as the third biggest Rath Yatra festival in the world, but because of the infighting very few people attended the Rath Yatra celebrations as compared to last year and the size of Lord Jagannaths chariot was also much smaller in comparison to last year."
- SANMARG, June 24th 2001

"Kolkata, the annual car festival today turned out be a poor show. "
Hindustan Times, June 24th 2001

"But visitors have found this fare lifeless. "

Despite all the arrangement, it is a dull and dry fare", say Rituparna Sen and Atul Bhattacharya of South Calcutta. "
- Hindustan Times, June 30th 2001

"After a lacklustre Rathayatra, the Ultaratha, too, was devoid of the usual glamour and religious fervour associated with the celebration of this Vaisnav festival in the city"
- Asian Age, July 2nd 2001

No doubt readers will make up their own minds based on the evidence presented here. I beg forgiveness for any offences caused, but I am merely trying to establish a true account of the Calcutta Ratha Yatra based on objective evidence. Indeed, if there is new evidence from His Holiness Bhakti Caru Swami which directly contradicts the evidence quoted by Adridharan das, we would all, I am sure, be glad to examine it.

I remain Your servant Deepak.