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Sai Baba birthplace row: Parbhani group to ask CM to form committee

The town is in the news following objections raised by the locals against a reported statement by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray that Pathri village was Sai Baba’s actual birthplace

The town is in the news following objections raised by the locals against a reported statement by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray that Pathri village was Sai Baba’s actual birthplace   | Photo Credit: PTI

Delegation to submit 29 pieces of proof that mystic was born in Pathri

While the residents of Shirdi, the trustees of the Sai Baba temple and politicians from Ahmednagar have withdrawn their strike over the controversy over Sai Baba’s birthplace, the row refuses to die down. Elected representatives from Parbhani district on Tuesday called for a State-level committee to determine that Pathri village in the district is the mystic’s birthplace.

On Monday, a delegation from Shirdi, including members of the Shri Saibaba Sansthan Trust, Congress leader and Revenue Minister Balasaheb Thorat and Shiv Sena MP Sadashiv Lokhande, had expressed satisfaction over Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray’s assurances.

However, elected representatives, local legislators and members of the Sri Sai Janmasthan Temple in Pathri passed a resolution at a gram sabha in Pathri that a delegation would shortly meet the CM and submit concrete evidence of the village being Sai Baba’s birthplace.

“When the Chief Minister recently announced a ₹100 crore grant for the development of Pathri, we take it that the development of the village into a site for spiritual tourism was based on the fact that it was Sai Baba’s birthplace … So, we are not seeking funds merely for Pathri’s development, but on the basis that it was Sai Baba’s birthplace,” said MLC and NCP leader Babajani Durrani, a trustee of the Pathri temple.

Mr. Durrani said they will submit all 29 pieces of proof which allegedly show Pathri to be Sai Baba’s birth place, and that they would urge the CM to form a committee to settle the matter.

Sena MP from Parbhani, Sanjay Jadhav, said he was willing to resign if it was proved that Pathri was not the mystic’s birthplace. “We are not saying this just for the sake of it. It is clearly mentioned in government records. The 1967 district gazette shows Pathri as the saint’s birthplace … If Shirdi can give proof to the contrary, we will accept it, else they should accept our contention,” Mr. Jadhav said.

Both leaders also objected to an editorial in Sena mouthpiece Saamana which said nobody could say where Sai Baba was born and he simply “appeared” in Shirdi. The editorial said the controversy was “unwarranted” and Mr. Thackeray ought not to be blamed for it, as he had not referred to Pathri as Sai Baba’s birthplace of his own accord, but on the basis of some historians’ version.

“The editorial is written by Saamana’s editor [Sena MP Sanjay Raut]. It may be his personal opinion, but I do not believe it is the Shiv Sena’s … we will convince Mr. Thackeray that Pathri is indeed Sai Baba’s birthplace,” Mr. Durrani said.

On Sunday, Shirdi had observed a total shutdown in protest against Mr. Thackeray’s statement that Pathri was Sai Baba’s birthplace.

Parbhani residents have alleged that their Shirdi counterparts fear that the development of Pathri would have a detrimental effect on Shirdi’s economy by reducing the devotee footfall. Shirdi residents have argued that while they have no problems with funds being given to Pathri, the village should not be decreed Sai Baba’s birthplace because he had never mentioned his place of origin or religion.

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Printable version | Feb 23, 2020 7:17:04 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/sai-baba-birthplace-row-parbhani-group-to-ask-cm-to-form-committee/article30619656.ece

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