Harish is the 12-year old son of our 30-year old maid; baby-no-name is her 6-month old grandson, the son of her adult daughter (not seen in these pix).
Harish is on summer vacation, visiting his mother here from his school-and-village-and-ashram at Puttaparthi. He is being educated (programmed ?) by Sai Baba’s system there, and is full af wondrous tales of Sai Baba’s miracles: “Sooo many miracles, Uncle! He pulled 3 tons of lingam from his mouth! And if you dance really, really nice, Uncle, he will put his hand to his chest, and a golden chain will appear for you!”
Sai Baba has undoubtedly done well by his followers here in India, numbering 6 million or more: hospitals, infrastructure, water, food, and schools like the very one that Harish attends (worldwide numbers are hard to verify but have been stated to be between 5 and 50 million). However, he is also under the shadow of many scandalous accusations involving murder, sexual abuse of children, and plain old trickery. We can’t help but wonder if Harish’s innocent and enthusiastic good looks may lead him somewhere bad; and we also wonder where else he might otherwise be. It’s a tough problem. Despite the persistent accusations, Sai Baba is fairly untouchable here politically, due at very least to his tremendous number of followers in India and around the world.
As for baby-no-name, it is apparently not uncommon for the Hindu people to wait from 12 days to up to a year to name a newborn child here; at some auspicious date during that time, there will be a naming ceremony . I kind of like that idea: give the child some time to make his essence known, and learn what his name wants to be, rather than immediately impose a name that is more arbitrarily determined.
The BBC has done a thorough exposé of Sai Baba, check it out here.