Sadhguru’s ‘Taliban’ remark courts controversy

Sadhguru’s ‘Taliban’ remark courts controversy


Spiritual guru Jaggi Vasudev, popularly known as Sadhguru, courted controversy after he termed a Muslim student of the London School of Economics (LSE) as 'Proper Talibani'.

Soon after recognized his slip, spiritual guru Jaggi issued a clarification to the Student Union of the London School of Economics (LSESU) saying that the video had been wrongly edited. Mellowing the gravity, he also added that the word 'Taliban' is used in India to refer to an ‘over-enthusiastic person(ardent student)’.

The controversial remark was made when Jaggi Vasudev visited the London School of Economics (LSE) as part of his Youth and Truth series where he has been invited to engage with students. The slip of tongue from the spiritual guru came when he was interacting with a student of Pakistani origin, Bilal Bin Saqib, who was one of the hosts of 'Unplug with Sadhguru' event.

In a conversation recorded between the two, Bilal asked Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev about how he views life and stress. To which Jaggi Vasudev replied with a tongue in cheek response, 'This guy is a proper Taliban here.' When Bilal immediately asks about the comment 'Taliban', Jaggi Vasudev repeats, "Taliban, Taliban."

The Taliban is considered as a terrorist political movement which is currently waging war within Afghanistan. It is a terrorist group notorious for explosive violence. Following the ‘Taliban’ comment, the LSESU demanded that Jaggi Vasudev release a formal apology. “The LSESU is deeply disappointed in Sadhguru’s comments and views them as Islamophobic," stated the Student Union on its Tumblr page.

In a long-winded apology, Jaggi wrote: "This small video clip of a private conversation, which has been mischievously edited, is unfortunate. I would like to tell all those concerned that the word ‘Taliban’ in Arabic means an ‘ardent student’, which Bilal definitely is, as also the other two students are. This term is always used in India in relation to someone who is over enthusiastic. It is in that context that I was joking with Bilal, it is very unfortunate that it has been projected this way," said Jaggi Vasudev in his video and written clarification. "If this has in anyway offended or insulted anybody, this was not the intent. This private conversation was mischievously edited, with what intent, I am unable to fathom. I wish to anyway apologize to the London School of Economics and the Students Union, if it offended any of you in some way,".

However, the LSESU was not willing to buy this explanation.

"LSESU stands firmly on the earlier stance and deem the comments to be Islam phobic. We do not believe the video was "mischievously edited” and have heard no reports supporting the common use of ‘Taliban’ in India as meaning over-enthusiastic," said the student union on its social media page.

A spokesman of the Isha Foundation when contacted said that there was no ill will or intention to abuse or insults him [Bilal Bin Saqib]. It did not come out that way at any point in the conversation. It is not in Sadhguru’s heart to insult anybody, especially not this wonderful young man with so many aspirations and intentions for the world. It was further pointed out that apologies to the London School of Economics and the Students Union had already been given.