Nirbija examines the Italian response to Netflix’s Wild Wild Country as reported in the latest issue of magazine Re Nudo magazine.
Italy is a great lab for social and spiritual experiments. The Italian quarterly magazine Re Nudo (Naked King) has reflected them for nearly 50 years. Many of their rebellious contributors became Osho’s sannyasins. Majid Valcarenghi, its editor in chief, is Osho’s Ambassador for Italy. The recent edition, No. 41, digs into the multifaceted background of the Wild Wild Country Netflix series. The articles spreading across 40 pages intend, as Majid states in the editorial “…to introduce the new generation of friends of Osho to a period of history the way we have experienced and interpreted it in Italy.”
Contrary to the views expressed by US officials in WWC, Re Nudo focuses on the events in Rajneeshpuram and Osho’s jailing as a politically motivated “..story of persecution”. In a hair-raising interview from 1986 by OTI with the investigative reporter and author of Passage to America, Max Brecher, we are reminded again that his arrest happened without a court’s arrest warrant. The documents later presented at the US trial, blank and unsigned, could as well have been “toilet paper”, says Brecher. Re Nudo quotes Osho’s public declaration that he had been poisoned by radioactive substances in an Oklahoma jail.
Many articles fill in the information gaps or correct the facts that the WWC documentary propagated. They remind the readers of the impressive Italian public movement of those years to obtain a visa for Osho to enter Italy while on his ‘world tour’ in 1986, supported by the Radical Party. These articles are mostly reproduced from back issues of the Italian Liberation Times, the paper Majid founded specifically to support the public opinion campaign to grant an entry visa for Osho.
Other articles deal with the motion of the European Parliament in March 1986 to prohibit Osho’s entry into its member states. Osho was considered to “be a threat to the youth.” Sannyasin and radicals of the Radical Party (PR) from Florence, coordinated by Vincenzo Donvito, responded with a popular petition addressed to the European Parliament denouncing the violation of the inspiring principles of the European Community on freedom of speech, opinion and movement.”
20,000 signatures were collected in Italy. Osho had suggested Majid start a movement in Italy to be called the Revolutionary Scientific Party. The Radical Party held a meeting and invited Hasya, Osho’s international secretary, to present a message from the Master. Finally the battle was won and the visa had to be granted, although with discriminating conditions. (The visa had finally not been used as by that time Osho had already returned to India.)
Yeah, those were the years of Wild Wild Italy!
In a section called ‘Noi c’eravamo’ (We have been there), Re Nudo also features touching personal accounts of sannyasins who were at Rajneeshpuram and found it “paradise and hell.” Svarup Disegni, Pratibha De Stoppani, Rita Upadhi Maggi, Prem Upchara and Anand Ida’s recollections merit to be translated into English for a wider public. Here for now a few excerpts:
“What a reality check it was to see under the eyes of the whole world the good and bad that had come out of us,” shares Ida in a quote from her and Majid’s white book, Operazione Socrate (Operation Socrates) (1995) about the Rajneeshpuram events. “How many times has Osho alerted us about the dangers of religion, ideology and ‘ism’ created in good faith to keep some of the light the Master radiates when he is alive. Osho, in silence in the first three years of the Ranch, gave free way for us to express what we were capable of.” When Osho started speaking again, “Every day he exposed the facts and investigative findings with the audacity and the love of a great surgeon who exposes the wounds of a patient to help them heal.”
Upadhi is quoted from her recently published book, La magia della vita: “The master spoke of Sheela [the in-charge of the commune, ed.] and her staff morning and evening, continuously. It was so painful to hear him denounce everything that had happened, acknowledging our blindness, our inability to see and act…We were not better than others: our lack of consciousness had created everything that also happens in the world.”
Upchara shares that when she viewed the six-hour series Wild Wild Country in one go, “…I found myself not only crying but intensely sobbing for the first two parts! Out of sadness, nostalgia, love and infinite gratitude. Just to see these arid hills, each glance of Osho, and the faces of each and every sannyasin who was there with me in those years, including Sheela’s… But how can we say and come close to explain what our journey with Osho really is? How can you share something you can only feel. […] It would be like talking about falling in love, to someone who has never felt it. My story, our story with the Master is a stroke of lightning that concerns the infinite, life, a search for meaning beyond accidental contingency. And that is unexplainable…”
Re Nudo is on sale as print version at news stands in Italy and has an online PDF download version for sale at: www.renudo.it.
The Re Nudo team is completed by Elisabetta Galluzzi and Dhyan Anjee for the administration side, and by Akam Poli, Mouji and Menaka Pizzorno who are responsible for web presence and design.
My India – Majid reflects on his life as a sannyasin and former head of the Osho Miasto commune in Tuscany, and also on his role as Osho’s Ambassador for Italy and as editor in chief of the left-wing magazine Re Nudo
Article by Nirbija
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