Land in India

In the past year or so we have received quite a few emails from a person in India who told us that he wants to give some land to the Mission. However, he never answered our replies to his emails. We concluded that the person who is sending these emails is not receiving our replies. So we decided to ask our members for help.

Around fifteen people wrote this person and some gave him our phone number. We then received a call from him. We all were excited and started talking to him about how we can go about doing this. We also started researching the ownership of land in India by people and/or organizations that are not Indian. We found out it is not allowed under Indian law.

We told him this. He said the way he does it is the old fashioned way that has been done in that culture for years. That is, we sign a contract of transfer of the land in front of the people in the village where the land is located. So everyone would know that the land is ours and that would be the end of it.

When we said that this does not seem legal and binding he told us that he had done this with other people as well. He gave us the name and information of a lady in the US to whom he had already given some land and a small temple!

We called her and she confirmed that, yes he did and she is traveling to the land and the temple soon. She also said she was planning on becoming an Indian citizen. Our understanding was that in this way she would take full, legal control of the land.

As we continued communicating with the person who had offered the land to the Mission, he started talking about sending him some money and helping him with his charitable works, etc. He would not satisfactorily answer the questions we had and sometimes it was hard to understand what he was saying.

So Maitreya eventually decided that we needed a local person to deal with the situation directly. After asking people we knew in the Mission and finding no one who could help, Maitreya asked His Indian friend Satish (the same person who was instrumental in Maitreya joining Ananda Marga) for help. He put us in touch with a lawyer who works close to where the person who offered the land lives.

The lawyer suggested that this person transfer the land to him (as he is an Indian citizen) and then he would lease the land to us for 99 years and make it perpetually renewable. Since Maitreya trusts Satish completely, we agreed.

However, when the lawyer told this person how we wanted to do it, he said he did not want to give the land to an Indian. He would only give it to people from the West.

After meditating on this matter for a while, a very practical and doable solution emerged. We told this person: How about you lease it to us with the same requirements for 99 years (perpetually renewable, etc.)! It was then that he returned with a different attitude and said he was going to give the land to someone who would do it his way. We said fine and indeed left him to FINE :).

Our conclusion was that he is looking for people to develop his land for him while he retains complete control over it. If he ever decided to take the land back, there would be no legal basis for the 'owner' from another country (in this case people from the west, and hopefully with a lot of money) to keep the land. So the developed land would return to him, improved beyond his wildest imagination. This conclusion was confirmed by our lawyer as this is a common practice there.

Thanks God for His Grace and Wisdom, and Satish and his lawyer friend (who charged us nothing for his services), God Bless them both, for helping us so that we found out all we wanted to know about this person and wasted very little time and resources on a sham.

Be aware of those who come to you in sheep's clothing but ...

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