29 Feb 2012

Pondy Ashram Devotees Slam Book on Sri Aurobindo

Deccan Chronicle, Hyderabad, 27 February 2012

The Sri Aurobindo Ashram here is facing an embarrassing turmoil with a section of the inmates and devotees launching a three-day protest against the trustees of the ashram for their alleged failure to take action against inmate and US author Peter Heehs for making “denigrating” remarks against Sri Aurobindo and The Mother in his book, ‘The lives of Sri Aurobindo’.

The aggrieved inmates announced a silent protest from February 26-28 to exert pressure seeking dismissal of the present group of trustees and expulsion of Mr Heehs from the ashram community.

Mr Bijan Ghosh, a devotee and Supreme Court lawyer, told Deccan Chronicle that the Orissa government had proscribed the book in 2009. The book contains ‘derogatory’ and ‘malicious’ content about Sri Aurobindo, The Mother and the collective life at the ashram. We are going to intensify the agitation till our demands are met, he warned.

A section of the protesters also demanded the dismissal of the present trustees of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust. They demanded that the trust publicly declare that the book is factually incorrect and does not represent the views of the community and the trust and that Mr Heehs has abused his position at the archives. The trust should also withdraw the copyright permission to publisher Columbia University Press.

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