16 Mar 2012

Auroville Working Committee Stops Sraddhalu Ranade’s Lectures at Savitri Bhavan

Shortly after the incident of 27 February, 2012 (the so-called scuffle between Dr Datta and those who protested against the Trustees of Sri Aurobindo Ashram), the members of the Working Committee of Auroville stopped Sraddhalu Ranade’s lectures at the Savitri Bhavan. The WC members were too eager to listen to the grossly exaggerated account of Arindam & Co, who presented it as a physical assault on Dr Dilip Datta by a violent group of fundamentalists. This is certainly not a sober reaction from people who claim to represent an attempt at world unity. It looks more like a bunch of virulent supporters of Peter Heehs who would speak of freedom of speech when a fellow American is affected and pontificate on collective responsibility when they want to crack down on the freedom of speech of their enemies! What hypocrisy! Besides, have the WC members thought of the political consequences of such an immature decision apart from the Western chauvinism that is so starkly exhibited? Have they also not been caught in this Westerners vs Indians conflict unleashed by Peter Heehs?

You would say, “The WC has cracked down on Sraddhalu’s rights because he was responsible for the “assault” on Dr Dilip Datta and the other Trustees of Sri Aurobindo Ashram, who are all Indians.” But is it not true that the WC gives its unthinking support to the Trustees because the Trustees support Peter Heehs, who is a Westerner? Would they have supported the Trustees if the latter had been against Peter Heehs? Certainly not! So after all, the WC members (who are mostly Westerners) are basically supporting another Westerner! And so any Indian who goes against their feelings and dares to speak the truth has to face their ire and be debarred of his freedom of speech! Has history rolled back and are we back to pre-independence days! I would like to remind these Westerners not to take such chauvinistic positions, for one day or the other, the tide will turn and the docile Indians will rise up en masse, and then it will be too late to lisp beautiful quotations of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother on world unity. Of course, there would always be Indians who are sycophants of Westerners in the name of “cultural exchange” or who are married to Westerners making it difficult for them to break relations with them. Or who are overly tolerant of the whims and fancies of Westerners who have still not got over their colonial hangover. But luckily there are also Westerners in Auroville who can rise above their national sense and act according to higher principles rather than give in to this natural chauvinism which they are often not even aware of until somebody shouts, “Hey, you are stepping on my toes!”


  1. It is clear that the WC does not represent the spirit of Auroville but is functioning as an exclusive club of petty egos and small-minded individuals who are acting like the place belongs to them instead of the other way around. In that respect at least they are the spitting image of the Ashram Trust. One wonders how "world unity" is going to be furthered by those who are pursuing such a divisive agenda based on personal alliances and individual likes and dislikes. The great gods who have descended from the progressive and liberal heavens of the West are jealously guarding their monopoly on freedom of expression of their fellow semi-divine beings and along with it their freedom to suppress others who don't obediently consent to fit into the same cultural mould. This world unity has the stink of the same sort of world unity that the British tried to foist on India and the world not so long ago.

  2. It's the Americans (surprise, surprise) like Peter Heehs and Rich Carlson who lit the fuse and who are sitting back and enjoying the fun while the slavish Arindam/Filio gang does their bidding. Like you indicate, all this could change in a flash and it will. The strange thing is that Rich Carlson does not even respect Mother or Sri Aurobindo beyond the cursory as his frequent comments indicate. Along with a UC Davis nurse, this troublemaker started a web site to defame senior Ashramites and yet this Pondy gang has no qualms in mindlessly supporting this bunch and even contributing to that site.

  3. Here is the WC's "shock" at Francois Gautier's articles: http://www.auroville.org/wc_statement_on_francois_gauthier.htm

    When it comes to an outspoken person who does not conform to the left/liberal political line then suddenly this group of two-faced Januses is keen to remind everybody that "residents of Auroville do not engage in politics". But in protecting one of their own gurus, this freedom loving bunch suddenly sees no problem in wading knee-deep into Ashram politics to suppress the freedom of others. Truly pathetic.