27 May 2012

Disinformation Campaign on Dr. Radhikaranjan Das – by Sridharan

A subtle disinformation campaign has been launched against Dr. Radhikaranjan Das, and the Registrar himself, Shri Manoj Das Gupta, is allegedly responsible for it. The word that is now going around is that Dr Radhikaranjan has been told to stop teaching in the School not because he had written an article defaming the Trustees, but because he was polluting the minds of the children with the Peter Heehs issue; that he had already been pulled up once by the authorities, and that he had apologised to them, promising never to repeat his misdemeanour; that he had continued to pollute the young minds despite his promise and repeated warnings from the School Committee, and that he was finally told to discontinue his classes because there was no other option left for them. What a wonderful presentation of utter falsehood! One is reminded of a quotation from Savitri in the canto called Descent into Night:

His rigorous logic made the false seem true.
Amazing the elect with holy lore
He spoke as with the very voice of God.
The air was full of treachery and ruse;
Truth-speaking was a stratagem in that place;

(Sri Aurobindo, Savitri, CWSA, Vol. 33, p 207)

I draw the reader’s attention to the last line because it is so apt in the present context. So what actually happened in this case? We have come to know from Dr Radhikaranjan that he was indeed called by the School Committee in February of this year and was told by them not to speak to the children on the issue of Peter Heehs. (Note the sincere and fearless admission on his side.) But there the similarity with the Registrar’s version ends. On that “fateful day”, he was asked with utmost gravity, “Were you discussing about Peter Heehs with the children?” Dr Radhikaranjan replied, “Yes, I used to. But now I am not.” He was then warned not to bring the students into this issue, though he could have his personal opinion, upon which he maintained a dignified silence. That was all that happened. There was no promise, no repeated warnings, no repeated breaking of the law (if that can be called as such, for the Ashram teachers are generally quite free to speak to the students about everything on earth, including sundry matters). So that is how truth is turned into falsehood; the basic fact is peppered with concocted side-events to present a very different picture of the same event -- we are already familiar with this method perfected by “Sri” Peter Heehs!

But there is matter for serious thought, even if the Registrar is right and Dr. Radhikaranjan is wrong in the narration of the facts. Is not Peter Heehs made unnecessarily into a larger than life issue? (Heehs has literally become the Betaal (the demon) to frighten howling babies into silence or a threat to make the kids eat their food without protest.) Why is the Registrar (or the Managing Trustee of the Ashram) so much against the teachers or other Ashramites speaking about Peter Heehs? By ruthlessly suppressing all talk about Peter Heehs, is he not actually generating more interest in Peter Heehs? Further, when he has gone recently public with his famous “We neither prescribe nor proscribe” statement, is this not a clear case of proscription? Moreover, when the whole Ashram is aflame with this issue, resulting in a couple of dharnas by protesting inmates and devotees, is it not but natural for a little of that commotion to seep into the classrooms, especially in a close-knit community such as the Ashram? Will Manoj Das Gupta tell the students tomorrow not to cough or sneeze because it is not part of the school curriculum?

Even from his own point of view, Manoj Das Gupta should have simply ignored Dr Radhikaranjan’s article on the Peter Heehs issue. By taking an overly  serious note of it and reacting with such drastic measures on a teacher who has has been teaching in the Ashram School from the past thirty years and has dedicated his life to the Ashram, Manoj Das Gupta himself has become the butt of severe criticism. The future generations are certainly not going to pardon him for his egoistic and revengeful action on Dr. Radhikaranjan Das!

Sridharan

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