As the situation unravels in the Sri Aurobindo Ashram School, it is clear that Manoj Das Gupta is reluctant to give a written notice to Dr Radhikaranjan Das. At the same time, he would certainly not like the latter to continue teaching in the School. So the tactics that is being adopted from the last few days is to tell the students not to attend Dr. Radhikaranjan’s class. Indirect pressure is also put through the section-in-charge, caretakers and co-teachers so that the doctor gets embarrassed and goes away by himself. The close friends and family members of Manoj Das Gupta have been given the onerous responsibility of somehow making Dr. Radhikaranjan feel that he is no longer needed in the School. This is executed in various ways: accosting him on the street and upbraiding him for his disobedience (as Swadesh Chatterjee has done), or tell the students not to attend his classes in front of Dr. Radhikaranjan (as Manjushri Chatterjee did). To think that such undignified tactics is resorted to in a School which is supposed to produce “living souls” or “sun-eyed children of a marvellous Dawn”! What a pity!
But Dr Radhikaranjan is a brave man! He is not going to budge easily from his stand. He told us that he will sit in empty classrooms facing unoccupied chairs until the Registrar gives him a written notice clearly stating the reasons for terminating his service as a teacher. After all, he works for the Mother and not for Manoj Das Gupta! For readers who are not unfamiliar with the functioning of the Ashram, all the teachers in the Ashram School are volunteers and do not get paid for their work. In fact, all work is part of Yoga and is done as service to the Divine, which is why the biggest punishment you can mete out to a sincere, hardworking Ashramite is to remove him from his place of work, karmabhumi. Dr. Radhikaranjan certainly belongs to this category of Ashramites who enjoy doing their work and use it as a means for sadhana.
The statement of Swadesh Chatterjee should be brought to the attention of the reader. When Dr. Radhikaranjan demanded a written notice, Mr Chatterjee rudely said, “Did we give you a statement when you joined the School?” Apart from the deplorable ignorance of law the Committee member exhibits, he should be told that the times have changed, and that the Ashramites no longer feel as protected and safe as they felt when the Mother was physically present. Even when the Trust was in the hands of senior sadhaks who could wield power without arrogance, Ashramites felt safe and secure. But now they have to take their precautions and this is exactly what Radhikaranjan was doing by asking for a written notice.
Ms Jhumur Bhattacharya’s well-practised rhetoric should also be highlighted. She had flamboyantly announced, “Who can assassinate Sri Aurobindo? He cannot be touched.” She meant it of course in the symbolic sense of tarnishing Sri Aurobindo’s name. But have we not heard this statement too often to take it seriously? It was the Managing Trustee’s main defence for not doing anything with regard to Peter Heehs, and for not taking notice of a burning issue in spite of being in a position of responsibility where he could do something about it. But not only he insisted on doing nothing, thereby encouraging others to repeat Peter Heehs’s stunt, but gave reasons for his inaction and sanctified irresponsibility. Ms Bhattacharya was therefore simply repeating an old declaration which had lost all its relevance. She should think of something more original next time.