29 Dec 2013

The Crooked Registrar of the Ashram School – by Banamali Mishra

Manoj Das Gupta, the Registrar of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram International Centre of Education and other members of the School Committee along with their advisers have been adopting the most crooked means to save themselves from contempt of Court. This is in reference to Radhikaranjan Das’s case which was filed in Pondicherry Court last year in June 2012. The Registrar and the School Committee know too well that the verdict of the case was in Radhikaranjan’s favour, that is, to completely restore his classes in the Ashram School. The Court Order had created fear in the mind of the Registrar as there was already a contempt of Court pending in his name. The Court had passed an Order in December 2012 not to stop Radhikaranjan’s classes, which the Registrar had blatantly disobeyed. He knew the consequences of a violation of a Court Order, so he wanted to create a false impression of having complied with it in the school session starting on 16 December, 2012. He gave Radhikaranjan a note telling him to fix his classes with the Higher Course students and yet prevented him from taking any classes. How did he do it?
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21 Dec 2013

Analysis of the Preface of P. Heehs’ The Lives of Sri Aurobindo, CUP, 2008 (Part 3) – A Zombified Disciple

Murders in the Land of the Naïve – 5

Peter Heehs wrote Sri Aurobindo: A Brief Biography, OUP, 1989 (Bio-1), and The Lives of Sri Aurobindo, CUP, 2008, (Bio-2), and a life-sketch.[1] My attitude and approach to Bio-2 Preface is empowered by its own diktat: Biographers must take their documents as they find them…, paying as much attention to what is written by the subject’s enemies as by his friends, not giving special treatment even to the subject’s own version of events. Accounts by the subject have exceptional value, but they need to be compared against other narrative accounts, more important, against documents that do not reflect a particular point of view. I take this preface at face value, compare it against other narrative accounts and facts that do not reflect its version of events, and analyse it with its device – critical openness of a seeker of truth. In the resultant exposé, Lives of Marcher, ‘Marcher’ is a fusion of his forebears Catherine Mayo (1867-1940) and William Archer (1856-1924), though Marcherism – degrading the Sanatana Dharma and vilifying the greatest children of Mother India, was born centuries before Mayo-Archer. Peter Marcher Heehs first encountered Sri Aurobindo in 1968. To encounter means to meet face to face, defy, oppose, confront. Of the too few exposed Marchers, ours alone continues to thrive at his subject’s expense. But its entire credit goes to his Daemon, a special emission of “the falsehood of the mental, vital and physical Powers and Appearances that still rule the earth-Nature”.[2]
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14 Dec 2013

Response to the Auroville Today Report on Ashram Affairs (2) – by Sridharan

I come now to the second part of the article on Ashram affairs in the Auroville Today issue of October 2013. The writer quotes one Mr Govardhan Dave in support of his own pre-determined ideas on the present state of affairs in Sri Aurobindo Ashram.

Auroville Today: The attacks, obviously, have no longer anything to do with the book The Lives of Sri Aurobindo. “One can reasonably assert that it is not the controversial book of Peter Heehs, but the move to remodel the constitution of Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust that constitutes the hostile attack on Her Work,” wrote Govardhan Dave, a senior and scholarly disciple of Sri Aurobindo who was in close touch with Ambalal Purani and considered to be M.P. Pandit’s right hand man in Gujarat.

A word on Mr Govardhan Dave’s background would not be out of place here. Mr. Dave’s claim of being the right hand man of M.P. Pandit in Gujarat and the left-hand man of A.B. Purani amounts to practically nothing. Dave is presently embroiled in a court case over the possession of a School in Gujarat. The Sri Aurobindo Society had actually stepped in to offer financial aid when the School managed by Dave was running in loss, but it withdrew when the court case filed by the latter threatened to entangle it further. Finally, it is clear that the Auroville Today editor is simply using Dave to fire from behind his shoulder rather than take him as an authority on the internal affairs of the Ashram, which he is certainly not. The first posting on Dave’s site is in fact dated December 2012 whereas the movement against the Trust had started long back in August 2008, first with regard to Peter Heehs, and then in other matters relating to the general administration of the Ashram Trust in August 2012, when an enquiry on the Ashram Trustees was sought from the Puducherry Collector. So where was Dave all these years and why did he not pronounce his opinions earlier? I wonder if he is at all familiar with the present state of affairs in Sri Aurobindo Ashram!

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9 Dec 2013

Reply to Samir Sarkar – by Bireshwar Choudhury

[Samir Sarkar, son of Kalu Sarkar, objected to the publication of the letter of Kalu Sarkar to Manoj Das Gupta on this website. The following is a reply to his letter by Bireshwar Choudhury.]

Samir Sarkar: Dear Administrator,
I write to you on behalf of my father, Kalu SARKAR, after having consulted him.

I know that my father was disturbed a few years ago in regards to Peter Heehs' book. Most of his opinion was built on hearsay. Having said that he DOES NOT subscribe to the views in the above letter any longer. 

Bireshwar Choudhury: Dear Samir, first of all, why should you write on behalf of your father Kalu Sarkar? Why cannot he speak for himself? He is after all the son of a revolutionary who faced the wrath of British rule in pre-independent India! He should not withdraw a statement that he undeniably made when the Peter Heehs issue rocked the entire Ashram community in the year 2008. Moreover, you seem to be patronising your father, pooh-poohing him like an excitable kid, who had gone berserk in a state of emotional frenzy. This is exactly what the Managing Trustee said and did at that time with those who rightly and bravely reacted against Peter Heehs’s derogatory book on Sri Aurobindo. He also put on an air of “dignified silence” and pretentious samata, when he was actually dictated by other compulsions. Can you also be more explicit about how your father does not subscribe to the views that he had expressed earlier? If he now thinks that Peter Heehs should be given the Nobel Prize for literature for the Lives of Sri Aurobindo, let him say so himself, and we will publish his statement on this very blog! He might now withdraw his criticism of the Managing Trustee, but that does not exonerate Peter Heehs. His harsh criticism of Manoj Das Gupta was made in relation to the Peter Heehs issue, so the two cannot be easily separated! Finally, it has come to our knowledge that it was because of the admission of his grandchild (meaning your child) that he stopped roaring like a wounded lion and started whining like a cat waiting for its daily quota of milk. If this is right, shame on him and shame on you!
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4 Dec 2013

Kalu Sarkar’s letter to Manoj Das Gupta

[The following is a letter of Kalu Sarkar, son of the famous revolutionary Sudhir Sarkar, and brother of Mona Sarkar. Kalu Sarkar expresses in this letter exactly what most Ashramites feel in the depth of their hearts but cannot utter due to the fear of reprisal from the Managing Trustee of the Ashram.]

The man if he does not stop short  and abandon his way of error, has eventually the Asura full-born in him, and once he has taken that enormous turn away from the Light and Truth, he can no more reverse the fatal speed of his course because of the very immensity of the misused divine power in him until he has plumbed the depths to which he falls, found bottom and seen where the way has led him, the power exhausted and misspent, himself down in the lowest strata of the soul-nature, which is Hell. Only when he understands and turns to the light, does that other truth of the Gita come in, that even the greatest sinner, the most impure and violent evil-doer is saved the moment he turns to adore and follows after the Godhead within him. Then, simply by that turn, he gets very soon into the sattwic way which leads to perfection and freedom. 

(Essays on the Gita – Sri Aurobindo)

Att: Managing Trustee

1. This is in reference to your letter to X without a name, without a date and without a signature. If you want everybody to love you, why don’t you practise the very first prayer the Mother has given us behind every notebook of our institution, to be straightforward, honest, frank and honourable children. It is the heart that speaks the Truth and the Truth comes out from these noble qualities.
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29 Nov 2013

Response to Auroville Today Report on Ashram Affairs (1) ― Sridharan

The Auroville Today report on Ashram affairs in the issue of October, 2013 is a “thoroughly researched” (!) presentation of facts by a lawyer who has been given the job of defending the Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust. He has therefore necessarily presented only one side of the story and has left out all the events and documents that are not compatible with his whitewashed picture of the Ashram Trust. The foundation of his thesis is predetermined: the Trustees are angels fallen from the sky and those who are protesting against them are hostile forces attacking the Mother’s work. In that case, Auroville should also be considered as part of that falsehood because the Mother had originally given the task of building Auroville to Sri Aurobindo Society and not to those who rebelled against it and brought about a Govt. intervention! Navajat Poddar has indeed been so much demonised by Aurovillians that I would now like to believe that he was the Mother’s instrument! Why don’t the Aurovillians don’t even mention him as the man who first proposed Auroville to the Mother, who then used him as an instrument to execute it? It is high time that he should be given due credit for his role.

I will quote below some of the salient passages in the Auroville Today report and give my response.
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23 Nov 2013

A Comparison of Sexual Assaults – Bireshwar Choudhury

While the whole nation follows the discussion on the Tarun Tejpal sex scandal, have the Ashramites forgotten that far more serious incidents have happened at Sri Aurobindo Ashram? Or will they still pretend like Manoj Das Gupta (the Managing Trustee) that nothing untoward has ever happened in the Ashram? I quote below the statements of two victims of alleged sexual assault: (1) that of the young Tehelka lady reporter who accused the chief editor of Tehelka, Tarun Tejpal, of sexually assaulting her, which led to an unconditional apology by him and the decision to recuse himself for the next six months; and (2) that of a young Oriya lady who was molested by one Mukesh Shah in one of the guest houses of Sri Aurobindo Ashram. The emotionally shattered victim went weeping to the concerned authorities of the Ashram, but no action was taken on Mukesh Shah because he happened to be one of the key henchmen of the Trustees. Instead the lady was told by the Managing Trustee to either bear with or concede to the sexual solicitations of the Guest House manager or to go back to her native place, because this was the unalterable way of life at the Ashram!!! I suppose this is one of the finest examples of Manoj Das Gupta’s remarkable administration of the Ashram Trust!

The comparison between the two statements below is striking. In fact, the sexual offence of Mukesh Shah is far more serious than the alleged sexual misconduct of Tarun Tejpal.
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20 Nov 2013

RAJ TV Programme in Tamil titled “KOPPIUM” (17.09.2013) ― English Translation

The Disclaimer at the beginning states that their intention is not to smear anyone but to inform and awaken people regarding emergent issues.

The Compere opens the video mentioning that for reforms in the life of society, great people and Gyanis make efforts and establish institutions to enable people to live in accordance with their ideas and ideals. After the lifetime of such savants, it is however doubtful whether those who manage the institutions in subsequent periods have the same sense of dedication to the high ideals or function with the noble idea of service to others.

One such institution which is presented in  the present episode  is  the world renowned Sri Aurobindo Ashram at Pondicherry (Puducherry) wherein there are allegations of misdeeds by the Ashram Trustees, including  horror stories  of sex torture meted out to  female inmates by addicts and the institution  being under the control of a secret mafia.

Sri Aurobindo (whose original name was Aurobindo Ackroyd Ghose) was a great freedom fighter and veritably can be called the Maharishi for the Freedom struggle of the country. He turned to spirituality and said that true freedom is not merely on the political front but in spirituality. The Ashram, which came into existence during his lifetime, became the centre for spreading his message of spiritual ideas to people and to serve the purpose of progress in their spiritual life.

It is a fact that the Ashram in Pondicherry has been in existence for many years now and people from near and far (from within the country and from other countries) have come and settled here after surrendering all their property, wealth and riches to the Ashram. The followers of Sri Aurobindo have no caste differences, no differences on account of religion, no prejudices with regard to gender, no bias towards people hailing from different countries. In a sense, all are followers of Sri Aurobindo without any differentiation. Such a prestigious institution which is renowned all over the world is presently being mentioned as a place where there is sexual harassment of inmates, violation of human rights, embezzlement of financial resources, and alienation of real estate properties of the Ashram by the henchmen and their principals who manage the affairs of the Ashram.
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15 Nov 2013

RAJ TV Video ― Sex Scandals @ Aurobindo Ashram (Koppiyam, 17 September, 2013)

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8 Nov 2013

The Bat Policy – by Banamali Mishra

I am reminded of a story that I had heard in my childhood. As a child I enjoyed the story and found it very funny. As I grew up and acquired a little knowledge of biology, this story became interesting to me in a different light. Now with advancing years I sometimes look back and think how many human beings, though evolved, are still like bats in many respects.

Let me not keep you in suspense. I will recount the story now.  Many millenniums ago, long before human beings came into existence, prehistoric birds, animals and dinosaurs ruled the earth with their might. There were constant fights among them to gain supremacy. It was clear that animals were the kings on land and birds had unchallenged supremacy in air. Once there was a big fight. The huge strong birds carried large stones up in the air and dropped them on the animals, killing many of them. They swooped down on the small animals and carried them away. It was clear that the birds were winning the battle.

The bat had not joined the power struggle. It was a fence-sitter. It was unable to decide whether it was a bird or an animal. Seeing the obvious victory of the birds, it joined the side of the birds and fought against the animals. The birds asked him, “Why did you join us?’’ It replied, “Because I am a bird and I fly. The animals don’t fly.’’
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1 Nov 2013

Sridharan Replies to Arpit Agarwal of SAICE forum

I have picked out this particular passage of Arpit Agarwal in a never-ending competition in insulting Alok Pandey that took place on the SAICE forum, because there is in it a modicum of decency, and the argument (whatever be its worth) is well stated. This is truly exceptional in a forum which is usually busy with mud-slinging at the lowest level of verbal exchange. I wonder how Arpit Agarwal, who happens to be the site’s moderator, bears with all the sound and fury that rages therein. I can only compare his attitude with that of parents who leave their five year old wards in a closed room and let them fight, shout, laugh and weep to their hearts’ content while ensuring that they don’t beat each other black and blue by occasionally peeping into  the room and exercising a word of caution. Arpit Agarwal has done the same; he has peeped in at the right time when things were going out of control in the forum and raised a point which is very pertinent, though I certainly will not agree with it. The point that he has made is with regard to the reason (or rather lack of reason) for not going against the Trustees of Sri Aurobindo Ashram even if they are in the wrong. I quote passages from his letter dated 21.10.2013 to Ashit Kumar Mitra (of Kasser Trust, or is it "Cusser" Trust?) regarding Alok Pandey; these are followed by my answers:
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27 Oct 2013

Press Release Issued by Thiru Ashok Anand, M.L.A., on 26 October, 2013

BACKGROUND

Sri Aurobindo Ashram is known all over world as the home of Sri Aurobindo’s unique and pathbreaking Integral Yoga. Sri Aurobindo Ashram is also the Pride of Puducherry and occupies a central position in its cultural and spiritual landscape.

Sri Aurobindo Ashram is administered by Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust with five Trustees at the helm of affairs. There is no election or democratic selection process of these Trustees. Trustees remain Trustees for life and have no accountability.

While Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust is a Public Charitable Trust, it does not come under the R.T.I.

As per various reports, the Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust occupies over 60% of Puducherry’s prime real estate valued at over Rs.10,000 crores by very conservative estimates. It receives hundreds of crores in donations every year as also Income Tax Exemptions from the Central Government and various benefits from the Government of Puducherry.

Over the last 10 years, there have been consistent and serious reports of violations of human rights, sexual harrasement and serious crimes against women, financial mismanagement and evasion of taxes, etc, and all in the name of God.

The Trustees are involved in hundreds of legal cases all over India. The Managing Trustee is currently out on bail for forgery in a land grabbing case and the children of other Trustees are allegedly involved in shady real estate transactions involving crores of rupees in Public Funds. Annually, the Trustees spend crores of rupees in legal fees from Public Funds in order to defend themselves individually.
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24 Oct 2013

Inquiry into allegations against Ashram begins ― The Hindu (24 October, 2013)

T.L. Viswanatha Iyer, retired Judge of Kerala High Court, who was appointed by the Madras High Court in the place of Justice P.R. Raman to look into allegations of sexual harassment of women, children and others at Sri Aurobindo Ashram, began the inquiry on Wednesday.

Justice Raman was relieved of the responsibility as he expressed inability to complete the probe within three months.

He was of the view that it would take at least six months to complete the process.

About 50 persons including complainants and respondents from inmates of Sri Aurobindo Ashram and Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust appeared before Mr. Iyer when he began the inquiry at a training hall of the Chief Secretariat here. Sizeable number of women also appeared before him.

The next hearing is likely in the first week of December.

As per the Madras High Court direction, the inquiry would focus on whether allegations of sexual harassment of women and children in the Ashram were true and whether there was any truth in the allegation regarding violation of human rights and denial of fundamental rights to the inmates.


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23 Oct 2013

Correspondence between Manoj Das and Pranab Kumar Bhattacharya in June 1994 (2)

[We publish the second letter that Manoj Das wrote to Pranab Kumar Bhattacharya on 15 June, 1994 (read the first letter in the previous post). Manoj Das got the rudest shock of his life when Dada wrote back, “I have read your letter dated 15.6.94. Now I am absolutely convinced that you are a fool and an idiot.” [emphasis added] Manoj Das still persisted, “I feel tempted to agree with you. Indeed, had I not been a fool and an idiot, I would not perhaps have made an effort to make you reason our actions in a wider perspective.” He ended with a final call for harmony and reason in a third and final letter to Dada, whom he considered (despite the beating he received from him) “to be someone very special”. He then took up the matter with Harikant Patel, the then Managing Trustee, who did not want to intervene. It is said that Manoj Das then honourably resigned from Trusteeship for “the sake of upholding truth and justice”, but it was not exactly so. According to people close him, he resigned in a dramatic way to make a big public scene and put pressure on Harikant Patel, which unfortunately did not happen as envisaged by him. Instead his resignation was quietly accepted by the Managing Trustee, making it impossible for him to come back again into the Ashram Trust Board. Both Harikant Patel and Manoj Das Gupta, the present Managing Trustee, badly let him down in this matter. It is perhaps because of this humble pie he had to eat, along with the ignominy of having been insulted by one of the closest attendants of the Mother and one of her most respected disciples, that Manoj Das learnt the political lesson of his life ― never to go against the Establishment. The proof of my conjecture is in the fact that he now so faithfully toes the line of the Trustees despite their going astray from the central tenets of the Ashram.  How many times he has repeated that the Trustees can never be wrong despite their human weaknesses, how many times he has defended their wrong decisions with regard to the administration of the Ashram!  But what about his own case of confrontation with Dada in June 1994? If he says he was certainly right in going against Dada at that time, then why should he raise objections now with regard to those who are presently confronting the Trustees? Bireshwar]
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17 Oct 2013

Correspondence between Manoj Das and Pranab Kumar Bhattacharya in June 1994 (1)

[Of late Manoj Das is very much in the public domain writing long-winded letters full of platitudes, without changing a wee bit his crassly subservient attitude towards the Ashram Trustees. But in June 1994 he was a different man and he had dared to challenge Pranab Kumar Bhattacharya, the head of the Ashram Physical Education Department. The issue on which he mainly differed with “Dada” was the expulsion of a child, who had been admitted into the Ashram School against the rules of the Physical Education Dept. I will not go into the merits of the rule itself, but I will draw the reader’s attention to the fact that Manoj Das had the guts to challenge in writing the unfairness of the rule in general and its wrong application in this particular case. Dada dismissed Manoj Das’s letter to him as “simply rubbish” and told him to mind his own business. This eventually led to the resignation of Manoj Das from the Board of Ashram Trustees. Perhaps it is because of this shock and the bitter pill of defeat he had to swallow that Manoj Das now faithfully toes the line of the Ashram Trustees and writes miles of foolscap pages in their favour! The correspondence between Manoj Das and PKB is long and will be published in at least two instalments. ― Bireshwar]
  

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12 Oct 2013

New enquiry officer to probe Aurobindo Ashram case (The Hindu, 10 October 2013) – Bireshwar Choudhury

Justice T.L. Viswanatha Iyer, a former Judge of the Kerala High Court, will be the enquiry officer (EO) in the place of Justice P.R. Raman, to look into allegations of sexual harassment of women and children in the Sri Aurobindo Ashram in Puducherry.

By consent, in an order on August 30, Justice K.K. Sasidharan appointed Mr. Justice Raman, also a former Judge of the Kerala High Court, to probe the allegations. Pursuant to the order, Mr. Justice Raman conducted a preliminary enquiry. The next enquiry is scheduled from October 23 to 26.

The EO appeared to have received a representation from 165 persons from Odisha, stated to be ashram devotees, and who had some information regarding the issues under consideration. The original understanding was that the enquiry would be confined to complaints from the inmates of the ashram and the local MLA, and as such, it would take at least three months. The EO was of the view that it would take a minimum six months to complete the process. He, therefore, expressed his difficulty to continue as he had to come from Kochi frequently. He requested that he be relieved from the engagement.

Mr. Justice Sasidharan ordered that the enquiry would be in relation to the complaints received by the District Collector.

The present and former inmates of the ashram were at liberty to approach the EO, if they were aggrieved. It was open to the EO to take a decision with regard to participation of third parties, provided they satisfied that they were inmates of the ashram at a particular point of time. The EO should conclude the enquiry as early as possible and file a report before the High Court preferably by December 31. The matter has been posted for January 2, 2014.


Comment: Retired High Court Judge P.R. Raman, who was the previous Enquiry Officer, had called for the depositions of not only the inmates of Sri Aurobindo Ashram but of all other disciples and devotees of Sri Aurobindo staying in or outside Pondicherry. The enquiry was to be conducted in several stages and different notifications were to be issued to address the different categories of devotees and disciples of Sri Aurobindo. So how can the enquiry be limited to only the inmates of Sri Aurobindo Ashram?

The preamble of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust Deed states that “Sri Aurobindo Ashram is the home of persons who are the followers and disciples of Sri Aurobindo having faith in his philosophy and yoga.” That the beneficiaries of the Trust are the “disciples, devotees and inmates” is mentioned no less than half a dozen times in the Trust Deed.  This was sufficiently clarified in the last and only meeting of 27th September, 2013 presided by P.R. Raman when the question of a letter from Orissa signed by 165 devotees had come up. The scope of the enquiry had been even written into the minutes of the meeting by the honourable retired High Court Judge. How can the scope of the enquiry be changed now to exclude the non-inmates?  

The information provided by the Hindu news reporter seems to be biased and incorrect because it sends the wrong information to the public and paves the way for a quick and sham probe, which is what the Ashram Trustees want to get away with. A large number of devotees and disciples apart from the inmates fully maintained by the Ashram Trust are actually quite eager to depose in front of the Commission in order to set things right in Sri Aurobindo Ashram.

Below is a scan of a true copy of the minutes of P.R. Raman’s first meeting at Ananda Inn on the 27th of September 2013.
Bireshwar Choudhury
 
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6 Oct 2013

Reply to “A Last Appeal” of Prof Manoj Das ― by Sricharan Singh

Professor Manoj Das (nicknamed Dr. Faustus or Byakta Manoj) wrote on 22 April, 2013 “A Suggestion for Introspection” in reply to Sricharan Singh’s “Professor Manoj Das has Sold his Soul to the Devil”.  At the end of his reply, he said, “Dear Editor, if I have written this much, it is only with the hope that some of your readers might be expecting some clarifications on statements from me. I would not like to descend into the exercise again.” But immediately on 10 May, 2013, unable to restrain himself any longer, he wrote another letter under the title “A Last Appeal”. In this appeal, instead of replying to the points raised against him, he vomited profusely his anger in the form of abuses and curses on those who had dared to question him.
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28 Sep 2013

One-man Panel Begins Enquiry into Charges Against Aurobindo Ashram ― New Indian Express

New Indian Express Chennai Saturday 28 September 2013

Retired Judge P.R. Raman will probe allegations of sexual harassment of women in ashram and violation of human rights

P.R. Raman, Retired Judge of Kerala High Court who was appointed by the Madras High Court, has begun enquiry into the allegations against Sri Aurobindo Ashram.

Around 20 persons have deposed before the Judge who is assisted by Advocate Satya Priya after he sent notices to all petitioners (against the Ashram) and respondents to appear before him and depose in the case.

The retired Judge, who will be here until Saturday for the first sitting, will first hear the deposition from those who made the allegations and then will enquire with the authorities, other inmates and devotees of the Ashram as well as with administrative officials before returning for a second sitting on October 26, sources said.

The judge will probe into allegations of sexual harassment of women in the ashram, violation of human rights, denial of fundamental rights to ashram inmates, misappropriation of funds and illegal sale of ashram properties by the trustees brought in by certain inmates, devotees and MLAs.

Although an inquiry by the Deputy Collector was initiated in this regard by the Territorial administration, the Ashram Trust moved the High Court and obtained an interim stay contending that the inquiry was biased and far from being free and fair.

The allegations rocked the Assembly after the Ashram Trust obtained a stay and MLAs, led by Ashok Anand of the ruling AINRC, wanted the government to take control of the ashram by appointing an administrative officer for the Ashram Trust.

However, Chief Minister N. Rangasamy has said that he would take a decision in this regard only after consultations with the Law Department.

Meanwhile, while disposing the appeal against its order, the High Court appointed the retired Judge to look into the allegations.


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21 Sep 2013

Sricharan Singh’s Reply to the Letter to Dr. Gayatri

[The recent reply to Dr Gayatri’s “An Appeal to all the Children of Mother and Sri Aurobindo” has all the characteristics of Manoj Das. It has above all the feature that distinguishes him most, what I call “emotional gas”. After all, he is a story teller and cannot write anything more serious! (Even his stories usually end in killing the hero or heroine, as the case may be. He has a wry cynical humour and does not believe in happy endings. I hope he will not finish the story of Sri Aurobindo Ashram in the same manner!) In his letter to Dr. Gayatri, he is obviously castigating a fellow Oriya devotee for having dared to speak against the Trustees. The message that he sends across is: “How dare you raise your voice when I, in spite of being a great writer, submit myself (poor me!) to the grace of Manoj Das Gupta, through whom flows the Grace of the Divine Mother!” And how dare you criticise us senior sadhaks and sadhikas for being tamasic in our Yoga? (Did any of these senior inmates of the Ashram actually claim to have done Yoga, including Manoj Das himself? I thought that there was a general trend among the Ashramites not to claim anything of the kind, for they know too well their limitations.) But it is the use of the words “tamasic surrender” by Dr. Gayatri that did the trick. That ignited fire where all these days there was nothing but selfish contentment in the name of detachment. Manoj Das let out a roar of anguish as the arrow went straight into his soul and then the fireworks had to take place. But his name had to be hidden among the seventeen other signatures at the end of the letter. For anonymity permits more liberty, especially on the Net, and then what would the Sahitya Academy say of his use of the word “rump” in his letter to describe the rearguard of the rebel faction in the Ashram?

Sricharan Singh, an old nemesis of Manoj Das, has once again come forward to reply point by point to his letter written to Dr. Gayatri. I urge the readers to have a look once again at the highly interesting exchange of letters that had taken place earlier on this site between Sricharan Singh and Manoj Das. Long live the two combatants!]
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