23 Jun 2013

Scheme Suit Update ― Sridharan

There has been a demand from our readers for an update on the Scheme Suit filed against the Trustees of Sri Aurobindo Ashram in August 2010 by five disciples of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. A Scheme Suit is filed against a public charitable Trust (in this case Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust) when there is a sufficient public cause and grievance, so the plaintiffs have to first ask “leave to sue” from the Court and show prima facie evidence of the grievance. This should not be confused with the admission of cases in general where only individual interests are affected. Admission of cases is usually decided by the judge on the basis of prima facie evidence provided by the plaintiffs, but in a scheme suit, this initial exercise is rendered more difficult by the law giving the public Trust (against whom the scheme suit is filed) a chance to defend itself and disprove the plaintiff’s case at the very outset. The reason for this extra procedure for admission is to discourage the filing of frivolous cases filed against a public institution. The plaintiff has to therefore prove, even before the case is admitted, that his cause of action is sufficiently public in nature, and that not only he but a number of individuals have been affected for which the Trustees are liable for prosecution. That is why a scheme suit is difficult to admit and the very admission of the case can be a protracted process. In the history of Puducherry, the present scheme suit is said to be the first one to get admitted and numbered. One more scheme suit, also filed against the Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust, is pending for admission right now in the Puducherry Court.
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14 Jun 2013

An Analysis of the Preface of Peter Heehs's "Sri Aurobindo: A Brief Biography", OUP, 1989 (Part 2) ― A Zombified Disciple


Peter Heehs wrote two biographies: Sri Aurobindo: A Brief Biography, OUP, 1989 (Bio-1), and The Lives of Sri Aurobindo, CUP, 2008, (Bio-2).[1] He also planted a life-sketch of Sri Aurobindo in an anthology of some Indian saints, maybe to test the tactic used in Bio-1 and imply Sri Aurobindo’s rank among them. This part of my article analyses the rest of Bio-1’s preface. Parts 3 and 4 will take up the preface of Bio-2. Part 5 will compare a few of the facts and interpretations in them with relevant facts from variant accounts.

            Peter’s opinions on specific points are cut up, masked, and implanted in unrelated passages. To unravel these opinions and weave their pieces in an unbroken paragraph, I had to often repeat and remerge the pieces with their soul-mates in other passages. Peter’s text is in Italics and mine in Roman.
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8 Jun 2013

Update On Police Harassment of Abala

This morning once again Nirmal Swain (Ashram Trust lawyer) brought a policewoman, this time to Abala's house. The police insisted that Abala come to the Police Station "just for ten minutes". Abala refused and said she will come later. Finally the policewoman asked her, "Why are you insulting respected persons of the Ashram?" Abala answered, "Who is there in the Ashram worthy of respect other than Sri Aurobindo?"

Having failed to take Abala to the Police Station without a formal summons or due process of law, the policewoman left. But Nirmal seemed more disappointed. The strategy they had planned was to take Abala to the Station and then put her in jail on some false pretext. Being a weekend, there would have been no way to get her out until the Courts reopened on Monday. (The Trustees have used this method on other "inconvenient" Ashramites before, at least one of whom was beaten on their orders while in jail.)

Later when a senior member of the Government phoned the Police to make enquiries, the Police told him, "Why are you so concerned over such a trivial matter?" The senior person said, "Harassment of a helpless old woman is not a trivial matter!"

Since the Police had not produced a summons, and since their attempt to take Abala to the station had no legal sanction, Abala was advised not to go to them.

The deep nexus between the Ashram Trustees and the local Police and their misuse of power lies exposed.

When Ashramites approached the Police or the Government for protection from the Trustees' illegal and threatening actions, the same Trustees quoted the Ashram "Rules and Regulations" (written by them) to say that it was wrong to approach the Police and against the spirit of Ashram life. But when it came to an old woman questioning the misuse of authority by the Trustees, these corrupt Trustees do not think twice of using the Police to harass Ashram Inmates!

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6 Jun 2013

Breaking News -- Trustees send Police to arrest old woman who criticised Manoj Das Gupta

This morning while Abala (aged over 60 years) was peacefully eating her lunch upstairs in the Ashram Dining Room, the Ashram lawyer Nirmal Swain brought a policewoman to her. The policewoman asked, "Are you Abala?" When Abala confirmed her identity, the Policewoman said, "Come at once to the Police Station because Matriprasad has filed a complaint against you from the Trustees' Office!" Nirmal threatened, "Come at once otherwise we will take you by force and drag you out!"

Abala courageously said to them, "I will surely come, but now I am eating food, then I will rest, and then come at 3 pm."

In a threatening tone Nirmal said to her, "Come by 4pm otherwise we will come and arrest you from your house and throw you in jail where you will rot for the rest of your life!"

Abala then informed her friends in the Ashram. Two young men went to the Police Station and asked what kind of complaint has been registered. The policemen there at first evaded clear answers and then fnally said there is no complaint that they know of.

The nature of the complaint, its contents, or its suppression are still unknown. But a few years ago Abala is known to have openly criticized Manoj Das Gupta and blamed him for abusing Sri Aurobindo through Peter Heehs and his book.

Enquiries are on with senior officials. This is a developing story and we will keep you updated. Stay tuned!

The double standards of our corrupt Trustees lie exposed: when Sri Aurobindo is publicly abused, Manoj Das Gupta (Managing Trustee) advises all to do nothing and prefers to keep a "dignified silence"; Manoj Das (former Trustee and scholar) advises all to do nothing and let Mother take care of things while we must blindly obey the "superior wisdom" of the Trustees. But when the Trustees are criticised or feel that their absolute power is questioned by an old helpless woman, then they call the Police inside Ashram premises to arrest her and throw her in jail, and spend lakhs of Rupees to fight her in the Courts!

But why did the Trustees bring the Police into the Ashram Dining Room to arrest an old, helpless, "weak and sickly" woman (as Manoj Das has described Abala earlier) at the exact time when she is having her lunch? It appears that the Trustees wish to "create an example out of her" (words used by Dilip Datta when the Trustees filed cases against other helpless women over ten years ago). And the easiest way is to create an atmosphere of fear in the Ashram Dining Room, where all would see the Police dragging out a hungry old woman from her meal. To have arrested her at her house would not have the same dramatic effect and would not send the message of fear to the entire Ashram community as vividly!

It is also clear that the Police are wilful agents in the hands of these corrupt Trustees and they can be made to do their bidding in violation of all legal norms and due process of law.

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