1 Jul 2013

Sricharan Singh's Rejoinder to Manoj Das (Part 1)

Manoj Das (nicknamed Dr. Faustus / Byakta Manoj) has replied to my article “Professor Manoj Das has Sold his Soul to the Devil” with “A Suggestion for Introspection”. I have read it and have also read Bireshwar Choudhury’s fitting reply to him. I will only deal here with some factual truths in support of my article. But before I start, a story comes to my mind.

Once upon a time there was a plump cat. He did not like to exert himself to catch rats, so he discovered an easy way. At night he sat under a tree in a meditative position with closed eyes, throwing some corn around him. He smeared his forehead with ashes and turned a rosary in his hand. Occasionally, he sang bhajans which he had himself composed. Attracted by the corn and the cat’s apparently innocent devotional posture and practice, the rats slowly came near him. The cat started delivering sermons and told them that he had attained supernatural powers by his sadhana by which he could send rats straight to Heaven, which was the abode of peace and bliss. There was no sorrow there, no illness, and no death. There was also an unheard variety of delicious food for rats. But he could send only one rat every night to Heaven!

Now all the rats were eager to go to Heaven. Their leader took up the responsibility of selecting one rat every night. The selected rat thought itself very fortunate and remained alone near the cat when the others left. At midnight, the cat sent the rat straight into his own stomach! Several months passed by. The cat got fed up with rat-meat. He wanted to have some change in his diet. So leaving his first vocation, he started stealthily entering into people’s houses and drinking milk from their vessels. He would close his eyes while drinking the milk, thinking that nobody saw him. One day, while he was drinking milk in this manner, a heavy blow was inflicted on him, fracturing his backbone. He was taken aback and ran away in severe pain. He sat under a tree, rubbing his back against it. A fox saw him and asked him the reason for his agony. The cat narrated everything to the fox and asked him how the person (who had struck him) was able to see him while he was drinking milk with closed eyes. The fox laughed, closed his eyes, grimaced at the cat and questioned him, “Dear Saint-Cat, can you see me?” The cat replied, “Yes, I see you are making a face at me.” The fox said, “Now do you understand that even if you do something closing your eyes, thinking that nobody can see you, others can see you as their eyes are open? You are a Biradi Baishnab (bogus Saint-Cat). In your first vocation, you were dealing with rats. That was manageable and safe. But in your second vocation, you started dealing with men. You are very clever, no doubt, but not cleverer than man. Man knows all your tricks. Blows from him will come unexpectedly when you do things with closed eyes. So go back to your first vocation with the rat community. There, even if you befool them, you will get some respect, honour, and may be high awards.” The cat understood the simple lesson, though he had to learn it the hard way. He said, “Brother fox, you have opened my eyes. I will follow your advice. But how can I survive till I resume my first vocation?” The good-hearted fox told him, “O Saint-Cat, don’t worry, I will supply you meat daily till you completely recover. As you have realised your folly, the Divine has made this arrangement for you.”

Now we come back to our original topic. On reading Manoj Das’s reply to Sricharan Singh’s article, even a half knowledgeable person can see how the former is completely shaken up, because his answers are so deceitful, self-contradictory and full of lies. If one minutely reads his answers, one can easily find the counter arguments in them. Let us deal with his replies paragraph by paragraph.

In the very first paragraph, the learned Professor says, “I would have ignored the provocation referred to below had the provocateurs not started distributing it as independent leaflets.”

Actually Sricharan Singh’s article is not a provocation. It is a very objective statement based on irrefutable facts. Again, to publish it on the Net is not less than distributing independent leaflets. Manoj Das has only found an excuse to reply and take revenge just as Duryodhan came out of the Daipyayan lake where he was hiding when the Pandavas challenged him.

In paragraph 2, Manoj Das says “Please refer to the provocation bearing the title ‘Professor Manoj Das has sold his soul to the Devil’. Only those who are Devil’s confidants or are members of Devil’s inner circle, could know about this secret transaction.”

Manoj Das mocks at Sricharan Singh, but he has admitted in an indirect way that the title of the latter’s article is correct. According to him, Sricharan Singh could discover his (Manoj Das’s) secret transaction with the Devil because Sricharan Singh also belongs to the Devil’s inner circle. Manoj Das has thus himself admitted that he has had a secret transaction with the Devil. Even if it was meant to be humour, he has actually admitted the truth!

In paragraph 3, Manoj Das says “But I do not wish to confuse readers with sarcasm or vague assertions. I was shocked at the level to which this “Singh” had stooped.”

If Singh had stooped to a shocking level, it is to bring Manoj Das to the surface level. The remaining part of the paragraph has already been answered by Bireshwar Choudhury.

In paragraph 4, Manoj Das says “About Peter’s book: At the early stage of the controversy I  was under the impression that some people had persuaded his publishers to issue a revised edition of his book and that is why I pointed out elements that could be eliminated or recast...

A blatant lie to confuse the readers! In September 2008, Manoj Das had not picked up 90 objectionable passages from Peter’s book “The Lives of Sri Aurobindo” as suggestions for a revision of the book. He had submitted his findings to the Ashram Trust, and on his insistence there was a meeting of the Ashram Trust which Manoj Das Gupta, the Managing Trustee, did not attend. The remaining facts are in Sraddhalu’s letter of 28.07.2010 to Manoj Das. The relevant passage is reproduced below:-

“Yes, I remember how disturbed you were in September/October 2008. As a former Trustee you exercised your privilege with the Ashram Trust by calling for a special meeting in which Manoj Das Gupta, Dilip Dutta, Matriprasad and Vijay Poddar were present (as best I recall), wherein you read out to them the numerous passages that you described as ‘highly objectionable’, ‘factually wrong’ and ‘harmful to the Ashram’. You explained to them why it was necessary to urgently and publicly dissociate the Ashram from the book and take immediate steps to withdraw the book. After the meeting Dilip Datta exclaimed to people at the Dispensary, “Every page of the book has poison in it!” based on their reactions and promises, you came back from this meeting convinced that the Ashram Trust would take immediate action.

“Subsequently a special meeting of the Trust Board was called one afternoon. Manoj Das Gupta informed the Board that he would not be party to the decision-making process but would accept whatever the Board decided, and then left. After a brief discussion, the entire Board unanimously resolved to a) publicly disassociate from the book, b) take immediate steps to stop the book, and c) expel Peter Heehs (PH) from the Ashram. Dilip Dutta came back to the Dispensary and gave this news to all present. By evening the news had spread like wildfire and the entire Ashram community was relieved that after two months of pain and pleading, at last the trustees had exercised their conscience. Next morning when Manoj Das Gupta (MDG) heard of the Board’s decision from an Ashramite he shouted in anger, ‘I will not accept the decision’. He rushed over to Dilip Dutta and prevailed upon the entire Trust Board to withdraw its unanimous decision. News of this was a most painful shock to the entire Ashram community, plunging it in despair.

“I remember meeting you after this event. You were flabbergasted and flailed your hands in helplessness and incomprehension. I suggested that you should write a commentary exposing the numerous perverse passages of the book for the benefit of the Ashram community and the public at large. Coming from a scholar such as you, the write-up would have changed the course of subsequent events. But at that time you refused saying, ‘I cannot take a public stand on this matter anymore. I hope you understand’. I nodded only partly understanding. I understood that you had chosen your loyalty to MDG above all else. But I could not understand how a scholar such as you could betray your loyalty to Sri Aurobindo. After all, is not your scholarship His gift to you, and meant to be fulfilled in His service?”

(Sraddhalu Ranade’s letter to Manoj Das)

Bireshwar Choudhury has rightly pointed out in his reply that it is at this point of time Manoj Das sold his soul to the Devil. In his reply to Sraddhalu, Manoj Das has not denied this meeting. But now he is distorting facts by saying that he had pointed out the 90 objectionable passages for the revision of Peter’s book.

But before long I understood that the motives of the anti-book champions were not only dubious but ominous. The book could hardly be a factor to arouse the sentiments of people who had not read the book and to make them sit in Dharna against the Trust...

Manoj Das had picked up the objectionable passages from Peter’s book in September 2008. The Dharnas were organised after three years in January and February of 2012. So how was he affected “before long”? And how did he change his views because of the Dharnas?

He says in the same paragraph that the Dharna participants had “placed a huge placard listing so many imaginary lapses of the Ashram Trust.”

But he has not pointed out a single point in the placard! If the points were imaginary, why is he afraid of mentioning them? Moreover, why has he impleaded himself for the Trustees in the Chennai High Court to stop the Puducherry Collector’s enquiry into the affairs of the Ashram?

In paragraph 5, Manoj Das says, “So far as I am concerned I had gathered enough knowledge of such contemptible tricks in my pre-Ashram days because of my involvement in politics.”

So he himself admits that he was a political person and that politics is in his blood. Though he says he never expected politics in the Ashram, he has himself played clever politics in the Ashram as he was well acquainted with it. Everybody knows that even as a politician he was a total failure in his pre-Ashram days.

He says in the same paragraph, “I stood aghast and am still surprised that people claiming to be devotees of the Mother could initiate such a move. My feeling is there is a general drop in the level of collective consciousness.”

He writes as if he is a saviour of the Ashram, accusing the disciples and devotees who sat in Dharna against Peter Heehs and the Trustees. Only a totally shameless person can say such things. Has Manoj Das forgotten that the Trustees had also applied to the Pondicherry Police to hold a Dharna from 12.08.2012 to 14.08.2012 in front of the DisGrace Office just to prevent the devotees from holding their dharna at the same time and place? Again, is Manoj Das not aware of the fact that his Lord Gupta Manoj, the present Managing Trustee, had once threatened to do a Dharna against Pranab-da, the Director of the Physical Education Department (P.E.D.) of the Ashram? When the Mother came to know about it, She scolded him. According to our learned Manoj Das, sitting in Dharna is not disgraceful for his Lord Gupta Manoj and the present Ashram Trustees, but in the case of the devotees and disciples, protesting against the misdeeds of the trustees shows a serious drop in the level of consciousness. What a fine and eloquent argument!

In the 6th paragraph, Manoj Das says, “Hence, I am afraid, those who are contesting the Mother’s Will are preys of some dark forces. I guess that some among them do not understand the consequence of their action.

The learned professor knows very well that there is no such Will left by the Mother which is called ‘The Mother’s Will’. The only will which Mother had given to Satprem regarding the future management of the Ashram in the form of a tape has been mysteriously stolen from the Mother’s Room within one week of Her leaving the physical body. If Manoj Das takes the Ashram Trust Deed as the Mother’s Will, then he is the first person in the Ashram to have defiled the Trust Deed by resigning from trusteeship in 1994 over a trivial issue, merely because his ego was hurt. This point has been dealt with by Bireshwar Choudhary and we will deal with it later when that paragraph comes. So what does he mean by the Mother’s Will? Does he mean that the Mother’s Will is to respect Peter’s will to insult Sri Aurobindo in his Ashram?

In the same paragraph Manoj Das says “I was shocked not because I was abused in that manner, but because that gentleman could degrade himself so low as to be able to write such mean things – that his own hand collaborated!

What Sricharan Singh says is based on objective facts, not imaginary abuse. He has not merely played with words. If Manoj Das is shocked due to factual remarks of people about him, how does he appreciate Peter’s baseless remarks against the Mother and Sri Aurobindo? When our Guru and Mother are insulted for no reason in their own Ashram by their own disciples and Trustees, Manoj Das is not shocked. But when those people who have insulted the Mother and Sri Aurobindo are abused, then he is greatly shocked! What a one-sided super-sensitivity!

In paragraph 7, Manoj Das says, “I will naturally support the Trust, inside or outside the court, in its struggle to safeguard the Mother’s Will and save the fundamental principles of the Ashram.

What a mighty hero Manoj Das is! He supports the Trustees in their most ideal and respectable work of denigrating Sri Aurobindo and bringing Him down to an ordinary level. Is this the Mother’s Will and the fundamental spiritual principle of the Ashram? It is unheard in the history of Indian spirituality that the fundamental principle of an Ashram is to insult its own Guru with the approval of its Trustees. The present trustees have completely lost their ethical, moral and spiritual values. Only people like Manoj Das can support them for their personal benefit. For them, he can bribe and butter important people, and do anything else that pleases them.

In paragraph 8, Manoj Das says, “How much I wish that they made a little introspection while taking recourse to such steps – the very purpose of their living in the Ashram.”

Manoj Das pretends not to know that those who have taken recourse to dharnas, court cases, etc., have been compelled to do so by the arrogant and authoritarian attitude of his Lord Gupta Manoj. They know very well the purpose of their life at the Ashram because they constitute the Ashram community. They have never thought like Manoj Das or his master Gupta Manoj that the Ashram means the Trustees. For them the Ashram belongs to Sri Aurobindo and the Mother and the purpose of living in the Ashram is to serve, love, follow and respect them. That is why they could not tolerate the disrespect of their revered Gurus within the Ashram.

In paragraph 9, Manoj Das says, “Sricharan Singh has repeated that old lie about the Ashram lawyer saying at the Krishnanagore Court that Mother did not understand Savitri! The lawyer said nothing of that kind. He has also given a statement challenging this allegation against him. Still the drum-beaters of that lie do not stop.”

Manoj Das has tried to cover the truth with lies, which expose him all the more. This incident happened on 25.08.2000, and Bijan Ghosh, the Supreme Court advocate who was present in the court, immediately reported the matter to the President of the Inmates Association of Sri Aurobindo Ashram. The Association then sent a legal notice to the Ashram Managing Trustee to expel Manoj Das from the Ashram. If this were not true, why did not Prof. Manoj Das or the lawyer of Krishnanagore Court deny the statement for a whole decade? Only when Niranjan Naik accused Manoj Das in this regard in a letter of August 2010 that Manoj Das, in order to save his face in public, first requested, then tried to force Niranjan Naik to write a letter of apology to him. He told Niranjan Naik that he will not show the letter of apology to anybody and it will remain a confidential matter between them. When after repeated phone calls and verbal requests, Niranjan Naik did not apologise (there was no reason to do so), Manoj Das threatened to file a case in Krishnanagore Court to  harass him. But the latter did not listen to him. So he instigated Ramanendra Nath Mukherjee, a lawyer of Krishnanagore court, to send a letter to Niranjan Naik on 03.11.2010, threatening legal action against him. Niranjan Naik did not reply to the letter which came 10 years after the actual incident. Manoj Das thought that everybody must have forgotten the incident so that he could escape with a bluff. Therefore the clarification he gives in this matter varies from letter to letter. To Sraddhalu he wrote on 28.06.2010, “But such a situation never arose, the lawyer had no occasion to make any statement in regard to the Mother vis-a-vis Savitri”. But he wrote to Niranjan Naik after 35 days, on 02.08.2010, “Most probably our advocate said to one of his associates: ‘Did the Mother read the proof of Savitri?” So if Manoj Das goes on giving contradictory statements at different times, how can people believe him?

There is an interesting incident connected with the same issue. His own student, who is now an Ashramite, has given a reply which is reproduced below:

“I have been very much hurt by the way the Oriya Professor Manoj Das behaved during the crisis that has gripped the Ashram for so many years. It is true and no one can deny the fact that Manoj Das is a learned professor with so many degrees, but he is very much a mental being with no spiritual experiences worth the name. If he had any spiritual experiences he would not have encouraged the lawyer who had uttered that even the Mother did not understand Savitri. I tend to believe that if Manoj Das had not encouraged him to utter those words, the lawyer himself would never have uttered them. Not being satisfied at those words, he further in the Supreme Court uttered that Sri Aurobindo was hard of hearing and had become blind – is this the respect that a person can give to his Guru? When I heard this blasphemy, I could not control myself and went and told Manoj Das that he should give me one of his photos. He naturally asked me what I was going to do with it. When I replied that I would remove the Mother’s and Sri Aurobindo’s photos and put his in their place, he got wild and threatened to drag me to the court... Once when I asked him in the Ashram main building, “How can you say that the Mother had misunderstood Savitri?” he pointed his finger at the Samadhi and told me it was not true. But within one week of the incident, he had hurt his fingers and had plaster on his hand, and he was carrying his hand in his pocket. But I was and still am burning inside at the stupidity and perversity of the authorities of the Ashram in denying, defying and desecrating the memories of the Mother and Sri Aurobindo, so I abused him as Harami. It seems that recently he has again brought up that subject and as usual, since he is at the service of the Lord of Falsehood Manoj Das Gupta, he has completely mutilated the whole episode. It is a fact I cannot deny that he was my teacher for one year in Knowledge, he was also my sister’s teacher; it is also a fact that he was a friend of my father. All these are true. Just because he had taught me it does not mean that I have to accept point blank whatever wrong he does and his lies and falsehood....

(Quoted from Letter of Vijay Anuru)

By Sricharan Singh

1 comment:

  1. Comment by Ritwik Bannerji:

    Dear Mr. Manoj Das,

    I don’t know your email id, otherwise you could have received this letter much earlier.

    One Sricharan Singh has put a story on this site which is said to have some historical connectivity with your life. We do not bother about the matter of connectivity but you are a well-known story-teller, writer and a man of letters of sort yourself. Yet Sricharan Singh’s story seems to be quite of standard in style, language etc. Will you give some attention to it and write a review of it on the Net or in Mother India, a magazine of Sri Aurobindo? Mother India will love to see some mettle in you as we try to appreciate your serialized biography of Sri Aurobindo in a magazine of Sri Aurobindo where you have defeated all attempts of Mr. Peter Heehs to get a place for his much researched biography of Sri Aurobindo even while the Ashram authorities and their touts are protecting Heehs’ life and work in the Ashram tooth and nail.