10 Jul 2013

Sricharan Singh’s Rejoinder to Manoj Das (Part 2)

[This is the second and final part of Sricharan Singh’s rejoinder to Manoj Das’s “A Suggestion for Introspection”. Part 1 of the rejoinder was published on 1 July 2013.]

In paragraph 10, Manoj Das says, “By and by it became clear to me that all they wanted was to create an atmosphere of hatred against me. But what for?”

In reply it can be said, “By and by it became clear to us that Manoj Das, his Lord Gupta Manoj (MDG) and his sycophants wanted to create an atmosphere of hatred against the Mother and Sri Aurobindo.”

In paragraph 11, Manoj Das says, “I was convinced that the Revised Edition of the epic is the most authentic one. Once again it is a matter of common sense that the Ashram had no reason to alter a single word of Sri Aurobindo. On the other hand it had a responsibility to see that error-free versions of His works were available before the copyright period expired. That is what Ashram did despite the illogical and superfluous commotion made by some people.”

How is Manoj Das convinced that the revised edition of Savitri is the most authentic one? Was he part of the Editorial Board for the revision of Savitri to make such arrogant and sure statements? R.Y. Deshpande and Nirodbaran, who were in the editorial team, have expressed their unhappiness over some of the corrections. If the Trustees through Peter had not altered a single word of Sri Aurobindo, why the documents are not made public for everybody to see in spite of repeated demands? The Trustees have no right to tamper with Sri Aurobindo’s writings or to make them error-free before the copyright period is over. Nobody has any right to make posthumous changes, especially the books which were printed during Sri Aurobindo’s life time. It is unheard in the history of editing. Manoj Das can very easily declare that there are errors in Sri Aurobindo’s books, but he finds it impossible to declare the same in case of Peter’s book, even if he himself has found 90 objectionable passages in it. According to him, Sri Aurobindo can be wrong but Peter cannot be wrong, because he is a Westerner and is his Lord Gupta Manoj’s favourite. Manoj Das, you can no more deceive people by your skilful play of words! People do not accept this error-free revised version of Savitri. They have already printed the original version of Savitri, the proofs of which Sri Aurobindo himself had seen. Be prepared to answer the two questions asked by R.Y. Deshpande in this regard and don’t shrink from an open discussion with him.

In paragraph 12, Manoj Das says, “They even collected an old Flight Boarding pass used by me and reproduced it in a leaflet saying that Manoj Das travelled in first class by Air, wasting the Ashram money! Could not have they ascertained from our own audit and accounts department if I had drawn that money? The fact is that the ticket had been sent to me by the Indian Council of Cultural Affairs for my attending an important literary event. I was puzzled; the man who circulated this lie was my student and was in excellent relationship with me. Why on earth must he take recourse to such a downright lie? I still remained puzzled on this question.”

What is the necessity of mentioning the above fact which is not there in Sricharan Singh’s article? Manoj Das’s attempt to prove his honesty and importance is becoming counter- productive. The incident of the first class Air ticket had been reproduced in a leaflet dated 15.02.2003 of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram Beneficiaries’ Association with a photograph of that ticket. Manoj Das says the ticket was sent to him by the Indian Council of Cultural Affairs to attend a meeting. But the ticket, which the Association leaflet mentioned, was found from Alipore in Calcutta. Was the Indian Council of Cultural Affairs meeting organised in the Alipore Jail or Alipore Court? This question had been asked by the editor of the leaflet to Manoj Das, but at that time he did not reply to it. After more than 10 years, he clarifies the same without anybody asking him! The then Ashram accountant Kalipada-da had told a member of the Beneficiaries’ Association that Manoj Das should not spend so much of Mother’s money by frequently going out. Manoj Das’s dearest student, with whom he says he had excellent relations, has not only exposed his hypocrisy in this incident, but has mercilessly exposed him in so many other incidents in his leaflet.

In paragraph 13, Manoj Das says, “I fought with Pranab-ji for a cause not for any interest of mine. Pranab-ji decided to throw a little boy out of the School for no fault of his, nor for any fault at all of anybody else. People say that one of Pranab-ji’s confidants had a grudge against the child’s father. I do not know. As a Trustee I refused to agree with Pranab-ji’s arbitrary decision.”

Here Manoj Das has cleverly tried to hide the truth. The name of the child, over whom there was a controversy in the year 1991, was Priyobrato Shu. The Bengali boy’s father was a paid worker of the Ashram. It was and is still the rule of the Ashram School that children of paid workers of the Ashram are not admitted into the Ashram School. But as Priyobrato’s parents were the favorites of Gupta Manoj (MDG), the child was somehow admitted into the School. But Pranab-da from the very beginning had advised the School authorities not to admit the child as it went against the principles of the School. Gupta Manoj (MDG) did not listen to his advice. Naturally Byakta Manoj (M.D.) supported his Lord Gupta Manoj, and the child was taken into the School. When the child was old enough to join physical education, Pranab-da did not accept him in the Group. This made Manoj Das shudder – this continues till today! He came forward exhibiting his pre-Ashram heroic rebellious nature and tried to change Pranab-da’s stand through a series of letters addressed to him. Pranab-da became very angry and in his reply bestowed on Manoj Das the honorary distinction of “IDIOT”. Then Manoj Das changed his tactics. He tried to prevail upon Harikant-bhai, the then Managing Trustee, to remove Pranab-da from the Directorship of Physical Education in the Ashram. But this was not possible even in the wildest dreams of Harikant-bhai.  In order to put pressure on Harikant-bhai, Manoj Das submitted to him his letter of resignation from the Board of Trustees. But he actually did not mean it! Harikant-bhai was in a dilemma. On the one hand, it was beyond his thought and capacity to remove Pranab-da from his post; on the other hand, he could not accept the resignation of such a renowned scholar as Manoj Das and break the tradition of the Trust. He was in a fix for several days. At last, he sent Manoj Das’s resignation letter secretly to Pranab-da, who told Harikant-bhai to immediately accept the resignation. So it was done. Manoj Das was stupefied as he had not intended to resign from Trusteeship. Though he wanted to come back, his Lord Gupta Manoj (MDG) did not support him as he had not consulted him before giving in his resignation. So Manoj Das was and still is in the position of Trishanku: he is neither elevated to the post of a Trustee nor demoted to the level of an ordinary Ashramite! In any case, if he could be a rebel for the sake of a little boy, where is his rebellious nature now when the Mother and the Master themselves have been despised in their own Ashram? Moreover, a rebel always fights the oppressor and not the oppressed!

In his private life Manoj Das always talks about Pranab-da with disdain and refers to him as Pranab. In 1978 there was a poets’ conference in Jyotishikha office in Pondicherry in which Manoj Das spoke a lot against Pranab-da, which was totally out of the context. Now he refers to Pranab-da as Pranab-ji and in paragraph 14, he respects him despite his differences with him.

In the same paragraph Manoj Das says, “Even today I shudder to think about the shock the boy must have received when after classes all his friends would go to the Corner House for refreshments and then to the Playground or Sports-ground, but he must be deprived of that luck.”

It is very good to shudder for the plight of the boy which he and his Lord Gupta Manoj were responsible for, but when there is the question of the Mother and Sri Aurobindo’s heinous insult in their own Ashram by their own disciples, this over sensitive professor has no feelings nor does he shudder.

In paragraph 15, Manoj Das says, “If someone is wrong, he or she will face the consequence in terms of his or her progress in consciousness; the spiritual law will decide it, no human law.

Do Manoj Das and his Lord Gupta Manoj (MDG) follow these high sounding words? If so, why do they take vindictive steps on those Ashramites who protest against Peter’s book and his supporters? Why does Manoj Das implead himself in the Court in order to protect the Trustees from the Collector’s enquiry?

In paragraph 16, Manoj Das says, “Even then She organised it in a way whereby our material difficulties could be reduced to the minimum. Nobody can say that the Trust since the physical absence of the Mother has failed in this regard. Who then is stopping us from pursuing our spiritual goal? Who is standing in the way of achieving our goal?”

How nicely Manoj Das has elevated the Trustees to the position of the Mother by saying that, after the physical absence of the Mother, the Trustees are providing all the requirements to the inmates. Before saying so, Manoj Das should realise the simple fact that even after the physical absence of the Mother, it is the Mother’s arrangement and her force that is running the Ashram despite the mischief and misdeeds of the present Trustees. Even tomorrow if the five Trustees disappear from this world, no harm will be done to the Ashram. Manoj Das says that if the Trustees provide our material needs, who then is standing in our way to achieve our goal. Suppose Manoj Das’s goal is to jump 10/15 feet in his Long jump competition. He practises hard to achieve his goal. He is supplied with proper food and other necessary requirements. But if somebody throws debris or thorns on the finishing line, can he say to himself “Manoj Das, you are being provided with all the necessities. Continue jumping to your goal, who is stopping you?” It is common sense to remove the debris or thorns out of the way before you jump! The symbolic  removal of debris and thorns is part of spiritual practice. The same thing is happening now in the Ashram. Our goal, our Divine Guru, has been attacked by pseudo disciples. The prestige of our Gurus has been brought down to the dust. Is it not our duty to make our goal free from these vile people? That is being done and will be done by the protesters till the goal point is cleared! Manoj Das’s advice is only for those who like to enjoy Ashram life without doing any Sadhana.

In paragraph 17, Manoj Das says he is writing a new life history of Sri Aurobindo in Oriya in Navaprakash and in English in Mother India and that a number of scholars are pursuing it. He has admitted, “I am one of those disobedient devotees in this regard praying for the Mother’s pardon…” He also says, “Traditional historians did no justice to that era of India’s struggle for freedom.

This means that both Manoj Das and Peter Heehs have written untraditional, objective, ultramodern biographies of Sri Aurobindo for scholars only. Does Manoj Das admit that Peter Heehs has done justice to Sri Aurobindo’s role in India’s struggle for freedom? Is Manoj Das fulfilling the Will left by the Guru as he advises others to do in the beginning of his reply? Or does he want to say, “I am one of those disobedient devotees praying for the Master’s pardon to support Peter only for the sake of my Lord Gupta Manoj!”

In paragraph 18, Manoj Das says, “Sricharan Singh insinuates as if I was eager to take over the editorship of the Nava Prakash. Had I the slightest interest for that I would have got it in the normal course of things from the very beginning. I have edited several magazines beginning from my School days; the last being what was acknowledged as India’s most prestigious monthly, The Heritage. No, I am no more capable of performing editorial task. It is very unkind and immature mind that would think that I am the de facto editor of Nava Prakash. No, I only contribute articles to it. I had nothing to do with the earlier editor’s departure from his task.”

The above statement of Manoj Das is an outright lie. As we have seen in the beginning of this answer, the cat could not remain unnoticed if it stealthily drinks milk, closing its eyes. The blow comes inevitably. How effortlessly Manoj Das writes that had he the slightest interest for the editorship of the Oriya monthly Navaprakash, published from Navajyoti Karyalaya of Ashram, he would have got it in the normal course of things from the very beginning. It is true that he had the ability, but not the opportunity. Navaprakash started in October, 1970 with the Mother’s message for it “ONLY TRUTH”. At that time Manoj Das had not a good relation with Prapatti, the manager of Navajyoti Karyalaya, and Babaji Ramakrishna Das, the founder of the Karyalaya. He did not dare to go to Navajyoti Karyalaya or talk to Prapatti. When Prapatti and Babaji both suggested the name of Niranjan Naik as editor of the new monthly, Niranjan Naik himself was astonished and suggested the names of capable senior persons for it. But they did not listen to him. Then Niranjan Naik agreed to take the responsibility of editing Navaprakash provided Prapatti’s name remained as the official editor. They agreed with this proposal. Prapatti remained its official editor till his passing away. It is only after that that Niranjan Naik became the official editor. Niranjan Naik had requested Manoj Das to contribute his articles to Navaprakash. But he was not in a position to even do that and asked him, “Can you give a guarantee to publish my articles?” This means he apprehended Prapatti and Babaji would not allow his articles to be published. Only after the passing away of Prapatti and Babaji and, on the request of Niranjan Naik, that Manoj Das started contributing articles to Navaprakash. Yet Manoj Das says that he would have got the editorship in the normal course of things from the very beginning. What a bluff! Manoj Das says he had edited several magazines since his school days. It is true. But though he is a famous writer, he has failed as editor in all the magazines. Now when he contributes two/three articles and writes the editorial at the end, keeping a dummy editor in front, is he not the de facto editor of Navaprakash? What else can one call him?

He says in the same paragraph that he had nothing to do with the earlier editor’s departure from his task. Again this is a blatant lie. The magazine Navaprakash will give contrary evidence to all the points of the eloquent professor. When Niranjan Naik, the earlier editor of Navaprakash, wrote a  reply to Manoj Das’s letter (which was meant to fool the Oriya people regarding Peter, his book and the anti-Guru role of the Trustees), the latter got furious with Niranjan Naik. He first requested and then compelled Niranjan Naik to write a letter of apology to him, which he said he will not show to anybody saying that the matter will remain confined to only them. Niranjan Naik understood his trick and did not agree to apologise. Then Manoj Das threatened Niranjan Naik with legal action through a lawyer of Krishnanagore Court. Still Niranjan Naik did not respond. Frustrated in his attempt, he told the Manager of Navajyoti Karyalaya that from January 2011, he would not give his articles to Navaprakash until Niranjan Naik was the editor of the magazine. So in January 2011, there were no articles of Manoj Das in Navaprakash. He thought the Oriya readers would get angry with Niranjan Naik and request Manoj Das to give his articles again. But many of the Oriya readers did not want to read the articles of an imposter and said that he may be literary person, but was not a good sadhak. Then Manoj Das applied his next trick: he persuaded his Lord Gupta Manoj, the Managing Trustee of the Ashram, to remove Niranjan Naik from the editorship of Navaprakash. Gupta Manoj immediately wrote a letter to Niranjan Naik that his services as the editor of Navaprakash are no more required. Happy with Niranjan Naik’s removal from Navaprakash in February 2011, Manoj Das started again giving his articles to Navaprakash. For the first few months, hundreds of angry readers in Orissa sent back their copies of Navaprakash because there were no articles of Niranjan Naik.

In paragraph 19, Manoj Das has cleverly tried to avoid the contradictory remarks he had made in his reply to a respected senior Oriya lady of the Ashram. In his letter to the lady, Manoj Das wrote in the beginning that he never supported Peter Heehs and his book. It was wrong propaganda. But in another paragraph of the same letter, he wrote that those who protested against Peter Heehs were misguided people. He unsuccessfully tried to avoid the main issue and dealt with a minor point. Moreover, why did he write his reply in Oriya instead of English, especially when the lady herself had written in English? Obviously because more people would have read his letter in English than in Oriya!

In paragraph 20, Manoj Das says he does not know Peter’s lawyer in Orissa, that it is a lie that he had come to the Ashram, and that when he had asked for the address of Manoj Das’s house, somebody had said, “Why do you want to go to that $&#*’s house? Whatever Manoj Das does not like to admit, he dismisses it as a lie. If the learned Professor does not try to pretend, he would easily remember Peter’s lawyer in Orissa, Akshay Biswal, who had come to the Ashram towards the end of December 2012. After going back to Orissa, the lawyer narrated the incident to his colleagues.

In paragraphs 21 and 22 Manoj Das says, “Now about “an ex-student/inmate of the Ashram who used to often reproach me” to use Sricharan Singh’s words. Here is what happened: whenever this ex-student would pass by me, he would mumble something which I could not follow. He was my student for a year or so and his sister was my student for a longer period of time. What is more, his father was a good friend of mine. Naturally I look at the boy with a spontaneous affection, but his abnormal expression intrigued me. I became alert and only then on two occasions I heard him throwing awfully nasty phrases at me, casting furtive and rather odd glances at me. I was astounded and I felt sad. I had nothing but goodwill for him. One day I stopped him on the way and first sought his permission if I could give him a suggestion. He agreed. Next I made him promise that he would not speak about it to anybody. He readily promised not to speak about it to anybody. Only then I warned him about the consequence of his conduct. It is a well-known occult law that if anybody abuses someone who had not only done him no harm but also wished him well, Nemesis will strike him. I also told him confidentially something which is a fact – but I told him only after he promised to keep it to himself. Indeed, I meant what I said. But he has given a bit of dramatic touch to it saying that if I had a guru why did I come here. No. I had not spoken of any guru; I had none before Sri Aurobindo. He has only invented a retort to exhibit his wit.

He will face the consequence of betraying his own promise, his vulgar utterances and actions. You will face yours and I mine. There is no escape from this law of Karma – except for the Supreme’s Grace.”

I give here the reply of the ex-student / Ashramite:

It is a fact that I cannot deny that he (Manoj Das) 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 that is true. Just because he taught me, it does not mean I have to accept his wrongdoings and praise his lies and falsehood.

Manoj Das says that he had promised me that he will not blurt out to others whatever I said. He denies that he had said that his Guru had given him a mantra, which he can use if someone abuses him 3 times. That is what he had told me; now he realises how stupid his statement was. So he denies the whole thing and puts the blame on me saying that I only invented the retort to exhibit my wit. It is indeed new to me that I have any wit, for I was under the impression that I was a person without any wit and a very dull and stupid individual! Manoj Das talks about occult forces as if he has experienced them. When he talks, he lies and indulges in utter falsehood on the Mother and the Master. Does he not fear the consequences of his words? I should be least surprised at his telling lies and falsehood in my name – but who am I but mere dust at the feet of the Master and the Mother! Manoj Das lectures on the Mother but I think that he himself has sold (if he has a soul at all) to the Devil, that is, Manoj Das Gupta. For me there is no greater devil than Manoj Das Gupta, and anyone supporting or sustaining him, has sold his soul to the Devil.

(Vijay Anuru)

In paragraphs 23, 24 and 25 of his suggestion for introspection, Manoj Das has said that an usurper had occupied the house and a piece of land of his brother-in-law Biswambhar, and that a case had been filed not by himself, but by the police. Yes, this is possible because he had a connection with a police officer in Chennai. We do not say that it is bad to recover his brother-in-law’s property from the usurper. Our point is that when Manoj Das is so keen for his brother-in-law’s property and, to recover it, he took help of the Court indirectly through the police, what harm is there when aggrieved disciples go to the Court to recover the prestige of their dearest Mother and Master from the usurpers and hijackers of the Ashram?

Manoj Das says, “One day when this conflict was going on, a journalist showed me a few photographs of a Dharna offered in front of the Post Office by three or four people brought by the usurper, who claimed to be an office-bearer of a political party (not the communist party of India as mentioned by Sricharan Singh) but the said party disowned his deed.”

This is not true. On 28.07.2011 near the Ashram Dining Room, in front of the G.P.O. (General Post Office), a Dharna was organised by the Communist Part of India (Marxist and Leninist). A lot of people had joined the Dharna. One of the posters said the following:
Manoj Das don’t file false complaints.
Matri don’t play foul.

The same communist party held a bigger Dharna in front of the Kottakuppam police station, Pondicherry on 01.08.2011. This time one of the posters said:
1.     Peter Heehs stop insulting Sri Aurobindo
2.     Manoj Das Gupta, Manoj Das and Matri Prasad, stop protecting Peter Heehs.
3.     Police remove visaless Peter Heehs from India.

As these two Dharnas were connected with important Ashram affairs, many Ashramites took photographs of them. Manoj Das cannot simply bluff that they did not happen. In these photographs everything is there, the participants, the party flag, the posters etc. The two dharnas were also shown on T.V.

When the party strongly retaliated against Manoj Das, he negotiated with them out of fear by selling the property at a very cheap price.

In paragraph 26, Manoj Das says, “Dear editor, …. I would not like to descend into the exercise again”.

But immediately on 10.05.2013 he descended into the exercise again by flexing the muscles of his brain.

In paragraph 27, the last paragraph, Manoj Das says, “So far as the impatient “Sricharan Singh” and his likes are concerned, they went to the court on several counts: let them quietly wait for the law to take its course and stop billing out ever-new lies and distortions.”

Manoj Das should try to be an example to others rather than give them hypocritical and high-sounding advice. He and his Lord Gupta Manoj should quietly wait for the law to take its course instead of taking revengeful action against innocent Ashramites.

Manoj Das is worried as to how and when this troublesome period will end. I have a very simple answer: When the present trustees will be replaced by a new board formed by a new scheme for the Ashram.

Sricharan Singh

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