28 Sept 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 Sept 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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17 Sept 2013

14 Sept 2013

Parents Made to Sign a Letter Defending SAICE ― Sridharan

Of late the Well-wishers of Sri Aurobindo Ashram have been quite active in assiduously defending the Ashram Trustees like well-paid clerks without any opinions of their own. Their views faithfully reflect the stand of the Ashram Trustees, and they make it a point to counter every posting on our site which questions the credibility of the Trust. The Secretary of the Trust, Matriprasad, has therefore written a long reply to the Tehelka reporter who wrote a pretty damaging article on the Ashram Trust. The reply of course gives only a one-sided picture on various criminal matters, giving references to documents which are not even published, so that we don’t even know whether they exist or not.

The latest posting on this site is a letter of the parents of the children of the Ashram School to the Governor of Puducherry. The letter states that there is no molestation or sexual harassment of children in the Ashram School as alleged by the recent posters that came up in the town, and that their children feel safe in the hands of the present management of the School. First of all, it should be made clear that if the children of these parents have been so far safe, it does not mean they will be always safe, given the lackadaisical approach of the School management towards school discipline. Secondly, it certainly does not mean that there is no basis for the complaints that have been made until now, for no number of signatures will annul the veracity of these complaints. After all, a rape, such as the Delhi rape incident, will be considered criminal even if all the residents of Delhi sign a petition denying the incident.
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6 Sept 2013

Sridharan Replies to Arindam Das of SAICE Forum

There are about half a dozen members of the SAICE forum who always take centre stage whenever somebody dares to say anything against the present Ashram Trustees. These are stooges of the Trustees with their own vested interests, who pour venom and vitriol on their target far beyond the range of normal human decency, while the other members of the SAICE forum silently (and shamelessly) watch the pyrotechnics of the show. Their vicious attack on Dr. Gayatri for her bold and sincere letter to all the devotees and disciples of the Mother was therefore expected. The attack only proves that the letter was good, perhaps excellent, and had the potential danger of bringing clarity to the confused minds of the Ashramites, for the Ashram Trustees would certainly like them to be in a permanent state of confusion. The last big event on this forum opened with a long and boring diatribe of Arindam Das, which was full of conceit and standard clich├ęs. His colleagues naturally clapped their hands in delight and made more snide and distasteful remarks on Dr Gayatri. I personally let out a big yawn at this usual exercise in character assassination, which reminds me of how children quarrel in middle school. I suppose these students of the Ashram School have never gone beyond that level. What else can they do! I reproduce Arindam Das’s hate speech in full and give my reactions and answers to the various issues he raises.
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