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?

In the Higher Course of the Ashram School, the students have the freedom to choose their teachers, the subjects and the number of periods they would like to study with them. Usually the teachers are given an appointment time to meet the students. The students see the names of the teachers in the Teachers' List and fix up their timetables after meeting them. The final verdict of the Court was passed last year on the 5th of December 2012. On the 7th of December, the Higher Course Authority, Miss Jhumur Bhattacharya, included Radhikaranjan’s name in the Higher Course Teachers’ List and sent a written communication to him stating that he can go and fix his time table with the students on the 17th of December at 3 pm. But on the 10th of December, his name was struck off from the list and a second communication was despatched to him stating that the meeting with the students was cancelled (note that the word was 'cancelled' and not 'postponed') and that he would be intimated later. On the 14th of December another letter written and signed by the Registrar was sent to him stating that he may follow the instructions as stated in the first communication and go ahead and fix his time table with the students on the 17th  of December.

Radhikaranjan went on the 17th of December at the appointed time, but he saw that his name was not there in the Higher Course Teachers' List. Naturally the students wouldn't and couldn't come to meet him and fix up their classes as he was not listed in the Higher Course Teachers' List. The Registrar’s crooked plan was that Radhikaranjan would naively go to the Higher Course Building, sit there waiting for students to come, and when none would turn up, he would leave thinking that no one wishes to study with him. But when Radhikaranjan didn’t find his name in the Teachers’ List, he went to the Higher Course Office and asked the staff as to why his name was not included in it. He was then told by the office assistant that his name had been included on the 7th of December but deleted on the 10th of December. Then on the 19th of December after the class fixing was done, his name had been added by hand with a pen on the Higher Course Teachers' List.

By this deceitful act the Registrar created the false impression of having complied with the Court Order. He would be able to say that he did give Radhikaranjan a chance to fix up his classes with the students, but that the students did not choose him as a teacher. But Radhikaranjan’s classes in the Higher Course are only a minor portion of his full time table. The major portion of his classes had been in the lower classes of the School, which had been intentionally overlooked. As none of these classes had been assigned to him, there was still a violation of the Court Order. This is the kind of crookedness that is being practised by the Registrar and the School Committee in the Ashram School where Sri Aurobindo wanted straightforwardness:
             
The children should be helped to grow up into straightforward, frank, upright and honourable human beings ready to develop into divine nature.

Sri Aurobindo

This message is printed on the cover of the institution's notebooks. Unfortunately the very opposite of straightforwardness is being practised by the present authorities of the Ashram School.

This time, in the present academic session of 2013-14, due to the pressure of the ongoing Enquiry on the Ashram Trustees, the Registrar, thought of a similar plan in order to throw dust in the eyes of the Enquiry Officer. He took advantage of the fact that the number of Sanskrit students at the Higher Course level had drastically diminished due to his outright hostility to the teaching of Sanskrit in the Ashram School. Like last year Radhikaranjan was directed through a written note to fix his Sanskrit classes with the students of the Higher Course. This time his name was not deleted from the Teachers’ List, but as there were so few Sanskrit students at the Higher Course level that Radhikaranjan did not get any students. This has once again enabled the Registrar to create a false record of restoring Radhikaranjan’s classes without actually letting him teach in the Ashram School!

Later two students of the Higher Course met Radhikaranjan after school hours and requested him to teach Sanskrit to them. They said they would meet him the next day in the Higher Course premises, but the following day, when Radhikaranjan went to the appointed place, the students didn’t show up. This obviously shows that they had been in some way threatened with unpleasant consequences and were prevented from attending his classes. As for Radhikaranjan’s classes at the school level, the Registrar said, “About his classes in the school, we will see later.” Radhikaranjan used to take twenty-five periods in the school and four periods in the Higher Course. Now he has not a single class thanks to the manipulations of the Registrar, who allows him to teach where there are no students and debars him from teaching where there are so many students that there is a shortage of teachers!

Let this crookedness of the Registrar of the Ashram School be known to one and all!


Banamali Mishra

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