Monday, April 2, 2012

Ramachandra Guha twists truth

The titanic ego comes through and so does the strong trail of doubt and questioning that follows. However, this is invaluable from the point of view of refuting the recent controversial biography and the sordid attempt at manufacturing some sort of a love triangle soap opera between this person and Mother Sri Aurobindo due to which, per the impression the book creates, this “poor fellow” had to leave Pondi. The author of that book, writing more like a tabloid journalist rather than a meticulous historian, deliberately leaves out this testimony altogether since it spoils the coherence of that dirty picture by proving that the man left due to his own unwillingness to accept Sri Aurobindo and take the right approach to Him.

In Hume's footsteps - Hindustan Times The line of western fighters for India's freedom is long. There is a perhaps longer (if less well known) list of foreigners who, after the British departed, made signal contributions to the now independent Republic of India. Ramachandra Guha April 02, 2012
It is in this noble tradition that Peter Heehs falls. Heehs was recently in the news, for the fact that after staying in India for nearly 40 years he finds his visa status in peril. In his decades in this country Heehs has won a considerable reputation as a historian and biographer. His books The Bomb in Bengal and The Lives of Sri Aurobindo are superb works of historical scholarship. The latter book, first published to wide acclaim by Columbia University Press, is not yet available in India, owing to a court case filed by motivated (and perhaps ignorant) people. As one who has read the book I can say that it's unlikely ever to be surpassed. It deals with all facets of Aurobindo's life - student, teacher, revolutionary, ascetic, spiritualist, poet, philosopher - with scrupulous sympathy combined with scrupulous honesty.
No one knows more than Heehs about the life of Sri Aurobindo. And no one has done more, either, to preserve Sri Aurobindo's works for posterity. Heehs and his colleagues - some western, some Indian - were instrumental in setting up the archives of the Aurobindo Ashram; and in publishing 16 volumes of Aurobindo's writings, these painstakingly transcribed over very many years of selfless service. Yet this is the man, and scholar, now threatened with deportation from India due to the intrigues of petty and motivated men.
As I write this, news comes that the home ministry is 'reviewing' Heehs' visa extension. One trusts that the review is favourable; that would be the right thing for (and by) Heehs, for Sri Aurobindo, and for India. Ramachandra Guha is the author of India After Gandhi: The History of The World's Largest Democracy. The views expressed by the author are personal. On Heehs: In Hume’s footsteps by Ramachandra Guha from Posthuman Destinies

After a furore over his controversial biography on spiritual leader and nationalist Sri Aurobindo, well-known American historian Peter Heehs faces the prospect of ... Historian faces expulsion: Are we an intolerant democracy? - Video ...

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