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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

No question-answers or discussions

Trustees Cancel Vijay Poddar's Talk The Trustees of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram called off Vijay Poddar's talk on the Lives of Sri Aurobindo by Peter Heehs. Rattled that the talk may expose the book to a larger audience in the Ashram, the Trustees requested Vijay Poddar to cancel his presentation. The talk would have created a greater awareness on the book both from the point of view of its malafide intention and dubious scholarship. It would have made a large number of Ashramites look askance at the Trustees regarding their exact position with regard to the book.
Do they support it or not? Do they approve of it or not? If they do, why don't they declare their praise and admiration for Peter Heehs. And if they don't, why don't they condemn it outright? Why this duplicitous silence! And why gag the efforts of one of the most intelligent students of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram Centre of Education to throw light on it? Vijay Poddar happens to be a senior teacher at the SAICE apart from holding a position of authority in the Sri Aurobindo Ashram Society, which has hundreds of centres in India and abroad. Both Ashramites and devotees and disciples from outside Pondicherry hold him in great esteem and would have been glad to know his opinion on the book that has rocked the Ashram since the last four years. His opinion need not be officially accepted by the Trustees, but why curtail his freedom of expression, especially when they themselves don't know what to say, think or do! Bireshwar Choudhurystake.

RYD Feb 13, 2012 11:07 PM I understand that a few days ago he had made a detailed presentation to the trustees in the Trust Office. Can we have some idea about its contents and the views of the officials? Thanks.

Monday, February 13, 2012 9:29 AM Subject: Just fyi - Info session tomorrow on efforts regarding the PH / book issue Dear friends, This is just to let you know in case you have not already been informed:
We have just heard from Kiran di that tomorrow Tuesday evening, at 8.40 pm, Vijay bhai of SA Society will present a summary of a 3 hour talk on the 'TLOSA issue' that took place a few days ago between a group of devotees (which includes Kiran di) and the Ashram trustees, in an effort by the former to seek some progress that may break the present, ever-worsening deadlock. Tomorrow's info session has been organised ad-hoc on request of many people who are asking what transpired; anybody with a sincere concern & aspiration is welcome ('there are no closed doors'). However the organisers stress that the occasion is only for the sake of information, i.e. there will be no question/answers, discussions etc. Please feel free to let anybody know you think would want to attend. Venue is the SAS Beach Office. Om Namo Bhagavate At Their feet, J
Aravinda & Jasmin Maheshwari, Matur Udyanam, Ousteri Lake, Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Puducherry 605002

Shahabuddin verses (by Indrajit Hazra) from Communalism Watch by c-info From: Hindustan Times January 22, 2012
Syed Shahabuddin is one of history’s most underrated literary critics. It was this Janata Party MP who had first sent across a letter to the then prime minister, Rajiv Gandhi, in 1988 tipping off the latter about what he felt was a very rotten book. … So things haven’t changed one jot since the great Shahabuddin, echoing Oscar Wilde’s line, “I never read a book I must review; it prejudices you so”, wrote way back in 1988 in an ‘Open letter to Salman Rushdie’, “I do not have to wade through a filthy drain to know what filth is.” 

I don’t know how many remember the story of Syed Modi, who was murdered in 1988. … So, quite clearly, Shourie had been perfectly willing to lead his newspaper on a campaign to subvert justice even as it was fighting the government on corruption. I am sure he did it with the highest of motives – I think he thought that getting the Rajiv Gandhi government out was then the highest national interest. But something didn’t seem right.
The story faded to a dim memory for me, but I suppose the lesson has always stayed with me. It accounts for my cynicism over the Lok Pal and the concept of “Persons of unimpeachable integrity”. It accounts for my scepticism over the idea that the dynasty represents everything that is wrong with the country, or that if only the country rediscovered its Hindu soul, we would be great. It accounts for my discomfort with idolizing or demonizing (Narendra) Modi. In general, I am sceptical of any solution that relies on people’s character rather than structures and incentives.

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