Friday, March 30, 2012

Liberalize, pluralize, and modernize

Let Every Ashramite Fearlessly Vote on the Present Issue! MAR 25, 2012 Anonymous Letter … Option 4)
I support the theory that Manoj and Shraddhalu should join hands to run this ashram with harmony while always informing all the ashramites about important decisions with timely debates. Sack Peter and no more Dharnas. 
Let every Ashramite fearlessly vote for this in open (secrecy of their votes will be maintained)  everybody must come to vote and the electronic counting will happen on the spot in front of everyone's eyes. A critique of the book "The Lives of Sri Aurobindo" by Peter Heehs Posted by General Editor at 3/25/2012 03:11:00 PM 

Hence it so happens that a national party too acts as a region-specific front in New Delhi with its obvious bias towards states that have numbers. Ironically, in a pan-regionalist front at the centre, like the much talked about Third Front, the states that may become the maximum casualty are the ones that are in desperate need of healthy regionalist voices to elevate them from underrepresentation. Who will look to 1 member-strong Sikkim’s or 2 member-strong Goa’s concerns, when there would be so much else to bargain among the squabbling leaders from large states in such a coalition? …
There emerges a second and the most important option for an India that can no longer be ignored at the wake of this new pan-regionalism. It is radical but worth implementing before things get out of hand. That is that India must now fulfil its six decades old promise of federalism to the truest extent… History’s lesson that catastrophe follows when a strong centralized state wants to hold on to the ‘illusion of power’, was most emphatically vindicated by the collapse of Soviet Union. India cannot afford to live with that illusion. For it must realize that a large and loosely decentralised federation with all the vibrancy of diverse and even conflicting regional and sub regional interests, make for a colourful democracy, a better home for liberty and a safer haven against tyranny. This perhaps is the time to liberalize, pluralize and modernize the idea of India, if it must not go against itself! 

It may be argued that all these things produce some results and then fizzle out because of the – historically proven – insubstantiality of such rudderless movements in the long-run. It may be further suggested that, although not very likely, it is distinctly possible that after all the long travail and intense suffering, in the end, the Arab people may again – as did the French after the conclusion of the French Revolution – find themselves under another authoritarian yoke different only in name… Before we proceed further it is important to understand the significance of the French Revolution and evaluate humanity’s unsuccessful attempts to organize a society on this basis. In the words of Sri Aurobindo:
The greatness of the French Revolution lies not in what it effected, but in what it thought and was. Its action was chiefly destructive. It prepared many things, it founded nothing. Even the constructive activity of Napoleon only built a halfway house in which the ideas of 1789 might rest until the world was fit to understand them better and really fulfil them. The ideas themselves were not new; they existed in Christianity and before Christianity they existed in Buddhism; but in 1789 they came out for the first time from the Church and the Book and sought to remodel government and society. It was an unsuccessful attempt, but even the failure changed the face of Europe. And this effect was chiefly due to the force, the enthusiasm, the sincerity with which the idea was seized upon and the thoroughness with which it was sought to be applied. The cause of the failure was the defect of knowledge, the excess of imagination. The basal ideas, the types, the things to be established were known; but there had been no experience of the ideas in practice. European society, till then, had been permeated, not with liberty, but with bondage and repression; not with equality, but with inequality and injustice; not with brotherhood, but with selfish force and violence. The world was not ready, nor is it even now ready for the fullness of the practice. It is the goal of humanity, and we are yet far off from the goal. But the time has come for an approximation being attempted. And the first necessity is the discipline of brotherhood, the organisation of brotherhood,—for without the spirit and habit of fraternity neither liberty nor equality can be maintained for more than a short season. The French were ignorant of this practical principle; they made liberty the basis, brotherhood the superstructure, founding the triangle upon its apex. For owing to the dominance of Greece & Rome in their imagination they were saturated with the idea of liberty and only formally admitted the Christian and Asiatic principle of brotherhood. They built according to their knowledge, but the triangle has to be reversed before it can stand permanently.”(CWSA 1: 512-13) …
It should be clear from all the above that we cannot possibly found a collectivity on the formula of the French Revolution unless we first concentrate on the base of the triangle – Brotherhood – which exists only in the soul and the Spirit and can exist nowhere else without it. This leads us to the true solution – the imperative necessity of seeking for the spiritual Reality – The Truth of our Being. Sri Aurobindo’s August 15, 1947 Message


  1. The following comment on Anonymous Letter was attempted to be put on website but was rejected as not useful.I suppose,for that site a call for decency,or pointing out how false and crude insults defeat the purpose of any letter or movement,is useless.

    Dear Editor,

    I do not wish to comment on Manojda or Sraddhalu. I understand your purpose of putting up this letter as encouraging democratic setup in ashram. But the low personal attacks in the letter seem unnecessary to its object and so have dented its credibility, in contradiction to the ending 'be humble'.

    To take up a few examples, I do not know about Dr.Dutta as trustee but as a doctor his compassionate and impartial approach show he is hardly out of his mind. The scholars Deshpandeji and Manoj Das are friendly and approachable in spite of their many achievements. Calling Sadhanadi outrageously mad and the insinuations against Monada are cheap. The personal accusation against the introvert Jay is laughable as he is not that type at all. Jhumurdi is certainly not egoistic and arrogant, in fact she is a gentle person.

    Actually the inclusion of one or two unexpected names in the letter in the list of 'fools above', because they have kept themselves out of all the issues, points to who could perhaps jointly have written this letter. If they are reading this, they might know we are guessing who they are.

    In conclusion, my point is as the personal allegations are quite absurd and look more like venting anger, many will find it difficult to take the anonymous authors seriously and their main purpose is compromised. Also as you rightly point out the vote options are impractical.

  2. Please follow: [Comments bearing some name/pseudonym/identity will appear in future. TNM 011110 SEOF]