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Monday, March 19, 2012

Peter Heehs has stirred a hornet's nest

Public stir over failure to ban disputed book - Article Window times of india 2 Jan 2012 – Public stir over failure to ban disputed book
Aurobindo Ashram Inmates Divided Over Content. Bosco Dominique TNN Puducherry:
For the first time in the history of Sri Aurobindo Ashram, a section of inmates launched a public protest on Sunday against the ashram management.
    They protested against the failure to take action against fellow inmate Peter Heehs for making “denigrating and unacceptable remarks” on Sri Aurobindo and his spiritual collaborator, Mirra Alfassa, better known as the Mother, in his biography on the philosopher. Even as 12 inmates staged a silent protest, another section of inmates defended the book saying, it had received favourable reviews from experts in Aurobindo studies and the ashram “should not bow to pressure from fundamentalists”.
    The month-long protest between 8am and 11am daily. in front of the office of the Sri Aurobindo Trust is to seek the dismissal of the present group of trustees of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust and immediate expulsion of Peter Heehs from the ashram community. The protesters insist that the trust publicly declare that the book is factually incorrect and does not represent its views and that Peter Heehs has abused his position at the archives. They also demanded that the trust withdraw the copyright permission given to Columbia University Press.
    The book titled ‘The Lives of Sri Aurobindo’ published by Columbia University Press is available in the United States since April 2008. It stirred a hornet’s nest in India delaying its official launch here. The book triggered a series of debates in Puducherry, where the spiritual leader settled after abruptly curtailing his political career in 1910. A section of inmates submitted mass petitions to the ashram managing trustee Manoj Das Gupta in 2008 seeking a blanket ban on the book, although this book is not a publication by the ashram.
    A review by Choice, a publication of the Association of College and Research Libraries and a division of the American Library Association summed up the book as ‘essential’ for graduate students, faculty, researchers and general readers. The rival group of inmates contend that the ashram gives complete freedom to its inmates and everyone has the liberty to like or dislike a book. They argued that the protesters have not read the book but rather an unrepresentative set of “extracts” and have misunderstood certain things.
Mercifully, nobody has yet called for it to be banned but it's still early .....You can add to the list 'The Lives of Sri Aurobindo' by Peter Heehs. 
Book controversy takes an ugly turn The Hindu - Feb 27, 2012
The issue over the controversial book on Sri Aurobindo took an ugly turn when a few of the devotees who were staging dharna outside the Ashram Trust allegedly tried to “prevent” one of the seniormost members of the Trust from entering the office and ...
150 inmates of Aurobindo Ashram on three-day dharna IBNLive.com - Feb 26, 2012 PTI | 11:02 PM, Feb 26, 2012 Puducherry, Feb 26 (PTI)
About 150 inmates of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram here today embarked upon a three-day dharna demanding that trustees managing the ashram be dismissed immediately for their "failure" to protect its ...
Pondy ashram faces 3-day flak Deccan Chronicle - Feb 26, 2012By S. Prasad
The Sri Aurobindo Ashram here is facing an embarrassing turmoil with a section of the inmates and devotees launching a three-day protest against the trustees of the ashram for their alleged failure to take action against inmate and US ...
Sri Aurobindo, Heehs and the fragility of faith Hindustan Times (blog) - 22 Feb 2012
This time, it's Peter Heehs, an American historian, who has who has lived in and served the Sri Aurobindo Ashram for 41 years, set up the Ashram's Archives ...
comments on Sri Aurobindo in his book 'The Lives of Sri Aurobindo', the disciples of Sri Maa and Sri Aurobindo today urged ... notification in 2009 hadbanned the book published by Colombia University Press, New York.
2008: The Lives of Sri Aurobindo by Peter Heehs ... Were it not for these bans, Muslims would riot on Rushdie's blasphemous work, the ...
Ban the ban telegraph india 30 Jul 2011 Ramachandra Guha ...
The republic of India bans books with a depressing frequency. ... Press in New York published Peter Heehs's The Lives of Sri Aurobindo. Letters to Editor 3 Aug 2011 – Of the many cases, the ban on Peter Heehs’s The Lives of Sri Aurobindo deserves special mention. The abiding appeal of this controversial book lies in its empirical depth. Proscribing a book cannot be considered the right way to deal with controversial writers… Yours faithfully,
P.B. Saha, Calcutta
The Odisha High had banned the sale and distribution of the controversial book "The Lives of Sri Aurobindo" and the home department of the state government ...
Need To Ban The Book 'The Lives Of Sri ... on 12 August, 2010 Lok Sabha Debate Indian Kanoon - Lok Sabha Debates
MATTERS UNDER RULE-377: Need To Ban The Book The Lives Of Shri ... on 12 August, 2010 Title: Need to ban the book The lives of Sri Aurobindo written by a US author, for its allegedly containing derogatory remarks against Sri Aurobindo, an Indian patriot-laid.
SHRI AMARNATH PRADHAN (SAMBALPUR): Sri Aurobindo is one of the worthiest sons of India, who was a famous freedom fighter, revolutionary, Yogi, and Philosopher started an Ashram at Puducherry. The country is proud of his world famous literary genius and mysticism. But in the book titled, The lives of Sri Aurobindo”, written by Mr. Peter Heehs, a citizen of U.S.A, attempts have been made to blemish and defame Sri Aurobindo directly & indirectly. So, I request Hon’ble Prime-Minister to take suitable step to upheld the prestige of our motherland and protect the religious sentiment of crores of devotees by banning the book of Mr. Peter Heehs. 

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