Friday, April 6, 2012

Heehs speaks

After four years of falsely claiming that he could not speak publicly because of legal cases, Peter Heehs is now freely giving interviews to any and every newspaper or TV channel that approaches him in a desperate attempt to tilt public opinion in the hope that his deportation order can be overturned. Heehs pleads to be given the same treatment that he has received for the last 40 years, yet claims that he does not ask for any special privileges. Having abused the many privileges that he received for so long, the appeal comes a tad too late. Moreover, one has to ask, what has he done to deserve pardon. Even now, as always in the last four decades, he disdainfully rejects all discussion and refuses to apologise for abusing his provileges, for insulting Sri Aurobindo and the Mother and for causing so much pain to millions of devotees. 
For the last four years Heehs avoided public debates and spoke through his many proxies to avoid direct discussion on the many factual distortions and the academic fraudulences on which his book is based. His latest live discussion on Times Now on April 5, 2012 is revealing. Among other things, it shows how hard Heehs finds it to defend the many perverse passages in his book. When challenged with the false charges of Sri Aurobindo's "madness", Heehs claims that he was merely "studying" the "suggestion" of "correlation between mental instability and genius"!

Will U.S historian get a visa extension? Times - 6 Apr 2012, 0841 hrs IST
Puducherry has been his home for the last four decades but America born historian Peter Heehs is now being forced to leave India after the Regional Registration Office at Puducherry has refused to extend his visa. Heehs had spent nearly four decades while working on a project of digitisation and archival of works of freedom fighter and spiritual leader Sri Aurobindo. His controversial biography of Sri Aurobindo- “The Lives Of Sri Aurobindo” maybe the root cause of his worry today, paving the way to his deportation.
But with the matter still under the purview of the Union Home Ministry, a worried Heehs can now only hope that the Government will listen to his appeal and let him stay in the country where he has spent 40 years of his life. Some historians had protested against the move of cancelling his visa and had also petitioned Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Chidambaram for reconsideration of decision. 

Peter aptly defends his work and the Ashram Trust in this interview with IBN's Sagarika Ghose Link to: Peter Heehs TV Interview.

The Peter Heehs and Sri Aurobindo Controversy Discussed on Face the Nation By Columbia University Press April 6th, 2012 at 9:19 am
Recently Peter Heehs, author of The Lives of Sri Aurobindo was denied an extension of his visa to stay in India despite the fact that he has spent the last four decades there. His visa denial is a result of the continuing controversy surrounding his book about Sri Aurobindo, the revered Indian freedom fighter, religious leader, poet, scholar, and political and cultural theorist, who died in 1950.
Heehs’s book has been challenged by a small minority of Sri Aurobindo’s followers, who have successfully put appealed to Right-wing politicians in the Indian government to ban the book in India. On the Indian program Face the Nation, two followers of Sri Aurobindo and two scholars discuss the controversy and the increasing frequency on bans of and threats to writers and scholars in India. Posted by Columbia University Press in ReligionSouth Asian Studies

American historian Peter Heehs, whose book 'The Lives of Sri Aurobindo' has sparked protests and demands for him to leave India, says powerful people are pressurizing the government not to renew his visa. Heehs also said democracies should not ban books and his book on Sri Aurobindo is a scholarly biography which is an attempt to examine Aurobindo as a spiritual leader and not as an avatar of god. He was speaking to CNN-IBN Deputy Editor Sagarika Ghose.  .

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