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Monday, January 30, 2012

Peter Heehs continues to visit the Ashram Archives


I write this to you representing the pain and anguish of thousands of Inmates and devotees of the Ashram, and seek your intervention to ensure that Auroville and its institutions are not misused in this manner. Otherwise the views of SAIIER Board will be misconstrued as representing those of Auroville Foundation involving your implicit sanction and approval, and will be filed in the Courts tomorrow by the Trustees, as has been the case with other such letters that the Trustees have solicited and sponsored. […]
No disciplinary action has been taken against the author. No steps have been taken against either the author or the publisher to withdraw the book or to protect the Ashram from the violation of copyright. In fact, even to this day, Peter Heehs continues to visit the Ashram Archives practically every day outside official working hours, he still retains full privileged access to all its rare and unpublished documents, and he still keeps a large part of these documents and thousands of reference cards in his exclusive possession and not at the Ashram Archives!
While the Trustees took no actions to protect the Ashram from harm and to curb Peter Heehs from his abuse of Sri Aurobindo and his anti-national activities, the same Trustees came out in violent force to victimise and intimidate all those who criticised the book and exposed its factual distortions! Many Inmates were targeted by arbitrarily terminating their work in the community life, or by denying them food in the Dining Room community kitchen, or denying basic facilities of the community including medical facilities. Many others were threatened with denial of food, shelter and medical care, and some with threat of bodily harm and injury. All these threats were used by them to gain support and cooperation from unwilling Inmates for continuing to protect Heehs and promote abuse of Sri Aurobindo in the name of His own Ashram.
These malafide actions by the Trustees are not merely illegal, they are violations of basic human rights, and are, above all, violations of the spirit and values upon which the Ashram was originally founded by Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. From: Sraddhalu Ranade, Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Pondicherry To: Dr Karan Singh, Chairman, Auroville Foundation, Auroville. 23 January 2012 Sub: Letter from SAIER dated December 12, 2011 and delivered on January 14, 2012. 

Inmates of Aurobindo Ashram observe dharna Puducherry Sunday, Jan 1 2012 IST
Controversy continues on Sri Aurobindo's biography The Sunday Indian CHITTARANJAN CHIRANJIT | Bhubaneswar, January 20, 2012
Aurobindo's disciples demand deportation of US national PTI | 08:01 PM, Jan 27, 2012 Bhubaneswar, Jan 27 (PTI) IBNLive.com

Friday, January 20, 2012

Peter Heehs has appealed in High Court to withdraw the ban


CHITTARANJAN CHIRANJIT | Bhubaneswar, January 20, 2012 17:51

A bench of Odisha High court asked the Chief Secretary, Odisha to reply on the issue regarding the ban on Sri Aurobindo's biography in the state. A petition was filed before the High Court challenging the ban imposed by the State Government. The notice has been served to Chief Secretary though a special messenger.

Earlier, the State government had issued a gazette notification for prohibition over publication of the controversial book. The prohibition is for alleged disrespect of the spiritual guru Sri Aurobindo. The bench comprising Chief Justice V.Gopal Gauda, Justice Madanmohan Das and Justice Indrajeet Mohanty heard the petition filed by author Peter Heehs.

It should be noted that the book titled 'The Lives of Sri Aurobindo' was penned by Peter Heehs, a former inmate of Sri Aurobindo Ashram. Origionally, the book was brought out by Penguine Publication outside India. After it heat the stands, admirers and followers of Sri Aurobindo complained of insulting words about Sri Aurobindo. The issue has shocked a large no of devotees and that is why High Court had put a ban over publication of the book in India. Now, Peter Heehs has appealed in High Court to withdraw the ban on the book.

Another section of his devotees led by Geetanjali Bhattacharya, a resident of Balasore in Orissa, had filed a petition in the Orissa High Court seeking a ban on the book and action against writer Peter Heehs for sensationalising the actual story of the spiritual leader. She had alleged that it contains 'obnoxious and ill-shaped facts about the late spiritual leader'. The court has stayed the release of the book in India. "Peter will lose the legal battle as he has tried to tarnish the image of Sri Aurobindo", said Bhattacharya's counsel Millan Kanoongo.

The Columbia University Press in USA first published 'The Lives of Sri Aurobindo' in April 2008 and in India in November 2009 by Penguin India.