Ashram Trustees are the real targets
Rambahadur Rai, noted Hindi journalist, recently authored an article on the controversy surrounding the publication of “The Lives of Sri Aurobindo” by Peter Heehs in the fortnightly magazine Pratham Pravakta. A scanned copy of the original article is available here and a translated article is available here.
In his article, Rambahadur Rai provides some interesting insights and revelations which we are highlighting here:
“The place of controversy is Pondicherry. The fight is being fought by MPs. How many among these MPs are acquainted with the ground-reality of Pondicherry? The 68 MPs who have signed this charge-sheet are not even capable of finding out if their names are not being misused by someone. The principal coordinator in this affair is Kartikeshwar Patro. He is a former MP thanks to the ‘grace’ of the people. He is taking full advantage of all the privileges of a former MP and lives in Bhubaneshwar. He wrote a letter to Manoj Das Gupta, the Managing Trustee of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram, asking him to provide clarifications related to Peter Heehs’ book.
If Dr Kartikeshwar was sincere in his desire to know what the connection was between Peter Heehs’ book and the Ashram, then the controversy would have been resolved last May itself. He had gone to Pondicherry then. On his request a meeting of the Board of Trustees was called from which he came out satisfied. Only he can tell us as to what happened subsequently that he had to mysteriously ask the Ashram for clarifications. Nobody else can answer that question. The letter that Manoj Das Gupta wrote to him just proves one thing: that Kartikeshwar Patro is being manipulated by someone else. The letter of 12th June contains the proof of this. On 2nd June he reached the office of the Pondicherry Ashram. First he met Nirmal Chandra and then Matriprasad. Until then he was under the mistaken notion that 14, Saint Gilles Street in front of which he was standing, was the residence of Sraddhalu. When he realised that he was standing in front of the Ashram Office, he asked where Sraddhalu’s house was. When he was told, he turned around exclaiming he would return after dropping in to see Sraddhalu. It becomes clear that Kartikeshwar Patro is dancing to someone else’s tune. Is it Sraddhalu? This gentleman is a member of the Ashram and resides in the Ashram.
The Board of Trustees receives a letter written on 5th May by a Lok Sabha MP, Jyoti Mirdha, representing Nagaur in Rajasthan. Then a second letter, written on 22nd May and similar to the one of 5th May, is addressed to the Board of Trustees. Both these letters are given to the Board of Trustees via Manoj Das Gupta, the Managing Trustee. The second letter has 67 signatures. Most of these signatures have also the division number written on the side. The second letter also has Jyoti Mirdha’s signature. Both the letters look amazingly alike. Not a word is different nor any new questions have been added. The first three paragraphs are the same and then the 7 bulleted points for which clarification is sought. It is clear that the letter has been drafted somewhere else. Both the letters are identical. Isn’t it bewildering then that the paper on which the Members of Parliament have affixed their signature does not contain a single word that has emanated from them, except their signature?
Manoj Das Gupta, the Managing Trustee, at once replied to Kartikeshwar Patro on 12th June. In this letter every point of clarification has been dealt with. In that letter he asked for the addresses of the signatory MPs so that he could send them the clarifications by post. This letter is in fact a document and its contents cover 8 sheets. Relevant corroborative annexures are attached with the clarifications so as to authenticate the clarifications. The curious point is that this respected gentleman, Mr Patro did not take the trouble to provide the addresses of those signatory MPs. Doesn’t this betray a desire to intentionally perpetuate doubt and confusion? At first sight, on this basis then, the odds seem to be tilted in favour of the Managing Trustee. The odds seem always tilted in favour of truth, whatever the circumstances might be.
…Some MPs have sided with the truth and have decided to stand up for the Ashram. Whoever gets to see the full picture will alter their point of view.”
– Well-wishers of Sri Aurobindo Ashram –