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An attack on the Ashram: a coincidence or design?

April 12, 2013

From An Observer:

There was a time when the Sri Aurobindo Ashram was portrayed or seen by some as an “outside” entity that did not belong to the South Indian, Tamil town of Pondicherry. Fortunately this was a long, long time ago and things have completely changed since then.

During the last few decades the situation has evolved to such an extent that Puducherry and its people have now embraced Sri Aurobindo, The Mother and Their Ashram and the two are now virtually inseparable. Even the Government of Puducherry runs publicity campaigns to cash in on the “Peacefull Puducherry” that is created by the Ashram’s atmosphere by luring peace-loving tourists.

It was therefore shocking to find that on 21st March 2013 the Ashram was attacked by a violent group of vandals that claimed to represent Tamil “interests” and “sentiments.” It is now amply clear that the reasons for attacking the Ashram were for getting some easy publicity by assaulting a high-profile target such as the Ashram, thereby getting the media to cover their story.

But the question that beckons is why after decades of peace, tranquility and bonhomie between the Ashram and the people of Puducherry did such an act of violence against the Ashram occur? Is it a mere coincidence or was there a driving force behind this attack that designed it? Although such an incident does not deserve much more attention, it is nevertheless worth the while to try to trace its origins.

This unexpected turn of events against the Ashram cannot be explained unless we also take into account the continued, persistent efforts and campaigns to vilify the Ashram and create an atmosphere of hate against it during the last few years. These are indeed the actions that are being instigated and sustained by Raman Reddy, Sraddhalu Ranade, R.Y. Deshpande and their other associates, some of which are also present on the outside of the Ashram like the Bhattacharyas and a few others more who have pockets that are deep enough to promote some of their personal agendas against the Ashram.

During the last few years these anti-Ashram elements have and are still using every means possible to either take over or undermine and destroy the Ashram establishment and all that goes with it. All of us devotees and well-wishers of the Ashram have been witnessing how these hostile elements have been ruthlessly trying to get the courts, the governments – both local and central – and last but not least even motivated politicians, to meddle with the internal affairs of the Ashram. Many of these anti-Ashram elements are also known to rub shoulders with elements that belong to the shady underworlds that Sri Aurobindo and The Mother have worked so hard to keep away from the Ashram.

In this regard, the relation between this most recent attack and one of the worst attacks inflicted on the Ashram in its early days – the Mulshankar incident – in the year 1947, when Sri Aurobindo was still physically present, can be appreciated by reading Sri Aurobindo’s statement in his letter addressed to the Editor of The Statesman in Calcutta that was dictated to his secretary Nolini Kanta Gupta. Sri Aurobindo stated:

“We consider it [the attack] as the result or culmination of a long campaign by a … party which has been making speeches and publishing articles and pamphlets against the Ashram and trying in all ways to damage it in the eyes of the public for the last two years.”

Just like in 1947, it is therefore reasonable to assert that the recent attacks against the Ashram are “the result or culmination of a long campaign” run by those like Raman Reddy, Sraddhalu Ranade, R.Y. Deshpande and their other associates who have been “making speeches and publishing articles and pamphlets against the Ashram and trying in all ways to damage it in the eyes of the publicfor the last few years. Ironically, these are the same people who go around proclaiming that they are serving Sri Aurobindo’s “interests!”

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