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Sraddhalu & Co Vs SAICE alumni: SR & Co’s claims of a broad consensus

August 1, 2013

This post is in continuation of the exchange that Sridharan, Sraddhalu & Co have begun with former students of the S.A.I.C.E.

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Dear website Editors/Administrators,

I am sending you a copy of a message I sent to Sraddhalu, Sridharan & Co on 30th July 2013, which is in continuation of the exchange that has started on their website. They have neither reproduced my message nor responded to it yet. I think that the readers of your website could be made aware of the information that I sent Sraddhalu, Sridharan & Co.

Copy of my email to Sraddhalu, Sridharan & Co sent on 30th July 2013:

Hello Sridharan, Sraddhalu & Co,

This is in continuation of our exchange on your website here: http://www.thelivesofsriaurobindo.com/2013/07/sridharan-replies-to-aurofilio-of-saice_20.html

In my email to you dated 17th July 2013 I had stated:

Filio: Fact no. 1: In the Ashram or among the devotees and “beneficiaries”, there is not an unanimous, educated, informed, objective view, consensus, opinion or belief that Peter’s book (The Lives of Sri Aurobindo) denigrates or attacks Sri Aurobindo. What we have are a diverse range of views on Peter’s book.

Is this, according to you, a fact or not?

On 20th July 2013 you presented the following point in response:

Sridharan: There is certainly a broad consensus on the negativity of the book. Otherwise the Orissa Govt. would not have proscribed it through a gazette notification in April 2009. The Orissa Govt at the behest of the Central Govt conducted a police enquiry all over the state of Orissa and received thousands of letters from devotees of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. Letters were also written by various associations (legal, academic, medical, etc) to the Govt. All the Sri Aurobindo centres of Orissa co-ordinated in this exercise and collected lakhs of signatures condemning the book, after which the Orissa Govt decided to ban the book.

My response:

Just because you say that there is a broad consensus on the negativity of the book, it does not make it so. You mention a few “facts” to try to support your claim about the broad consensus on the negativity of the book. I will deal with these “facts” subsequently. For the time being, instead of relying on your statements and interpretations of these “facts,” I will at first use a common sense approach, which anyone else can follow independently, to assess the breadth and extent of the consensus you speak of.

According to me, the best place to begin assessing the breadth and extent of the consensus is on your own website “thelivesofsriaurobindo.com” which is the epicenter of negativity on Peter’s book.

In this regard I would like to recall a poll that was conducted on your own website in March 2009 more or less the same time when the much touted Gazette in Orissa was being notified. I am attaching a screenshot of the poll result and am reproducing the result here below:

Result of the poll conducted on the website “thelivesofsriaurobindo.com” in March 2009

Result of poll conducted by thelivesofsriaurobindo.com

Don’t ask me how this adds up, but what it appears to show is that many who polled on that website found the book useful and representative.

Strangely, or rather not so strangely, the poll was immediately removed from your website and these results have been hidden by you ever since.

There is also another indicator on your own website “thelivesofsriaurobindo.com” that gives one a sense of the breadth and extent of the number of people who are really disturbed by Peter’s book. On your “thelivesofsriaurobindo.com” website there is a page called “What You Can Do” which states that:

“If you feel that the book

  • is deceptive in its contents
  • misrepresents Sri Aurobindo
  • or is academically unsound (and in parts at least even fraudulent)

you can do any or all of the following:

5. Submit your letter to the Editor of this website for inclusion under the Opinions category of posts. Send your email to rtlosa@gmail.com.”

As you have claimed that 200-300 people visit your website everyday (to make us believe that you have a large following), before checking the “Opinions” category of posts, I thought that I would find millions, or at least thousands of testimonials that would establish the “broad consensus” on the negativity of Peter’s book. I was instead rudely shocked to find only 10 (!!!), yes a measly TEN, submissions. That too, out of the ten submissions, one is from Alok Pandey, another is from ‘Narad’, two are from RY Deshpande, one from Paulette (that is neither for or against the book) is also reproduced by RY Deshpande but picked out from another blog and one more has been fished out from the highly dubious Savitri Era Open Forum website and has been authored by someone who is anonymous. That leaves us 4 testimonials submitted in almost 5 years; an average of less than1 submission per year!

I am sorry to say that even if I go by the numbers present on your website, I fail to find the broad consensus on the negativity of the book that a handful of you are claiming. It’s always the same handful of you disgruntled guys, with a few of your aliases to add some more numbers. The fact, as shown on your own website, is that you represent a very narrow consensus.

More later.

Cheers!

Filio

=========================================================================================================– Well-wishers of Sri Aurobindo Ashram – 

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One Comment
  1. seema permalink

    Filio,
    you seem to be displaying a strong and vehement support for the book of peter. i do not know what weakness you have for Peter and that is immaterial.
    you would appreciate when there is a dispute between two or more groups, then a disputant group can not sit in arbitration. the dispute has to be referred to a Court. In this case the High Court of Orissa found the book to be denigrating. If you disagree with the findings you are free to challenge the same by way of an Appeal before the Apex Court, but you cant take support from some poll conducted on line to aver that the book is not offending.
    More over the views of Ashram or devotees of the ashram or the educated, informed etc beneficiaries is immaterial after a Court of competent jurisdiction has given its finding that the book is denigrating. to propagate contrary views could amount to contempt of Court.

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