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A Chance Meeting with Shri Ashok Anand, MLA

August 2, 2013

The report of a chance encounter with Shri Ashok Anand, MLA, has been sent to us by former students of the S.A.I.C.E. This is reproduced further below.

We are adding a few words of introduction on Shri Ashok Anand, MLA, Thattanchavady constituency, Puducherry.

Shri Ashok Anand’s first public interference in the internal affairs of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram was revealed when he led a group of so-called Ashram inmates, devotees and disciples to the office of the Puducherry Collector to urge the Government of Puducherry to conduct an inquiry into the workings of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram. Since then Sraddhalu Ranade, Raman Reddy, R.Y, Deshpande & Co believe that Shri Ashok Anand will be able to offer a political solution to the spiritual problem that these anti-Ashram elements have created in the Ashram.

When anonymous, illegal anti-Ashram posters were splattered all over the town of Puducherry, right on cue, Ashok Anand issued another anti-Ashram statement to the press showing great sympathy towards those who were responsible for affixing those illegal posters.

Shri Ashok Anand has been elected in the Thattanchavady constituency. The Sri Aurobindo Ashram is located in the Raj Bhavan constituency. It is exceptional to find that an MLA from one constituency is taking great interest in the grievances of a tiny anti-Ashram minority belonging to another constituency. For those who wish to convey their grievances to Shri Ashok Anand, the following web service may be used: MPMLA.IN.

For more information on Shri Ashok Anand’s assets, liabilities and criminal cases pending against him the following website and document may be consulted: National Election Watch.

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Dear all,

Two days ago, we had a chance meeting with Shri Ashok Anand. For those who may not be familiar with Shri Ashok Anand, he is a member of the Puducherry Assembly, elected from Thattanchavady constituency. As Shri Ashok Anand emerged from the Assembly and came towards us, we must confess that our initial reaction upon seeing him was quite uneasy, bordering on fear. Here was a powerful person, a representative of the people, in a bright white shirt, who was spearheading the movement to ‘clean up the Ashram’ in Pondicherry. We, on the other hand were ordinary individuals with absolutely no pedigree, sun-burnt and dusty after running errands in the town on motorbikes, and who in the world outside the Ashram would normally be termed as powerless activists. We thought we sensed an unease in Shri Ashok Anand as well, but couldn’t be sure why. To borrow an expression from Doordarshan news, the atmosphere was ‘tense but under control’.

The initial exchanges that took place were not exactly cordial. However, there was a marked difference as Shri Ashok Anand completed his statement to the Press. We got a feeling that he wanted to talk to us. He was looking calm and relaxed and we too, with the initial trepidation gone, didn’t want to miss the opportunity to have a good conversation with him. What transpired for the next half hour to forty minutes was an experience of our life time. The discussion was generally friendly and the credit goes to Shri Ashok Anand that he treated us with dignity. We, on our part, we were polite and courteous, always respectful of his position as a representative of the people of Puducherry. He surely has a good sense of humour, and on occasions, we had a good laugh. We particularly enjoyed his joke when he said that he wanted to sit on a fast-unto-death, at least to lose some weight if not for anything else! We of course offered to join him for regular walks on the beach along with some good discussions and informed him that even we needed to shed some extra flab.

It is not possible to recount in detail how the conversation progressed since we don’t have a transcript to go back to. It was however clear from the conversation that perhaps more discussion was needed to understand each other’s point of view. We have many unanswered questions that we would like Shri Ashok Anand to answer to us and we are sure there are questions in his mind that he would like us to answer. Our main plea to him was and still is to give us a patient hearing. We pointed out that we too were citizens of Puducherry and he was our representative as well. We told him that if one small section of our community had gone and hurled allegations against the Ashram, we too had the right to be heard and correct the picture. And given that he is a devotee himself he should listen to fellow-devotees like us. We have no doubt in our mind that he is completely unbiased and are confident that he will allow us to present our case to him.

Some of the key points that came up during the discussion are the following:

1. Whether he believes from his heart that the allegations are true?

2. Whether he thinks that going directly to the Collector with the allegations without approaching the Ashram first for clarification was the right thing to do?

3. Whether the Collector’s enquiry process was proper and free of bias?

4. Whether there is any need of enquiry by the Collector on allegations which are either already adjudicated and dismissed or are being adjudicated?

5. Whether there are any evidences to corroborate the allegations that are being leveled against the Ashram? If so, why the courts are not being approached?

6. Whether the Ashram has done anything wrong by blocking an unfair enquiry?

7. Whether the Ashram has ever in its history shied away from a fair enquiry?

8. Whether the illegal and ugly poster campaign against the Ashram needs to be condemned and the culprits brought to book?

9. Whether there is any justification in creating a furore on the streets when there is a due process of law underway in the courts?

10. Given the above, whether there is any need to seek government intervention in the internal affairs of the Ashram?

This was our first meeting with Shri Ashok Anand – not to mention a chance meeting. We are confident that we will be able to meet him again and explain our views. Being a people’s representative, we have no doubt that he has only goodwill for us in his heart.

Signed by former students of the S.A.I.C.E.

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– Well-wishers of Sri Aurobindo Ashram – 

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