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The two “sides”

December 30, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

This letter was distributed via the SAICE Yahoo Group.

Dear XXX,

I would like to make an observation and share a point of view on the “sides” that you are referring to in your e-mail.

The way that I (and suppose some others) look at this is that in this sordid TLOSA controversy, there is in reality only one real “side” that can be clearly identified and distinguished as a “side”. This is the side that we can call (for the lack of a more appropriate name) the “anti-TLOSA side”.

And this is the side that is:

– wanting to ban or take action against the TLOSA,

– taking action against the author personally (by wanting to expel him from his department/Ashram/country),

– acting against the Ashram in relation to the author’s book by adopting all kinds of arm-twisting tactics and even going to court,

– instigating, fuelling and propagating division, hatred and controversies in and around the Ashram,

– publicly insulting members of the Ashram and doing everything possible to bring some people to disrepute,

– etc., etc.

Ever since the TLOSA controversy erupted about 2 years ago or so, this is the only side that can be clearly identified as a “side”. Because if there really was another, opposite and equally extreme side, that we could for example call the “pro-TLOSA side” it would have been one that should have:

– demanded the Ashram authorities to issue statements that Peter’s book is the only real and official biography on Sri Aurobindo,

– asked for the removal of all other biographies from circulation,

– demanded a ban on all so-called hagiographies,

– taken to court those who have implicated against the Ashram and the book TLOSA,

– and so on and so forth,

Evidently and as we all know, there really isn’t a “pro-TLOSA” side or any other group or side that has behaved in such an exaggerated , excessive and unreasonable manner or taken such extreme and opposite views.

However, what I do clearly know and am familiar with, is that there is a loosely-connected, like-minded group which spontaneously formed itself over a period of time or (call it also a) “side” that isn’t keen to belong to any of the extreme sides. But this side is concerned about the on-going conflict because it is affected by it. This side is interested to understand and resolve this conflict. But this side is critical of the extreme positions that are being taken and it intervenes in order to try and restore some equilibrium. This side can be called as the “affected and concerned side”. And some of those who fall into this category and side:

– have read the TLOSA and have liked it,

– have read the TLOSA and have not liked certain portions but do not find anything wrong with the book,

– have not read the book and are not bothered whether it is good or not,

– are of the opinion that there is no need for the TLOSA controversy.

And what unites most of those who make the “affected and concerned side” is the fact that they:

– are against all forms of action that are being taken against the Ashram and some of its members,

– believe that external interference in the affairs of the Ashram is unnecessary and could have negative consequences,

– think that the finger pointing, blame game, division, hatred, etc., that is being instigated by the “anti- TLOSA” side is uncalled for,

– do not hesitate to frankly express their opinions against the extreme positions taken up by the one and only “side”: i.e. the “anti- TLOSA” side.

So I suppose that anyone will understand that in reality there are no two opposite “sides” and that the playing field is already inherently and heavily tilted against the “anti- TLOSA” side.

The fact of the matter is that the “anti-TLOSA side” has perhaps cornered itself by adopting extreme, exaggerated and unreasonable views, opinions and positions. Moreover, in the total absence of an opposite and extreme “pro-TLOSA” side, the “anti-TLOSA side” is relentlessly fighting the mirage of a “pro-TLOSA side” which just doesn’t exist.

Additionally, if the “anti-TLOSA side” is seen to be stuck neck-deep in the quagmire and quicksand of its own self-promoted opinions and ideologies, they are the ones responsible for it because it is a situation that is entirely of their making. And I believe that if they now wish to extricate themselves with some dignity from the mess that they have created it can only happen if they take cognizance of their excesses. And no amount of reaching out can help till that happens.

So just as the “anti-TLOSA side” created this absurd mess to begin with, the onus is also now on them to start showing clear and visible signs that they have had enough of being stuck in their own mess and that they want to move forward in a constructive manner. And it is up to them to start engaging with all concerned without of course forgetting to adopt some reason and decency.

And last but not the least, it will certainly help if the “anti-TLOSA side” cast aside their belief that they are the ONLY sincere and bona fide people around while all the others are merely airing the views or are only interested in rigging the discussion!



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