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A documented history of the Prasad sisters’ campaign against the Ashram

January 14, 2015 Leave a comment

Well-wishers of Sri Aurobindo Ashram have made available the following documents pertaining to the suicide sisters’ “beyond belief” campaign against the Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust.

  1. Report of the Enquiry Officer at the High Court of Chennai dated 24/10/2002. This report details Hemlata Prasad’s gross misconduct and indiscipline, justifying the action taken against her by the Ashram Trust.
  2. Judgment of The Judicial Magistrate at Pondicherry dated 23/11/2004. Concludes that Hemlata Prasad’s charges of having been defamed, harassed, and sexually assaulted are baseless, full of contradictions, and made with mischievous intent.
  3. Report of the Fact Finding Enquiry Officer A.V. Nagarajan (Government of Pondicherry) in the matter of complaints among the residents in Ambabhikshu House and certain other Ashramites dated 10/1/2005. This report concludes (1) that the complaints filed by the Prasad sisters against members of the Ashram residing in the same apartment block were false, malicious and motivated, and that (2) the complaints against the Prasad sisters filed by numerous members of the Ashram and co-residents of said apartment block were true and serious. The report clearly establishes that “the undesirable demeanour of the five sisters [renders] them unsuitable for being inmates of the Ashram.”
  4. News report dated Jan 2005 of the Enquiry conducted by the National Commission for Women (NCW) into the  allegations of sexual harassment made by the Prasad sisters. The NCW did not submit a copy of its report to the Ashram. As this independent news report states, the allegation made by the Prasad sisters are false and there “appears to be malicious planning behind the complaints.”
  5. Enquiry Report of the National Human Right Commission, New Delhi, dated 12/4/2005. Concludes that the complaints filed by Arunashri Prasad  against several members of the Ashram are completely baseless, and that there is no ground for any human rights violation in the Sri Aurobindo Ashram.
  6. Order of the Madras High Court dated 21/6/2010 ordering the Prasad sisters to find accommodation outside of the Ashram premises.
  7. Second Order of the Madras High Court dated 3/8/2012 ordering the Prasad sisters to find accommodation outside the Ashram premises.
  8. Order of the Supreme Court dated 29/4/2014 ordering the Prasad sisters to vacate their premises and the Ashram by 31st July, 2014. This order was issued after the Prasad sisters had challenged the High Court’s order of August 2012. It is here that the Prasad sisters hired India’s topmost law firm in a final, desperate attempt to win their case. Considering that all along the Prasad sisters had stated that their financial position was weak, someone must have bet heavily on this case against the Ashram. The order shows that the Ashram prevailed.
  9. Affidavits of undertakings dated 7/5/2014, signed by the Prasad sisters, assuring the Courts and the Sri Aurobindo Ashram that they shall vacate their premises in the Ashram by 31st July 2014 as ordered by the Supreme Court.
  10. Order of the Supreme Court dated 9/12/2014 issuing an arrest warrant for the Prasad sisters for their contempt of court, for not having vacated their premises in the Ashram as agreed by them in their sworn affidavit of undertaking.
  11. Letter by the Prasad sisters to the Trustees dated 15/12/2014 threatening to commit suicide. This letter also contains the explicit threat of (1) holding all those people whom they would name in a suicide note responsible for their deaths and (2) causing adverse repercussions forthe Ashram in the event of their deaths.
  12. Ashram Trust’s letter to the Superintendent of Police dated 15/12/2014 informing the Police of the Prasad sisters’ suicide threat and asking the police to take all precautions to protect the sisters from causing harm to themselves and others.
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Prof. Manoj Das’s letter to the Organizer

September 30, 2014 3 comments

organizer

 


 

Dear Sir,

Greetings from Pondicherry

Not only have I been living in Sri Aurobindo Ashram for a little over fifty years, but I have also been entrusted at different times with the responsibility of writing regular personal columns in India’s major newspapers such as The Hindustan Times, The Times of India and The Hindu, apart from newspapers in my mother-tongue, Odia. But rarely in my career either as an inmate of Sri Aurobindo Ashram, nor as a free lance columnist had anything shocked me so much as the item “The Enemy Within” in the Opinion column of the esteemed Organiserdated the 21st of September, 2014. No less was my shock to see the author sporting his credential as a former editor of the Organiser. God forbid!

Has Mr. Chari the courage to swear by the name of Organiser, if not Mother India, that he had visited the Sri Aurobindo Ashram, if not to imbibe the spirit sublime dominating the air which may be beyond his aspiration,but at least to verify the credibility of the nasty and naked lies about the Ashram offered to him before he swallowed them? The book by Heehs was of course only a ploy to vomit out on the absorbing newsprint the dirt he was fed with, but can he swear by the truth that had read the book? Can he also swear by the truth that he had atleast asked the Ashram authorities or sought a clarification whether they had something to say about this matter?

It is not unusual for any spiritual institution to attract attacks from some hostile elements. In our times their zeal becomes redoubled because of the media’s propensity for such stuff and because of the unfortunate activities of some pseudo-spiritual institutions. But, surely, we expected better sense from your journal!

I assert that during my half-century in the Ashram I have never come across a single instance of violation of human rights and the other sins your author has attributed to the Ashram. I assure you I keep my eyes open and had there been any such instance, I would have surely acknowledged it to you. Following the vision of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, the Ashram runs with the minimum of rules; each inmate had joined the Ashram out of his or her free-will and is free to leave it at any time. The Ashram does not have even a compound wall around it; its residential houses and departments are scattered all over the town. Lady-inmates play a leading role in so many of its activities and the possibility of sexual abuse can hardly be imagined in its atmosphere.Its accounts are audited by premier agencies and are always certified to be clean.

In order to appreciate the Ashram we have to remember the philosophy behind its foundation. Sri Aurobindo visualised man as an evolving being; the time was coming for mankind to be transformed into a Supramental race. In other words Sri Aurobindo’s yogic vision embraced the destiny of humanity as a whole. Hence the Ashramis not an assembly of ascetics, but it represents numerous specimens of mankind, including an ambitious few who try to sabotage it from within while painting others as “enemy within”. The truth is, whoever is here for Sadhana is taken care of by the Mother’s Grace; whoever does not live an inner life is bound to feel restless and, if he is unfortunate, will become a prey of maddening forces of falsehood. The Ashram is not to be judged on par with ordinary social association – it is presided over by the Divine Mother. Either I accept this basic truth or I don’t. If I don’t, the wide world outside is there for me. Anyone who is unhappy here due to their own frustrated inner ambitions and desires is free to leave this place at any time.

Mr. Chari has referred to a few periodicals (Tehelka included) in which over the years some stray critical articles were published. But why not – if Organiser could publish such a blatant exercise in falsehood? A reference has also been made to CNN-IBN conducting a so called sting-operation. But the statement clearly avoids stating that the channel management realised that the so-called sting was fake journalism, and the said program has never been telecast.

We can easily guess the sources that have provided the “author” with the stuff, for the stock is familiar enough. The sly motive to draw the Prime Minister’s attention to it is poor and pathetic.

Coming to the book in question, I am not at all concerned here with Wendy Doniger or Jeffrey Kripal, whom the author has mischeivously and perversely clubbed with Peter Heehs. Peter Heehs cannot by any means be equated with these persons. Nevertheless, Heeh’s book is not published by Sri Aurobindo Ashram; the Ashram channels do not sell it. Many readers like the book – and they include not only noted intellectuals, but also genuine admirers and devotees of the Master and the Mother. If some do not like it, that is fine. The Ashram has no business to ask anybody to read it or prohibit anybody from doing so. There may be errors in the book, at certain places the author’s style of narration may be disliked by some (my style of writing is also not in tune with that of the author’s), but that does not justify the propaganda carried on through quotations taken out of context. If at all harm could be done to Sri Aurobindo, it is these fake enthusiasts who have done it.

The Sri Aurobindo Ashram is indeed a home for tens of thousands of seekers spread all over the world. It should not be treated so casually – at least by a journal of your status.

I trust that you will be broad and kind enough to publish my rejoinder in full, even if it is bitter, and not be partial towards Mr. Chari simply because he was your former editor.

Thanking you,

Sincerely,

Prof Manoj Das

Sri Aurobindo Ashram,

Pondicherry

(The writer is a renowned bilingual creative writer who writes in Oriya and English. He is the recipient of Sahitya Akademi Award Fellowship, Padmashree and Saraswati Samman. He has been an inmate of Sri Aurobindo Ashram in Puducherry since 1973.)

100

This, by the way, is Auroleaks’s 100th post!

Auroville Today report on Ashram Affairs

October 26, 2013 Leave a comment

A PDF of this report, which appeared in the October 2013 issue of Auroville Today, is available at this link. The text is also available here.

One hand is enough to stab somebody

October 12, 2013 3 comments

Order appointing Justice P.R. Raman upheld

September 27, 2013 Leave a comment

Madras High Court’s Decision

August 31, 2013 Leave a comment

The Madras High Court has ordered that the allegations framed by anti-Ashram elements against the Trustees of the Ashram will not be investigated by the Government appointed Collector. A retired judge will instead probe these allegations.

Demands made by anti-Ashram elements for the Trustees to step down and a Government administrator to be appointed till the inquiry is concluded have also been turned down by the Madras High Court.

See media reports reproduced at Well-Wishers of Sri Aurobindo Ashram or directly at the media’s websites:

Read at The Times of India

Read at The Hindu

Read at Business Standard