Thursday, July 29, 2010

Ashram's disregard for social contract

The genesis of Sri Aurobindo Ashram may well be traced to the arrival of Sri Aurobindo in Puducherry on April 4, 1910. Today, a century later, the Ashram symbolizes the hope of a sublime future for man. The ground realities, understandably, leave much to be desired but when seen as a unique experiment, one feels humble.

The structural framework of the Ashram underwent umpteen modifications in response to periodical exigencies and its current shape, unfortunately, is not commensurate with the resources it commands, both intellectual and financial. While that can be pardoned considering its status as a private organization, what rankles is the thorough disregard that the Ashram exhibits towards its social contract. Social contract, principally, is three-fold:
  • Safeguarding the memory of the founder Masters,
  • Dissemination of their writings with fidelity; &
  • Welfare of the visitors in general and the devotees in particular.

The first two objectives have come under cloud during the last two years and the Ashram has not cared to make its position clear. Nor has it responded to widely publicized apprehensions expressed by a cross section of devotees and followers from around the world.

When civil procedures fail, then the uncivil forces in; chaos and anarchy follow suit. The Ashram, it is hoped, wakes up before it is too late. [TNM]      

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Congress coalition

Chidambaram is clearly emerging as a hawk, pursuing a tough line against the Maoists and Pakistan, a stance favoured by a large section of the middle class. … Chidambaram is increasingly coming to occupy the right of centre space, catering to the sentiment of the urban Indians, many of whom had viewed with favour — or backed — the BJP, particularly in north India. …
The second wannabe, Digvijay Singh, seems to be positioning himself in the left of centre mould, contra-distinct from the niche that Chidambaram is carving out for himself.]

The Congress split at Surat in 1907 between moderates and extremists. Now the party is emulating Vajpayee and Advani who enacted different roles representing contrasting poles. [TNM] 

Husserl, Heidegger, Whitehead, & Sri Aurobindo

[Morton on trumpery from Object-Oriented Philosophy by doctorzamalek (Graham Harman)
By now everyone knows that I’m a passionate admirer of phenomenology, which I regard as the most important philosophical school since Kant/German Idealism and possibly even since Leibniz. …
One thing that distinguishes my own view of contemporary philosophy from most views is that I don’t think we’ve ever returned to the level of Husserl/Heidegger/Whitehead. There’s been important stuff since then, sure, but I think we’re still struggling to assimilate and surpass the level attained by philosophy as of the late 1920′s. …
Husserl … was a powerful thinker who shed light into corners of the world that no one even knew were there.]

And Sri Aurobindo, their contemporary, rewrote countless canons of Indian philosophy and psychology ably integrating them with thought currents of the day in the West. His synthesis verily is the acme of acumen that waits for a wider reception.  [TNM] 

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Unite or perish

Both - Sri Aurobindo Ashram and Auroville - have gone out of the hands of the devotees of The Mother & Sri Aurobindo. It is a long drawn out battle to reclaim them. Savitri Era Party calls upon everyone to unite under one banner. [TNM]

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Does anyone stand by the Pranab’s proposal?

Pandey & Deshpande have let out yet another instalment of litanies against the Ashram Trust. Sadly, such exposes are corroding the very foundations of a great institution of global standing. A prolonged standoff is likely to cast shadow of doubt in the hearts of devotees dampening why they throng for Darshan. And this is a despicable prospect, although our adversaries (both, insiders and outsiders) will be delighted.

Savitri Era Party would like that the ashramites settle the matter inhouse through dialogue. One reason why this is not happening is that one side is not organized. They are a few individuals who love to couch their speeches in scholarly or literary idiom. What are the exact allegations against the Trust and what they actually demand is yet to crystallize. It is also not known what the fate of Pranab’s proposal is after his demise and whether anyone stands by it.

Grouping under a credible banner and enumerating exact demands is the minimum that democratic ethos encourages. Clarity and hierarchy are essential for smooth negotiations, and hopefully, Pandey & Deshpande address this lacuna. [TNM]       

Monday, July 19, 2010

His words will be echoed and re-echoed

[Shrinking Heroes Sun Jul 18 2010, Meghnad Desai
The attempts to claim exclusive possession to Tagore or Shivaji or Sardar Patel do not harm these heroes. They indicate the insecurities of modern India, the shrinkage of the contemporary leaders, the emasculation of the vision of what India can be.]

Sri Aurobindo wrote in English, and his appeal as the foremost global Indian continues to swell. [TNM]

Friday, July 16, 2010

Survival of the seniles

By Lisa M. Krieger Posted: 07/10/2010
Hoping to create more space for young scholars, Stanford has revamped its generous "Retirement Incentive Program" — for the second time in a decade — to nudge more old-timers toward the door. …
And like a seat on the Supreme Court and papal office, university tenure is lifelong. With the brightest students, best libraries and labs, and lighter teaching loads than at most state schools, professors at elite research universities have little reason to retire. …
India mandates retirement at age 60. If too many older scholars prevent the younger generation's advancement, bright students may not go into academia, Etchemendy worries. … Stanford has tried different approaches to gently encourage departures.]

Sri Aurobindo Ashram administration and its college in Puducherry are groaning under seniles. [TNM]

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Free philosophy from preconditions and prejudices

Philosophy aims at understanding the plurality and their underlying relationships. But the puzzle remains unresolved after thousands of years and people begin all over again after every few decades. The basic difficulty, however, is to translate the multiplicity in terms of the essential unity. Performing this, obviously, is an absurd demand but man never tires of attempting to accomplish it empirically. 

For professors drawing salaries from secular universities a peculiar paradox is at play. Like Kant and Hegel in their time or Levi and Harman today, they carry the burden of manufacturing metaphysics sans any Divine contagion. Further, they are at pains to give the impression that their output emanates from their free thinking, whereas, in actuality, it is geographically-challenged and paradigm-driven. Camouflaging dishonesty in sophisticated verbiage is the most debilitating tendency that afflicts most sincere-seeming quest for knowledge today.

Philosophy, to be true to its task, must free itself from preconditions and prejudices. As science and technology progresses and human beings undergo ever increasing perplexity to keep abreast as well as making sense, philosophy will continue to be a source of solace. 20th century has grappled with enough of uncertainties; let the 21st be the era of assurance. Over to Savitri Era. [TNM]

Savitri Era Party is the alternative

[Is the middle smoother than a muddle? from M.J. Akbar - Author and Veteran Journalist by M J Akbar Byline: Is the middle smoother than a muddle? Is there middle space in Indian politics? This was the great dilemma before the Socialists in the 1950s and 1960s. The nationalist movement, which kneaded the contours of ideology, did not offer much clarity. … Other Socialists, led principally by Dr Ram Manohar Lohia, Jayaprakash Narayan and Nath Pai, left the Congress after India became free. …
There are four models open to non-Congress parties: disparate regional ambitions; the 1967 pattern of a United Front, which was partially successful; the unity of 1977, which was exhilarating while it lasted; and the V.P. Singh balancing act, in which there is an implicit understanding between middle and right, without this being made too obvious to the voter.
There is some evidence that the need for prevarication might be unnecessary. In Bihar Nitish Kumar has managed an extraordinary feat in reshaping the image of the local BJP. He has prevented social conflict and concentrated on good governance, the two fundamental requirements for electoral victory. He is likely to get enough of the Muslim vote to return to power; this, in turn, will propel him towards the focal point of a larger understanding. He was a junior minister in V.P. Singh’s government, which survived with support from both the Communists and the BJP; he clearly learnt far more than his seniors from Singh.
There is middle space in Indian politics, but it is full of potholes. The ride will be bumpy; there might be accidents. But it could still be the pathway to a destination.]

[Protest, softly The opposition betrays an utter lack of conviction in its own rhetoric... Pratap Bhanu Mehta Tue Jul 06 2010, The writer is president, Centre for Policy Research, Delhi
The pantomime of Indian politics produces yet another paradox. We think that some form of large social protest is necessary. But we also think it is undesirable. …
But while we think protest is necessary, we are also uncomfortable with it. Political parties are often the main conduits of protest, but each has its vested interest and internal contradictions. Each of them has to play the role of both government and opposition.] 

Indian society has undergone severe churning during the last decade, and ideological anchorings are in tatters. Savitri Era Party, in this context, enters as the much needed alternative. [TNM]  

Let The Lives of Sri Aurobindo sell in India

[Writers welcome SC judgment on Shivaji book Times of India - MUMBAI:
Friday's Supreme Court judgment lifting the ban on James Laine's controversial book Shivaji - Hindu King in Islamic India has received mixed reactions… Writer Chetan Bhagat said he was against the very of idea books being banned. "To ban or not to ban a book becomes a very subjective choice. If a book has hurt sentiments or is offensive, people can condemn it, ignore it or ask for an apology, but banning a book shows high-handedness. We should not turn into a society that doesn’t allow voices of dissent," said Bhagat, adding, "If the book hurt sentiments, the author should apologise.
Shyam Pakhre, history lecturer at KC College, said that when foreigners write books based on Indian history, they are often unable to understand the moral code of conduct of our society. "Writing sensational things without supporting them with evidence is bound to hurt sentiments. I support freedom of speech and expression only when due respect is given to people’s sentiments," he said.  SC lifts ban on Laine's Shivaji Indian Express Laine's book on Shivaji okay: SC Economic Times]

Let’s hope for a similar verdict apropos The Lives of Sri Aurobindo. [TNM]

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Savitri Erans should keep off

[Unity and the Hindu Samaj from Circumsolatious by Lori Tompkins
This article was written by: Patrizia Norelli-Bachelet, Director, Aeon Centre of Cosmology, Tamil Nadu, 18 June 2010.
The article ‘Let All Hindus Come Together’ in the 17 June 2010 issue (of the New Indian Express) was heartfelt no doubt; much of what the author writes has been the cause of concern among thoughtful observers of the situation Hindus face in contemporary society, not only in India]

2 Jul 2010 ... In 'Let All Hindus come together' (TNIE, June 17), François Gautier proposes that a council of Hindu leaders should assume spiritual ...]

[Unprecedented Bengal Youth Convention from Tarun Vijay by Tarun Vijay, MP (Rajya Sabha) & National Spokes Person, BJP
Unprecedented Bengal Youth Convention to be addressed by Mohan Bhagwat Ji & Nitin Gadkari Ji
Kolkata, July 6, 2010: For the first time in the history of West Bengal, R.S.S. Sarsanghchalak Shri Mohan Bhagwat & B.J.P. National President Shri Nitin Gadkari will address a unique youth convention in Kolkata to commemorate 109th birth anniversary of Dr. Syama Prasad Mookerjee, Founder President of Jan Sangh and the ideological inspirational source of BJP.]

Savitri Erans should keep off from various mobilizations taking place in the name of Hindu consolidation and pseudo-nationalism. [TNM]

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Beliefs, prejudices, fads and fashions.

What have we seen in recent years? We’ve seen a constant attempt to distort, suppress, and fabricate research in the name of various dogmatically held and pre-established political aims. …
I’m not sure where I anywhere suggested that Marxism is a science, although I do understand that it has promoted itself in this way in the past. Nor, I think, will you commonly find people in the academy these days portraying Marxism as a science. The same cannot be said of neoliberalism. Contemporary neoliberal economic theory has endlessly deployed the rhetoric of science in defense of itself, portraying itself as the branch of the social sciences that most closely approaches the hard sciences.
Moreover, in the United States, at least, neoliberal economic theory is hegemonic in economics departments. These economic theories have contributed greatly to human suffering throughout the world through promoting the installation of brutal dictators (Pinochet anyone?), the dispossession of natural resources owned by the people of various nations, and the privatization of various industries leading to a transfer of wealth out of countries into the hands of a few. I believe we need new voices in economics departments that also treat collective and communal interests as values that need to be included in “economic calculations”.]

Thomas Kuhn has famously argued that scientists think in paradigms, and these paradigms determine which questions are seen as worth asking, pursuing, what constitutes legitimate research, etc. …
Our paradigms and problematics are defined, from science to philosophy to everyday life, by the community of those whose feedback we trust. Certain approaches to ‘research questions’, be these in science or philosophy, are simply dismissed as ‘out there’, and never pursued, not so much because they might not have something to them, but that even following up on them would require a massive reorganization of the schemas we use to structure our lives. In the world of the everyday, we’d say they were thrown aside because they violate ‘common sense.’
Is philosophy that within culture that works to constantly keep ‘common sense’ at bay, or rather, is it that which defends ‘common sense’? I’d love to hope it were the former, but I think there is a really slippery slope at work here. A fuzzy onion, so to speak. 9:39 AM]

[Myths of Austerity By PAUL KRUGMAN July 1, 2010
When I was young and naïve, I believed that important people took positions based on careful consideration of the options. Now I know better. Much of what Serious People believe rests on prejudices, not analysis. And these prejudices are subject to fads and fashions. 7:59 PM

Dr. S. Kalyanaraman gave an interview to in which he contested the findings of Asko Parpola, saying he did not agree with Parpola’s unproven ‘decipherment’ of the Indus script on the premise that old Tamil was the underlying language. He pointed out that Parpola’s was simply a belief system, not premised on evidence of the corpus of inscriptions and the underlying cultural foundations of the civilization of 4000 years ago. 9:41 AM]

[Indian Political Thought - Page 274 Urmila Sharma, S.K. Sharma - 2001 - 416 pages
Sri Aurobindo, as we have already shown, neglects the discussion of social, economic and industrial institutions. This makes his social philosophy less thorough and practical and more one-sided and inadequate from the academic point of ...
9:59 PM]

Sri Aurobindo avoids elaborating economic and industrial affairs but he is more into our commerce with the other worlds. It is thus desirable that the current academic practices learn how to accommodate his holistic approach. [TNM]

Monday, July 05, 2010

Demolishing Sri Aurobindo’s opposition is our prime task

Sri Aurobindo is yet to receive the recognition and respect he deserves and demolishing Sri Aurobindo’s Opposition is our prime task. The story of his life and the writings he has left behind constitute a fount of inspiration for generations to come and disseminating those across the globe is a gigantic challenge. The occult significance of the work of The Mother & Sri Aurobindo is exceedingly complex and hence to fathom it is beyond the scope of individuals engaged in routine life. Most are, therefore, happy with their own understanding of things and hardly feel the necessity of being acquainted with the teachings of The Mother & Sri Aurobindo. Mind boggling multiplicity of New Age offerings and their aggressive marketing is another major cause of our ware being marginalized.

That the philosophy, psychology, politics, & poetry of The Mother & Sri Aurobindo are the sole and supreme avenue of man’s emancipation is no hyperbole. No human being living at present has the capacity to scrutinize them as regards their efficacy. It is only through a ceaseless yearning for their servitude that we earn the fortunateness of partaking an iota of their grace.   

This in the secular-academic domain, paradoxically, poses a grave methodological problem. The transmission of the teachings of The Mother & Sri Aurobindo is largely academic in nature. Their interdisciplinary implications rather fall mostly at the postgraduate level or above while the ritualistic dimensions are only a miniscule. Applying the theory concurrently in one’s day to day life is also part of the learning process. The three aspects form such an integral whole that the unique subjective nature of the ongoing and ever changing concoction tends to defy any sort of syllabi or evaluation. With communication modalities morphing multifariously, molding our worn out teaching techniques and modulating them to the signals of the future, therefore, is a priority. [TNM]