Saturday, March 14, 2009

The task that Dr. Nadkarni has defined so categorically

[In “How the Leftists and the Rightists Have Diminished Sri Aurobindo,” the late Dr. Mangesh Nadkarni observed: “All the leading groups of intelligentsia dominant in independent India,– the Gandhians, the Hindu establishment, the English-educated rulers and intellectuals, especially the communists, disapproved of Sri Aurobindo for different reasons and tried to marginalise him.”
In the notes to this paper, which was written a month or so before his passing and read on 14 August 2007 at the Annual Conference of the Sri Aurobindo Society, Nadkarni acknowledged: “I am grateful to Peter Heehs for much of the historical documentation I use in this paper.” Deploring “the charge of the Leftist historians against Sri Aurobindo,” namely, that “his nationalism had a strong religious bent, which only encouraged the already formidable trend of Muslim separatism,” Nadkarni added: “Much of what the Leftist historians wrote about Sri Aurobindo and other national leaders found its way into school and college textbooks....” In a note, Nadkarni expressed regret at the lack of an effective response from scholars in the Sri Aurobindo Ashram to the attack by the Leftists: “Except for K. D. Sethna, who was primarily a literary scholar, no inmate of Sri Aurobindo Ashram published much to discount this attack.... The only inmate and scholar who has subsequently taken a critical look at the writings of the Leftist and Rightist historians on Sri Aurobindo is Peter Heehs, but most of his writings are not easily accessible to Indian readers since they are published in academically prestigious journals in the universities of the West. I hope an attempt will be made to make his writings more easily accessible to Indian readers.” If Dr. Nadkarni had been alive today, he would have been appalled by the reaction to The Lives of Sri Aurobindo.
The Core Problem
Angiras on Sat 14 Mar 2009 01:09 AM PDT Permanent Link]

This imbroglio can easily blow away if all of us agree to apply ourselves to the task that Dr. Nadkarni has defined so categorically. And, as a person who was loved and respected by all, it would be the best homage to his memory. [TNM]

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