Many might be falsely feeling elated that Peter Heehs has been exonerated from all accusations. The media involvement though with minimal background information conflating the visa issue with a foreigner’s freedom of expression was undoubtedly a sexed up performance the upside of which is that a lot of youngsters heard the name of Sri Aurobindo for the first time. But now that the show is over (which won’t merit a repeat), Heehs stands exactly where he is (even while enjoying a much deserved vacation in his home environment).
The beauty of Heehs’ crime is that it is self-explanatory and richly documented. Even a schoolboy can notice the hostility in the preface itself and a scholar can surely zero in on dozens of transgressions if he is a bit serious or curious. And for those who are well versed with Sri Aurobindo, it is an ordeal to swallow the subtext whenever he is quoted or paraphrased. But his promoters, obviously, portray it as his magnum opus, and in a democracy, we must respect free speech.
Savitri Era Party has lent its voice in the past for an Indian reprint, and it’s good if it materializes. The civil society participation in this debate has been in a firefighting mode, but in any event, deeper afterthoughts might emerge when the dust settles down. There are, we are confident, saner souls who will not leave the present partisan turn unchallenged. After all, we are no mean argumentative Indians. [TNM55]