Friday, February 12, 2010

The Lives of Sri Aurobindo intended to hurt the religious sentiments of the people of India

The Lives of Sri Aurobindo (TLOSA) authored by Peter Heehs (PH) and published by Columbia University Press (CUP) in 2008

Sri Aurobindo, whose biography TLOSA masquerades as, is a national hero here in India and a global spiritual icon. A prominent leader of the Indian freedom movement, Sri Aurobindo has remained a source of great inspiration to millions of people in India and the world. There are thousands of schools, streets, libraries and other major institutions named after him across the country, and his life-sized statue occupies pride of place at the Indian National Parliament. […]

TLOSA is proscribed by the Government of India and by the Courts after due verification of its content, primarily on the grounds of distortions of facts intended to hurt the religious sentiments of the people of India. This is the reason why Penguin Books India was barred from bringing out the Indian edition of TLOSA […]
  • others have already withdrawn access to TLOSA and all sales of TLOSA within the territory of India based on the Government and Court orders […]
  • harmful intentions of Peter Heehs in distorting the facts regarding Sri Aurobindo's life and consequently the explosive character of the present situation.
This was fully taken into cognisance by relevant academicians and advisors to the Government of India, in taking decision to proscribe the book. […]

The publication of the book involves multiple violations of copyright on the part of Peter Heehs. As the accompanying documentation will show you, Peter Heehs has given CUP more rights than he has himself acquired from the Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust. He has also failed to comply with CUP's requirements for its authors to get appropriate permissions from copyright holders and owners of unpublished text. […]

The content of the book also involves multiple Intellectual Property violations, as documented in the attachments. PH has claimed ownership of the entire research database of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram Archives developed over 40 years involving several million dollars worth of investment. The names that Peter Heehs thanks are his colleagues, and as their letter to the Ashram Trust shows, they have taken the matter seriously and have placed this theft by Peter Heehs on record. […]

The letter of the Ashram Trust declares unequivocally that Peter Heehs is not the founder of the Archives as he has claimed to CUP to be and which false assertion CUP has widely publicised in promoting the book. […]

In view of the above, we would be greatly indebted if CUP takes immediate and necessary steps to halt publication, sales and distribution of the book TLOSA, given the fraud and misrepresentation being perpetrated by Peter Heehs and the anguish that this book is causing to millions of devotees of Sri Aurobindo all over the world. […] Gitanjali J B

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