Orissa court stays release of book on Sri Aurobindo

November 6th, 2008 - 7:01 pm ICT by IANS  

Bhubaneswar, Nov 6 (IANS) The Orissa High Court has stayed the release of a book on Sri Aurobindo in India over allegations that it has objectionable content and distorted facts about the late spiritual leader, a lawyer said Thursday.Geetanjali Bhattacharya, a devotee, filed a petition in the court seeking a ban on the book ‘The Lives of Sri Aurobindo’ and action against the writer, her lawyer Siddharta Das told IANS.

Bhattacharya alleges that the book by American Peter Heehs questions Sri Aurobindo’s character and integrity. The book was published in the US in May by Colombia Press. It was to be re-printed and sold by Penguin Books India Pvt Ltd in November.

A resident of Orissa’s Balasore town, Bhattacharya says the author has written lines that question integrity of Aurobindo’s character, life, writing and thoughts.

According to the petitioner, the book’s author has trivilised Aurobindo’s “claim to spiritual expression” and described as romantic the relationship of Sri Aurobindo with his disciple and spiritual collaborator Mira, known as the Mother to devotees, lawyer Das said.

A division bench of the Orissa High Court, comprising Justice I.M. Quddusi and Justice B.P. Ray, Tuesday admitted the petition and posted the case Dec 15 after hearing the petitioner’s counsels, Das said.

The court has directed the publisher not to release the book in India without obtaining a no-objection certificate from the information and broadcasting ministry and the home ministry, Das said.

The court has also directed the ministries to examine the book’s content and ascertain the veracity of the allegations, he said. It has sought affidavits from the ministries by Dec 15, Das added.

Peter Heehs writes on modern Indian history, Indian spirituality and religion. His publications include nine books and over 40 articles in journals and magazines. He is said to be one of the founders of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram archives.

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