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5. Exclusivism and cries for excommunication
All of the leaders without exception demand that Heehs be expelled from the Ashram Archives, where he has worked since its founding in 1973, and demand or suggest that Heehs be expelled from the Ashram, where he has lived since 1971. When they found that the Ashram trustees would not accede to their demands, they circulated a vaguely worded petition against Heehs, obtaining the signatures of more than 500 people, almost none of whom had read the book. They also went to Pranab Kumar Bhattacharya, a respected elder of the Ashram, to induce him to put his considerable influence on their side. They did not succeed in getting Heehs expelled from the Ashram, but certainly tried their best to do so.
In their written communications the leaders often referred to the expulsion of Heehs under the euphemism “action”. In discussion, including widespread gossip, they were much less restrained.
“Action has become imperative and inaction will prove very costly”, write Ranganath and Raman Reddy in their first letter (RRRR).
The trust should “expel Peter Hees [sic] from the Archives to which he has brought such ill repute”, echoes Ananda Reddy (AR1: note that Reddy is not a member of the ashram).
The trust should “severe [sic] his institutional linkages that he [Heehs] has had so far”; “It would be logical and ethical for the Sri Aurobindo Ashram as an institution to demand the withdrawal of Peter Heehs as a professional from the Archives”; “Clarity of vision leads to a clarity of action”, writes Mohanty (SM: note that Mohanty is not a member of the ashram).
“2. [The trust should] deny Peter Heehs all future access to the Archives and demand the return of any materials belonging to the Ashram that he may presently have in his possession”, writes Eggenberger (RE: note that Eggenberger is not a member of the ashram and is inventing rumors about Heehs possessing materials.).
Eggenberger’s demand provided the model for Kittu Reddy’s broader and more aggressive ultimatum: “2. The Ashram should ensure that with immediate effect, Peter Heehs returns all materials belonging to the Ashram Archives that are in his possession. 3. The Ashram must then sever all contact with Peter Heehs.” (KR)