This Week Tamil Nadu: Heehs in the line of fire,again

When his visa was finally renewed,US-born historian Peter Heehs might have thought that the controversy around his biography on Sri Aurobindo was a closed chapter

Written by Gopu Mohan | Published: July 13, 2012 3:57 am

Heehs in the line of fire,again

When his visa was finally renewed,US-born historian Peter Heehs might have thought that the controversy around his biography on Sri Aurobindo was a closed chapter. As it turns out,it is not. A group of MPs cutting across party lines has written to the trustees in charge of the Aurobindo ashram,in the process reopening the whole controversy surrounding The Lives of Sri Aurobindo,a book critically acclaimed yet derided by Aurobindo’s devotees. The letter,signed jointly by 68 MPs,has asked the trustees for an explanation why they did not take any action against Heehs for what he wrote. The case against Heehs is that his work shows Sri Aurobindo and Mirra Alfassa — Mother to members of the ashram — in bad light.

Singed for disobedience

Close on the heels of the revelation about a hostel warden forcing a student to lick urine in West Bengal,authorities of Theni district have suspended two anganwadi staff-members for allegedly branding a three-year-old girl who had apparently refused to obey orders. After she came home with burns on her arms and leg,her mother confronted the anganwadi staff,who maintained the girl had suffered the injuries when boiling water had fallen on her near the kitchen. With the girl insisting she had been branded with firewood,her parents lodged a complaint with the police. An initial inquiry suggested that the staff had done this as punishment for disobedience. The collector has ordered a probe.

Milking a scheme

When it was first announced,the free-cow-for-the-poor scheme looked unique,promising a livelihood rather than offering a luxury,besides aiming at higher milk production. But if present indications are part of a pattern,tardy implementation may sound the death knell for the Rs 232-crore scheme. From across the state,several cases have been reported of beneficiaries taking their cows to slaughterhouses,prompting officials to issue a warning. Others are disappointed with the cows they have been given; they won’t provide more than a litre or two though the promise had been over 10 times that. Apparently,supply through touts is the reason the cows are low-yield.

Dress code for teachers

Now that classes have begun,officials have taken it as the right time to impose a dress code on the teaching community. The State Directorate of School Education has issued an advisory to all district and chief educational officers to direct principals of all schools to make sure that teaching staff conform to this code. While at school,says the advisory,teachers should not be clad in an “indecent dress” or,for that matter,any dress that is against local cultural ethos and which may distract students. While officials said the circular is a routine one,it has riled teachers and set off a debate on what is proper,what is not,and who is the judge of that.

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