1. President's term of office. In a recent mailing Ramadoss states that “We now know that District Registrar has ruled that the (TS) President's Term is limited to three years. Of course, The Theosophical Society has challenged this decision in the High Court of Madras.”
On April 12, 2018 the High Court of Madras suspended the order of the Registrar, ruling that the President's term will remain as 7 years, as stated in TS Bye Law 9. The language of the court's ruling is as follows:
4. A perusal of bye-law 9 of the Rules and regulations for the management of the petitioner society (TS) would clearly show that the terms of office of the President shall be seven years from the date of assuming office. It is useful to extract bye-law 9 of the Rules and regulations which reads as under:
“Bye law 9. President's term of office The terms of office of the President shall be seven years from the date of assuming office.”
5.considering the submission made by the learned senior counsel appearing for the petitioner (TS), this Court is inclined to pass the following order:
The respondents are directed to allow the petitioner to continue by virtue of bye-law 9 which is extracted as above.
2. Damodar Gardens. Ramadoss refers to the “looming danger of disposal of the Adyar Estate to a private party, which endangers the loss of property to The Theosophical Society. Details of this proposed transaction in terms of the financial and business implications and the duration of the arrangement have not been disclosed to even to the General Council members.” He also says, quite irresponsibly, that “the TVS Education Society...intend to grab the land”
Damodar Gardens has not been sold, nor will it be, neither has a lease or legal agreement been entered into with anyone.
This is a reference to the Skill Training Center and International School proposed for Damodar Gardens when the Krishnamurti School departs. At the very initial stages of this proposed project with the TVS Education Society (TVSES), all known details were shared and considered in the December 2017 GC meeting at which the GC authorized the administration to pursue the matter. As instructed by the GC, negotiations have been ongoing since that time. A full report of the current status will be available when the GC reconvenes in Naarden at the end of June.
3. “the Vice President, the Secretary and the Treasurer do not have any legal authority to hold offices anymore. The Executive Committee too is defunct.”
This is pure conjecture unsupported by any fact. The legal determination of the High Court is clear.
4. “Bhojanshala, which offered a good quality of Indian food has been shut down and merged with the Leadbeater Chambers.”
Bhojansala was not “shut down”. The two kitchens – Bhojansala and Leadbeater Chambers (LBC) – were merged with the excess staff taking on responsibilities in other departments. The TS had been operating two separate kitchens with total staffing of approximately 10 persons in order to prepare three meals a day for 50 residents – all of whom did not utilize the kitchens for all meals. The arrangement was expensive and inefficient. Currently the food served at the LBC kitchen is all Indian style. Bhojansala is now used as the Indian canteen during Convention serving approximately 600 meals per sitting. The Karnataka Federation has taken on full responsibility for planning and serving convention delegates. It has been universally praised for its high quality, friendliness, and efficiency.
5. “The H.P.B. free Hostel has been shut down.”
The Hostel was closed over a year ago; renovated after more than 30 years; and will reopen with the beginning of the upcoming school year in June.
6. “The Laundry has been shut down.”
With a total of 51 residents (104 people including family members) the operation of the Laundry had become inefficient and needlessly expensive. For several years before closing the Laundry it was underutilized as residents increasingly chose to purchase and use their own washing machines.
7. “The Cattle Shelter has been downsized to 5 bullocks and more than 50 heads of cattle – cows and calves - have been gifted away (half to an individual farmer and half to a Cattle Shelter).”
First of all, there has never been a “Cattle Shelter” at Adyar. The TS has always used bullocks for Garden Department work, and to this day maintains 4 of them. More than 20 years ago Radha permitted the general manager at that time to bring a couple of cows to the campus. The foreseeable consequence was that by 2014 they had reproduced to a herd of 34, not 50 as claimed. As the TS is ill equipped, lacking knowledge and staffing for maintaining cattle, the animals were poorly tended. The herd was gifted to the care of facilities for the lifetime well being of the sacred cow.
8. “The Theosophical Publishing House is now down to a handful of persons, with the books being largely printed outside (not much is being printed there either).”
This condition mirrors TPH operations worldwide, as the publication industry has transformed since the TS's early days. Currently there is a process of revisioning the function of the TPH.
9. “Vasanta Press now only prints magazines and perhaps a book or two. It has been downsized to just a few people.”
In Annie Besant's time Vasanta press employed more than 100 people. By the mid 20th century, with the advent of newer, more efficient machines, staffing was reduced by more than 75%. With Vasanta's aging equipment and low TPH sales, for many years there has been no significant investment in the expensive equipment required for printing. Given the existing equipment, outsourcing the work has frequently been a less expensive option that produces a superior product in a greatly reduced time.
10. “The Olcott Memorial School had increased the number of classes to include 11th & 12th standards (grades), but in the recent years the number of students is now down to less than 375 and there is the distressing matter of downsizing the number of teachers also.”
Since its founding the Olcott School has provided a free education to children from the local fishing communities. As the Besant Nagar area has become an upscale and increasingly expensive neighborhood in Chennai, surrounding poor communities are being crowded out. This has affected enrollment. Also, at the time of the school's founding free education was unavailable. Today government schools universally fill that role. For the past several years the ratio of teachers to students has been approximately 1 to 10 – 1 teacher for every 10 students! This ratio is out of line with any normal standard. Even for private schools in India the ratio is 1 to 30, at best 1 to 25. Over time the school would like to move toward 1 teacher for every 20 students.
11. “It has been recorded in the last Business Meeting of the General Council that the Olcott School playground would be upgraded to a high standard. Since then this decision has also been shelved and the persons who offered to help have been communicated this decision.”
At the GC meeting in December 2017, the council was informed about a proposal from a private party to develop the Olcott School play area into a first rate football facility. The school would have had access to the facility, but its primary use would have been as a world class Indian football training facility. Currently in Chennai, with land values so high, many schools do not have access to playground facilities. For the Olcott School to have one would be a great benefit to the students, as well as a networking and financial asset. In consultation with some of the people negotiating the Damodar Gardens development with TVSES, it was determined that rather than accept the individual's proposal for a field over which the school would have only limited control, that the building of the football field would be negotiated as part of the Damodar Gardens development - for the sole control of our Olcott School.
12. “the Society has not received an exemption from Section 15(4) that governs the term of office of the President.”
The actual final exemption can only be given by the Tamil Nadu government. In the Registrar's order the Registrar himself recommended the matter to the government. It is now in process.