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(Shyam Sunder:) “Padmanabha Counouma, hailing from Kerala, was a resident of Pondicherry for years before he joined the Sri Aurobindo Ashram. … He was a scholar of French law that prevailed in Pondicherry in those times. He served as an officer of the Government of Pondicherry, holding the post of Registrar of Documents. Also a politician, he was a member of the Pondicherry Assembly for some period.
         Counouma was a firm believer in the principle that everyone has a right of being heard. He was always ready to hear all the parties on any issue, even in matters on which he had already made up his mind. Sometimes he narrated to me his experience in the Assembly when he was a lone independent member. The different party speakers had spoken on the subject of the ongoing debate and the matter was going to be treated as closed when he wanted to speak. Of what use would it be for him to speak when he had no supporter? But he solicited their indulgence in hearing him all the same and he was allowed to express his views. Well, one of his suggestions was accepted.”[1]

(Shyam Sunder:) “When the Society-Auroville trouble started, Counouma took active part in it. He obtained a certificate from Nolini about himself to the effect that he was the wisest, sanest and most impartial man and that his advice should be listened to. ...
         In those days there were heavy differences of opinion between Counouma and me. With his authority as the Managing Trustee of the Ashram and his shrewd manipulations, he could in most of the cases have the upper hand over me, but I never yielded to him on any principle and we found ourselves opposing each other for long. But I don't think we ever stopped speaking to each other and felt like enemies. There, it was a great quality of his, very often absent among our fellow-Ashramites, that he could maintain speaking relationship with those with whom he differed.”[2]

  1. Shyam Sunder Jhunjhunwala, Down Memory Lane, p.45
  2. Ibid., p.46

See also