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TS Election: Timeline

May 09, 2008 10:10 PM
by prmoliveira

11 November 2006 ? Radha Burnier, President of the Theosophical 
Society, suffers a mild stroke at her residence in Adyar. She herself 
telephoned her doctor who recommended rest.

26 December 2006 ? Radha Burnier declares the 131st International 
Convention at Adyar open. The Presidential Address is delivered in 
part by the Vice-President, Dr John Algeo, and by the International 
Secretary, Mary Anderson. Mrs Burnier attended a number of Convention 

24 February 2007 ? The Vice-President, Dr John Algeo, issues an 
electronic newsletter entitled MESSAGE FROM THE VICE-PRESIDENT, which 
was sent out to all General Secretaries, Presidential 
Representatives, Organising Secretaries of the TS world wide, plus a 
number of individual members. He commented on the President's 
"As you have doubtless heard, the President had a light stroke in 
November. It did not affect her body or her mind except for a slight 
and temporary memory loss with respect to names. Her doctor predicts 
a full recovery, which will take several months. At present she is 
progressing nicely and doing very well. She attended all the major 
meetings during Convention, although she let others do some of the 
speaking and presiding that she normally does. She has taken a short 
time off (which she well deserves) to recuperate, free from the 
demands on her at headquarters, but she is now back at Adyar and 
attending to business. While I was at Adyar in December and January, 
I had extensive discussions with her about Theosophical business 
around the world, and she is on top of all the facts and her judgment 
is as sharp as ever. The outlook is very favorable for a full 
recovery. The Adyar staff responded in exemplary fashion during 
convention, and all went very well indeed."

1 to 18 July 2007 ? Having recovered from the mild stroke, Mrs 
Burnier undertook an European tour, visiting and lecturing in several 
countries, including Slovenia, Hungary and Finland. In this last 
country she, together with Ven. Prof. Samdhong Rinpoche, were the 
guests of honour at the triennial European Congress of the TS, which 
included the Centennial Celebration of the Finnish Section. 

19 December 2007 ? Elvira Carbonell, then assistant to the 
International Secretary, Mary Anderson, sends out an email letter to 
members of the General Council, the day after official Nomination 
papers were issued by the International Secretary by ordinary mail. 
Among other things the letter says:

"Since there has been uncertainty about the state of our President's 
health and our Vice-President's willingness and ability to accept 
nominations for the upcoming Presidential election, several of us at 
Adyar feel the need to write to the members of the General Council to 
share the following information."

"We have learned that our Vice-President has been asked if he will 
accept nominations, and have confirmation from him that although he 
is not eager to run for President, he will do what seems to be in the 
best interest of the Society when the time comes, and he will accept 
nominations. We have also received confirmation from him that he 
feels Adyar has to remain the international Headquarters of the TS, 
for both practical and symbolical reasons."

4 March 2008 - Radha Burnier was awarded the Chennaionline Golden 
Lotus Award 2008 for her lifetime achievements in theosophy at a 
function in Chennai. Her work inspires "human regeneration, self-
knowledge, truth, beauty and goodness," said Latha Rajendran, 
secretary and correspondent of Dr. MGR Janaki College of Arts and 
Science for Women. The function was organised by Chennaionline as 
part of the International Women's Day celebrations.

12 March 2008 ? Radha Burnier writes a letter, by ordinary mail, in 
her personal letterhead, to all General Secretaries of the TS, 
stating her personal views about the nomination process and 
highlighting the importance of Presidents of the TS to reside at 
Adyar. The full text of her letter can be seen here:

19 March 2008 ? Mrs Betty Bland, National President of the TS in 
America, circulates an email message to all General Secretaries, 
accusing Radha Burnier of blatant electioneering. Among other things 
she says: "Her memory and clarity are inconsistent, sometimes right 
on, and sometimes far afield?as is the case for all of us when aging, 
especially by stroke, takes its toll." Bland includes in her email 
message John Algeo's personal, and multilingual, website. The full 
text of her letter can be seen here:

20 March 2008 ? Miss Tran Thi Kim Dieu, Chairman of the European 
Federation of the TS since 1995, circularizes an email message for 
wide distribution. Commenting on Radha's letter, Kim Dieu says, among 
other things: "What a pity that such a great soul now errs because of 
the misfunctioning of the brain!"

29 March 2008 ? The French TS Board issues a circular letter, signed 
by Mme. Maxence Ondet, to all TS members in France, which are 387, 
with several statements about Radha's health, including: "In November 
2006, she had a serious stroke which left her unable to speak for at 
least a month and deprived her of a large part of her memory.  Her 
recovery was slow and incomplete, especially as far as short term 
memory and recall of names are concerned.  In conversation, she no 
longer understands anything but short and simple sentences." 

The French letter also said: "The leaders of several Sections in the 
world present at the Convention at Adyar in December 2007 noticed 
with sadness and embarrassment the great difficulty with which she 
delivered her principal Convention address, an address that was 
wandering and repetitive, and showed a weakened mind or brain 

The full text of the French TS Board letter can be seen here:

11 April 2008 ? Betty Bland issues a personal letter to American TS 
member before the ballot papers were sent to them. In it she 
says: "Radha seems to be recovering physically from the stroke she 
suffered over a year ago, but, given her age, she still has periods 
of low energy and her memory is inconsistent. While I have deep 
respect for the wonderful service she has given to the Society and 
feel she can continue to be useful as a wise elder, it is for the 
good of the whole that the leadership pass smoothly to John Algeo, 
who currently serves as the international Vice-president." She then 
concludes: "I hope you seriously consider this information when 
casting your vote." 

According to the official 2007 Annual Report of the TS, published by 
the International Secretary at Adyar, the American Section of the TS 
has 4,072 members.

19 April 2008 ? The Election Committee at Adyar issues a letter to 
Mrs Nano (Jeannine) Leguay, General Secretary, The Theosophical 
Society in France. Enclosing two medical certificates from Radha's 
doctors that attest to her complete recovery from her mild stroke of 
November 2006 and that she was allowed to drive a car. After pointing 
out a number of untruths in the French Board letter, the Committee 
stated: "If the General Council and the Executive Committee of the 
Society had thought that her mental condition affected the Society's 
work, they would have said so and considered her candidature a 
liability. The fact that many Sections agreed to nominate her proves 
her suitability and not the contrary." The Committee further 
instructs the French General Secretary to "take immediate action to 
counteract the impression created in the letter from Maxence Ondet 
dated 29 March 2008."

The full text of Radha Burnier's doctors' certificates can be seen 

23 April 2008 ? John Algeo adds a Hindi web page to his website.

Pedro Oliveira

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