Peter Heehs is an American historian living in Pondicherry, India who writes on modern Indian history, Indian spirituality and religion. Much of his work focuses on the Indian political and spiritual leader Sri Aurobindo. His publications include nine books and more than forty articles in journals and magazines. Peter Heehs was born and educated in the United States but has lived in India since 1971. He has worked as an editor at the Sri Aurobindo Ashram Archives since its founding, and has contributed to the editing of the Sri Aurobindo Birth Centenary Library.
As a historian of modern India, Heehs has written on the swadeshi period of the Indian independence movement and on the early phase of the Indian revolutionary movement. His 1992 study The Bomb in Bengal highlighted the importance of the Maniktala secret society, which was a predecessor of the Jugantar Group. In this book and other publications, Heehs made it clear that the Indian freedom struggle had a violent as well as a non-violent side, and that the violent revolutionaries helped prepare the country psychologically for the later mass movements lead by Mahatma Gandhi. In the second edition of The Bomb in Bengal (2004), Heehs distinguished the aims and methods of early Indian revolutionaries from those of later terrorists in India and elsewhere. Heehs has also written on problems of Indian historiography in History and Theory, Postcolonial Studies, and other journals. He has also contributed to popular magazines such as History Today. As a scholar of religion, Heehs has edited the textbook Indian Religions and has contributed to journals and edited volumes dealing with new religious movements in India. He has also discussed the problems of Indian communalism. Heehs's ninth book, The Lives of Sri Aurobindo (Columbia University Press, 2008) was intended for scholarly readers. It received positive reviews in the United States, but was objected to by conservative devotees of Aurobindo, who have delayed the publication of the book in India.