Now that there is sufficient evidence and testimony of eyewitnesses that there was a concerted and planned conspiracy of a few people to block the master plan of the Auroville Township, now that the obstructions placed by the small group of people have been removed I believe the root cause of the cancerous division within Auroville is now no longer there and therefore as I see it –ITS TIME TO MOVE ON.
It’s time to move on from the self-destructive course that we find ourselves in. It’s time to move on from the division that we find ourselves in between those who support the work of the secretary and those who find in her a challenge to their own authority and power play.
It’s time to stop vilifying Auroville in the social media and with all well-wishers of Auroville. It hurts nobody except ourselves, it hurts the goodwill which is very necessary to the existence of Auroville.
It’s time to realize that while we may have many different ideas on any topic, and that such diversity of ideas can be encouraged, but when it comes to action there can be only one action .
It is time to understand that if we have differences of opinion on which course of action to follow then such differences can be resolved as things stand under the provisions of the Auroville Foundation Act which empowers the governing board to have a final say. The GB have made it amply clear that they want to implement the master plan in collaboration with the Aurovilians. Let us not treat the governing board as a foreign entity but rather as a support system created by the government for Auroville. To try to exert our own power as superior to the power of the governing board is to engage in a wrong and losing battle. It seems to me that such a battle serves only the power instincts of our local politicians.
It is time for our politicians to see the change of wind, to see that the Mother wants a shift of gear in the course of the development of Auroville and to learn to change with changing times. It is time for our politicians to acknowledge the power of the MOTHER.
The 2 politicians engaged in fighting with the secretary were also in the forefront of the fight with the SAS. They have experience of what such fighting entails. Even at that time they have seen many Aurovilians leave Auroville. They have seen children of Auroville being traumatised. They have seen Aurovilians being barred from entering one place or another on account of their allegiances to a particular group. The symptoms of similar actions are showing up again in Auroville. It is important and vital for us to stop this course of action. I appeal to our politicians to review the course of confrontation taken by them and change.
Auroville will become what it must be only if and when the people living there will stop lying.
The Mother.March 18th,1973
Sustainability – a new goal for Auroville?
One hears the word sustainability a lot these days.. It is used in all types of contexts by all types of people and probably means different things to different people.Technically it is a term used by economists and policy makers to denote a concern for the environment including all natural resources that are needed by man to sustain himself.It underlines the concern for sustaining and preserving all natural resources needed by men for their life and ensuring that they are used in a way that they are replenished and not destroyed.
Translated into more common usage I would define it as meaning a lifestyle for human beings that draws for its sustenance as much of material as is needed for a simple lifestyle and which can be replenished or replaced in some form or another. It implies a conscious control of human greed. It implies conscious holding back of the forces of development and money that seek more and more profit for their owners. Stated in this way sustainability is another way of saying “a simple life” which is also what Mother wanted for Auroville.
The point I am trying to make is that while sustainable development is a natural consequence of Auroville’s values it is not the principal aim.Those who are projecting Auroville as such are lying.
Auroville has aims that speak of transformation.The very first line of the Auroville Charter speaks of being a willing servitor of Divine Consciousness.The last line of the Charter speaks of achieving Human Unity.Those who have read The Ideal Of Human Unity by Sri Aurobindo know that Human Unity in the context of the vision of Mother and Sri Aurobindo means a spiritual transformation and nothing else.
Even scientists are coming to that conclusion.Here is a statement by one,”I used to think the top environmental problems were biodiversity loss,ecosystem collapse and climate change.
I thought that with 30 years of good science we could address those problems.
But I was wrong.The top environmental problems are selfishness,greed and apathy…..
……and to deal with those we need a spiritual and cultural transformation.
…..and we scientists dont know how to do that.”Gus Speth
A number of us have come together alarmed by the current situation in Auroville. We find that the idea of building a township, which is the central project of the Mother for Auroville is increasingly put in question. We find that the idea that the galaxy plan needs to be revised as per the wishes of some of the present Auroville residents has gained ground. There is also an increasing sense of territorialism whereby the development of Auroville needs to be “negotiated” with “stewards” who seem to feel that they are free to change township plans as they wish.
Like many others in Auroville we are alarmed at the idea that lands are being encroached upon without any effective counter resistance to these encroachments. We are alarmed that there are speculators hovering around Auroville wanting to use Auroville and its neighbourhood for lucrative development projects. We are alarmed that no concrete steps have been taken to protect the land of Auroville although there were and are options for statutory land use regulation, which is the only way to ensure this protection.
We are also alarmed that the economy of Auroville increasingly develops in a direction that deviates from the economy that the Mother had envisaged for Auroville. In the Mother’s vision Auroville would be a self-supporting township without exchange of money between its residents while all basic needs would be taken care of. We are far away from this ideal.
We notice that the above concerns are shared by many . A number of us would like to work on creating a movement of change with a focus on the realisation of the Auroville township both in terms of its physical development and the realisation of the social, economic, educational, cultural and other dimensions of the socio-economic fabric of the township in accordance with the spiritual vision and ideals given by the Mother. We welcome all Aurovilians to join hands in the pursuit of these and other objectives given by the Mother.
The group is called Universal Township with email ID auroville-universal-town@Googlegroups.com.We welcome suggestions from everyone committed to realise the Auroville vision given by the Mother in all its dimensions.In this sense all Aurovilians are members of this group.We invite suggestions,questions and offers of collaboration.
Anandi,Aryamani,Devasmita,Divya(karun),Jacqueline,Louis Cohen,Joseba,Sanjeev,Satyakam on behalf of the group.
For over a year now the Forest Group and the Youth Centre (YC) have opposed the clearing of the Crown (ROW) and the laying of an electrical cable alongside it. Arguments have been heard from their side justifying their claim that the Crown should not pass through the YC or the Bliss Forest. The TDC has replied to their arguments explaining why it is necessary to clear the circular Crown right-of-way (RoW) as provided for in the master plan. Almost 300 Aurovilians have written a letter of support to the TDC requesting them to continue their work. The Secretary of the Auroville Foundation has also directed the TDC to complete the task of clearing the master plan RoWs and to lay the HT cable along its designated path along the cleared Crown RoW. He has also directed that other master plan RoWs must be cleared. When the TDC sent a team to survey and mark the Crown, YC residents told them that they are not welcome there and that no survey should take place. One member of the Forest Group had remarked in a posting that proceeding with the work may lead to violence (“We seem to be heading for a violent clash. When the TDC orders the JCB to cut through the YC it will be hard to find peaceful space for dialogue and mutual understanding”).
The defiant blocking of the progress of the development work of building the Township goes against the fundamental structure of the Auroville Foundation Act, the provisions of which govern the functioning of the Auroville Foundation.
How is one to deal with such a situation? It was never expected that Aurovilians would act against Auroville. Hence this situation is new and needs some thinking on what to do.
For those who do not know the background of the TDC here is a brief history of the creation of the TDC.
The Auroville Master Plan provides for the establishment of a “Town Development Council” with an organisation structure as given in Appendix V of the Master Plan (page 108). The Auroville Master Plan also provides for a “Prescribed Authority” to be established by the Auroville Foundation for the implementation of the Master Plan. In the Standing Order by which the TDC was established by the Governing Board in May 2011, the TDC was also designated as the “Prescribed Authority” for implementation of the Master Plan. The Standing Order by which the TDC was established was amended in June 2019 to take care of a technical detail.
The Governing Board has been given the mandate of ensuring development of Auroville in accordance with the Auroville Master Plan as per section 17(e) of the Auroville Foundation Act. With the establishment of the TDC, the Governing Board undertakes this responsibility through the TDC. Residents of Auroville are expected to take part in the planning and development of Auroville as also shown in the organisation diagram of the TDC on page 108 of the Master Plan document.
The TDC Standing Order makes a reference to l’avenir d’Auroville as follows: “Since the name “L’avenir d’Auroville” was given by the Mother for the Township Planning, developing and building the organisation; the Council shall retain it and may use the expression “Auroville Town Development Council – L’avenir d’Auroville” in its internal communications”.
Getting back to the situation of blocking the progress of the works of TDC, here are some thoughts:
The Mother has told us: “No big creation is possible without Discipline – individual discipline, group discipline, discipline towards the Divine” (16-09-1968).
Could it be that far too many people have entered Auroville who do not have any faith in Mother’s idea of Auroville and want to replace Her idea with their own? If that is so then what should be done? From various communications, postings and meetings it appears that increasingly residents of Auroville seem to think that they are the “clients” of the TDC and that the township is to be built as per their wishes rather than acting as volunteers who build the Mother’s town, where she is the “client” and we are the workers.
The blocking of the work of the town development infrastructure has caused financial losses to Auroville. An issue arises about who will compensate Auroville for these losses. There is an urgent need to hold the people causing these losses accountable and liable to compensate Auroville.
Another related issue arises from this and similar incidents: Many individuals, institutions and corporations have provided donations and grants to Auroville. The Government of India has also provided grants for the development of the Auroville Township. The project of the Auroville Township has been detailed in various brochures that describe Auroville as well as the master plan that sets out how the Auroville Township is to be developed. These brochures have been circulated amongst donors who have contributed for this purpose. Land has been purchased with this plan in mind. Equipment and materials have been purchased to develop the township, including its infrastructure, as per this plan. To use the land for purposes other than for which it was purchased creates a criminal liability towards those who have donated. The people who have encroached upon the land and put it to some other use need to be held accountable and liable under the law of the land.
A reading of the minutes of the meetings of the Governing Board confirms that the Governing Board on numerous occasions had called for accelerating the development of the Auroville township including the preparation of detailed development plans. In their meeting of 8th September 2019, the Governing Board noted that the true experiment of Auroville will only start when Auroville is a vibrant township with 50,000 residents. The Board further noted: “All programs and projects of the Auroville Foundation will henceforth be aligned with the larger program of building the Auroville township within a time frame and as per the Auroville Master Plan.”
However, these directives and guidelines have been flouted specially in relation to the structure and functioning of the Town Development Council, compliance with the Auroville Master Plan and consistent and continuous engagement with the Tamil Nadu Government for the creation of a statutory land use regulation mechanism.
A masterly continuous argumentation over some issue or the other causing long delays and effectively annulling the directives of the Governing Board has been a strategy used to good effect. Some members of Auroville working groups are seen openly taking sides with those who oppose the Galaxy Concept and the Master Plan based on it, and with those who block the clearing of the Crown and other master plan RoWs and the installation of infrastructure services. In effect they use their position to support the blockage against the work of the TDC rather than assisting with the development of the Auroville Township.
This leads to the following reflections:
1. What are the consequences for either individuals or a working group that causes financial loss to Auroville? Since no machinery exists within Auroville to claim compensation for losses caused to Auroville, do we use the ordinary legal machinery of the civil and criminal courts to claim this compensation? If we do not want to use the ordinary legal machinery then what are the other ways to deal with this ?There is a need to think about this before it is too late and things go out of our hand.
2. Auroville is being built with financial support in the form of donations and grants, which are given by people who have been touched by the vision of the Mother of her Township. Should there be any consequences for individuals or groups of individuals who covertly or overtly work against the township plans? Since there does not seem to be any mechanism in Auroville to deal with such actions, should Auroville act under ordinary law where such acts may be perceived and treated as cheating and misappropriation, which are criminal offences? Would Auroville need to resort to such measures when the need arises?
There is a lot of misleading information being spread about the central circle in the Galaxy Plan ( called the Crown),the Master Plan,the purpose of Auroville etc.both inside and outside Auroville.Friends in Delhi have reported having received letters with such information.At the risk of repetition some of us have compiled the facts as we know them to help anyone who wants to verify what is being spread around.
In Auroville we must achieve human unity and spiritual growth before the township gets built. The material township must be the outer expression of the spiritual growth of the present residents.
The Mother made it clear in 1971 that there is no such division between spirituality and material life. She wanted disciplined workers to build her town. Please see below.
Q: To what extent does the building of Auroville depend on man’s acceptance of spirituality?
“The opposition between spirituality and material life, the division between the two, has no meaning for me, for in truth life and the spirit are one and it is in and by physical work that the highest spirit must manifest”. [19-04-1968]
“Auroville is in the construction stage and disciplined workers are needed.
Those who do not want or are not able to follow a discipline should not be here at present.
Good will, sincerity and discipline are indispensable qualities for those who want to be Aurovilians”. [23-04-1971]
Auroville could not even have started if “spiritual growth first” would have been a precondition. Spiritual growth and the growth of the township go hand-in-hand. There is no “first” and “after”. The township is meant to become a “laboratory of evolution”.
The statement “spiritual growth and human unity first” displays a culture of double standards. Persons who make these statements do so after theyhave comfortably settled in Auroville, when the houses in which they live and the roads leading to these houses have been built and after electricity, water and internet have been provided to them. To bring up the precondition of building the city only after one has been taken care of, is applying double standards. Essentially one says that now that we are comfortable, the door for others is closed. “Do not disturb us in our comfort” is the message.
The disciplined workers who the Mother had called for seem to have become undisciplined land lords with double standards and high levels of hypocrisy.
Auroville is meant to grow organically. No (detailed) plans must be prepared now. We shall see how Auroville unfolds.
The Mother appointed Roger Anger as the Architect of Auroville to prepare detailed plans. Please see message below.
“Now I have my overall plan, I am waiting for Roger to draw the detailed plans, for I had said from the beginning: “Roger will be the architect”, and I wrote to Roger”.
The Mother wanted the architects and engineers to stop discussing and questioning the town plans and instead help with the building of the town. Please see message below.
The Mother did not approve the Crown and therefore the Crown and the Crown road are not essential parts of the galaxy plan / master plan.
The Mother did not approve separately the individual components of the galaxy plan (Crown, radials, zones, sectors, lines of force). She approved the entire plan after having worked on it for three years with Roger. When she has approved the entire plan and asked Roger to work on the details, the question of the Mother approving individual plan components does not arise.
The Mother appointed Roger as the architect to prepare the detailed drawings.
The galaxy plan drawings of 1968, the master plan document prepared by the Residents Assembly and the Auroville Master Plan as notified by the Auroville Foundation all show the Crown with the Crown road as a perfect circle.
The galaxy concept and master plan are outdated and does not address today’s climate change issues.
In a note of 1965 that Roger had prepared for the Mother on the township he states the following about cars: “The reign of cars has conditioned the urbanism of the 20th century and continues to tyrannize it”. Please see Roger’s note below with Mother’s comment written in the margin. Clearly, the Mother and Roger were way ahead of their times.
Roger: “The mobility principle in Auroville must be defined right now. Shall we allow the presence of cars! Probably in just a few years India will know, same as Europe and the US, the major urban problem the automobile is. The reign of cars has conditioned the urbanism of the 20th century and continues to tyrannize it. Although outdated, and everybody knows it, still the automobile strives at its best to create hell inside the cities and kill the outskirts. Therefore, the option to follow is to forbid and suppress the usage of this means of transportation within the town – and replace it by another, more hygienic, less cumbersome and noisy, more aesthetical, maybe newer if possible”.
The Mother writes in the margin of the note:
“Small size electrically powered vehicles, capable of transporting about 200 Kg at a speed of 15 km/h”.
Plans for renewable energy were made and implemented already in the early years of Auroville.
Auroville pioneered grid-connected solar energy systems in 2012. These pioneering efforts contributed to the formulation of the solar energy policies in several states in the country.
Auroville has implemented the first two phases of a Smart Mini Grid with distributed solar energy generation and storage, smart metering and (remote) demand side management systems. Ministry of Power (National Smart Grid Mission) of the Government of India has endorsed the project.
The electricity master plan that was prepared in 2014 (on the basis of the Auroville Master Plan) is designed to integrate distributed renewable energy generation and storage systems.
There is nothing in the Auroville Master plan that prevents the Auroville township from becoming a sustainable township. It has already been demonstrated that interconnected systems of solar energy generation and storage can contribute to a sustainable energy future for Auroville.
It has also been demonstrated that e-cycles are a viable alternative to motorcycles and cars.
The problem is not with the township infrastructure plans but with the behaviour and lifestyle of the present Auroville residents, including the residents who question the master plan:
Water consumption in Auroville is 400l per capita (source: the TDC). About five times the average per capita consumption in urban India and ten times the consumption in rural India.
There are a few hundred private cars in Auroville and more than 1,500 motorcycles. These vehicles are used by persons who are fit to use a cycle or e-cycle.
The response to global warming in Auroville has not been a change to a less energy intensive lifestyle but just the opposite. Per capita electricity consumption in Auroville increased by 109.9% in the period 2012-2013 to 2019-2020. The per capita electricity consumption increased by a whopping 70.7% in that period. Auroville increasingly became a lifestyle destination rather than a place for the change of life.
Every year hundreds of Auroville residents travel abroad, mainly during the hot summer months. For a round trip to Europe the CO2 emission is 2.6t. For a round trip to the USA the number is 4.7t (average of travel to the USA east coast and west coast). Assuming that 300 persons travel to Europe and 300 persons to the USA every year, the annual footprint of these trips comes to 2,200t per annum. Auroville would need to install another 1.6 MW of solar PV systems to offset this emission. With the money spent on flight tickets every year accommodation for 45 youth or 900 kW of additional solar energy capacity can be built.
What does all of this say about the climate-consciousness of the present residents? Is the problem with the master plan or with the lifestyle of the present residents?
The Crown RoW (right of way) and other master plan RoWs occupy vast areas of land.
Right of Way
Percentage of Master Plan land area
Outer Ring RoW
12 radials + IZ loop + 1 link road
Can the stewards and custodians of the Auroville township land not even manage to keep 1.64% of the master plan area free from buildings and trees?
The Auroville Universal Township Master Plan is not binding on the Auroville Foundation and the Auroville residents who may develop Auroville as they wish.
The Auroville Master Plan was approved by the Ministry of HRD on 12thApril 2001 (letter No. F.27-3/2000-UU). The Auroville Master Plan was notified in the Government of India gazette on 16-08-2010.
For the realisation of the Auroville Master Plan funds have been raised (and are being raised) and land was purchased.
Under section 17(e) of the Auroville Foundation Act, the Governing Board of the Auroville Foundation has to ensure that Auroville is developed in accordance with the Master Plan.
There have been decades of discussion of how to implement the Master Plan or even whether to implement it or not. The net result of these endless discussions is that no major town development as per the Master Plan has taken place.
There were efforts to get statutory land use protection in place since 2002. These were also blocked on the ground that there will then be government interference. Those who blocked these efforts have not come up, or implemented a viable alternative solution. As a result we can see speculators surround Auroville to find how best they can make a lucrative deal for themselves. The situation has become critical so much so that the Government of India has decided to intervene once again, as it did before in 1980.
The Chairman of the Auroville Foundation announced some of the decisions taken by the Governing Board during the meeting of the GB with the Aurovilians on 2nd November, 2021. While we await the recording of the Chairman’s speech and the minutes of the meeting of the Governing Board, here is the gist of some of the statements made:
The fact that Auroville has only 3,000 residents after 50 years of existence is an indicator to many that it is a failing project. The Government will not allow Mother’s dream to fail.Sri Aurobindo’s philosophy cannot be a failed philosophy.
We would like to see Auroville as a magnet that attracts people with an aspiration from all over the world.Auroville does not belong to any particular group of people.
On the occasion of the 150th anniversary of Sri Aurobindo let us dedicate ourselves to the building of the Auroville township and the realisation of the ideals given by the Mother.
The Governing Board is committed to the realisation of the Auroville ideals given by the Mother and the building of the Auroville township as per the Auroville Master Plan. This has to be done within a timeframe and with the collaboration of all Aurovilians.
Any trees that are needed to be removed during the construction of the township will be planted elsewhere in the township area or in the forest areas of the Greenbelt of Auroville.
Any structures that need to be replaced will have to be relocated and built elsewhere.
There is an invitation for all to collaborate.
A positive decision has now been taken, putting to rest arguments and debates dividing Auroville residents in connection with the building of the Auroville Township. Let us collaborate and start a new phase in the realisation of Auroville .
Just heard the interview by Sam Daniel of NDTV of Suhasini first and then Joel and Sindhuja.His conclusion after hearing both parties—Much Ado About Nothing.
It is clear that the more we go outside the more ridiculous we appear to the world outside and the more ridicule we bring upon The Mother and Sri Aurobindo who are highly respected and revered in India and who are known as the founders of Auroville…
I appeal to all to stop running to the Media.And to stop making a spectacle of ourselves and our Gurus..
The resident assembly is a creation of the Auroville Foundation Act and needs to be governed by the provisions of the act. The distribution of powers between the 3 authorities named in the act– a governing board, the resident assembly and the International advisory Council are well defined in the act. The governing board in its recent meeting has laid out detailed provisions for the implementation of the master plan. The proposed RAD wants to stop all work on the implementation of the master plan. Such an action is in clear defiance of the governing board and its role in the affairs of Auroville.
Auroville has demonstrated its ability to take on any administration that does not do what it wants. The same tactics that were used against the SAS are now being used against the office of the Auroville foundation. It consists of blocking any action on the lands of Auroville by gathering a crowd of people.The spreading of lies with half truths on the social media is a new weapon used this time. The ATDS were effectively blocked do a survey even before the new secretary took office. It is clear and obvious that there are a few people behind these actions who have no intention of allowing Mothers project to be built although they keep giving lip service to the idea that they are not against building the city but only want to take care of environmental considerations. Almost 30 years have passed since Auroville was taken away from the society and handed over to the Aurovilians. There is very little to show by the Aurovilians by way of land protection or building the township of Auroville.
I have no idea of how to deal with the hooliganism displayed at the site of the clearing of the Crown ways or in the corridors of the Town Hall. I also have no idea of how to deal with the onslaught on the social media. I have no idea how to deal with the idea that Auroville is not the Mothers project and it is for the community of those who live there to decide everything. Since in my view Auroville is Mother’s project I have faith that she knows how to deal with what is going on.
So far as this RAD event is concerned I request all Aurovilians to have a look at the Auroville foundation act and educate themselves about the limits of the powers of the resident assembly.
There are 2 more issues that I wish to highlight These are:
Decision making – the Mother, the Governing board, Aurovilians 1. For many of us the project of Auroville belongs to the Mother. She has initiated the project. She has given it a Charter. She has worked on the plan for the township with Roger the architect and chosen the galaxy plan for the township. She has given detailed instructions for the construction of Matrimandir which has been completed as per her instructions. She has given names to the 12 Gardens around the Matrimandir and these gardens are being created as per the significance of the names she has given. In various conversations and messages she has given indications of the organisation of Auroville, the economy of the township, its relations with the neighbouring villages et cetera et cetera.
It is strange for us therefore to constantly hear the argument that it is for the resident assembly to decide on everything pertaining to Auroville. In the same way the Sri Aurobindo society(SAS) claimed ownership of Auroville and therefore final decision making powers pertaining to Auroville which was then challenged resulting in the Auroville foundation act, 1988. The organisation of Auroville is now determined by this act of Parliament.
The Auroville foundation act tries to ensure a harmonious development of the township of Auroville along the lines envisaged by the Mother. I will not go into the details of the act but suffice it to say that the act envisages that the residents of Auroville would organise the day-to-day activities of Auroville and assist the governing board in carrying out its functions under the act. The act makes it amply clear that it is the governing board that is empowered to take final decisions. This has also been made clear in various opinions sought by Aurovilians from very senior advocates.
In the circumstances there should be no issue at all of who is the author of Auroville and who is the final authority in the affairs of Auroville as per the provisions of the Auroville foundation act Freedom 2. Freedom is a basic necessity for any true creative work. I believe Auroville is attractive to people who come here because they find a freedom over here – a freedom to be who they truly are – which they are unable to find elsewhere. This freedom however is not of the ordinary kind related to outer expression of one’s being but on the other hand is a deeper inner freedom that is offered here. An example that happened during Mother’s life will suffice to explain the difference:
Someone from Auroville wrote to me that he thought he had come here to obey no one but himself(or words to that effect) but he noticed there are rules and laws. And he said,”I am not going to do any of this; I am a free man and refuse to do this.”This was reported to me, naturally so I wrote to him(I don’t remember):”one is free only when one is conscious of the Divine and conscious that it is the Divine who makes decisions in every one, otherwise one is the slave of one’s desires, one’s habits, of all conventions……” I sent him that and he kept quiet. Mother’s Agenda volume 11 page 74
The freedom we want to realise in Auroville is not license – each one doing what he pleases without concern for the well-being of the organisation of the whole.
As for the principal that everyone should be allowed to do according to his nature, you can apply only where people do independent work by themselves; where many have to work together, it cannot always be done – regularity and discipline are there the 1st rule. Shri Aurobindo 1937.
This is an attempt to step back from the current scenarios in Auroville and try to understand the deeper roots of where our differences lie and where we are still united in our aspiration.
I am using the frame used by the Mother in the play she has written called The Ascent to Truth. This play is a short story of about 7 different types of people—a philanthropist,a pessimist,a scientist,an artist,3 students,2 lovers,an ascetic,and 2 aspirants– who all agree to discover the Truth and who agree that the Truth lies at the summit of a mountain that is nearby. They all agree to climb the mountain to discover the truth. As they climb the mountain each one of them stops the ascent at different stages of the climb till only 2 aspirants are left who reach the summit. Using this frame I see that we are all at different stages of our climb to reach our aspiration. I also see that there are a few clusters or groups of people who are at similar stages and who have at least temporarily reached a plateau and are in a state of rest where they have reached. These groups have come into conflict with those who are still in a state of movement in their aspiration and want to continue to move forward and upward in their journey to realise their aspiration. Let me straight away identify the groups that I see who have paused and are quite happy with the way things are and have joined with each other to resist change and the efforts of those who want to continue the building of the Township as per Mothers plan.
The 1st group that I see is one led by the Genius brothers. In this group Johnny is the iconic figure who represents a way of life that appeals to the idealism of many. As an observer from the outside what I see is a lifestyle that is simple, close to nature, hands-on and self-reliant, adventurous in exploring nature and probably many other qualities that I do not see. Johnny has had a strong impact as an educationist on the youth of Auroville in the late seventies onwards. Other members of the Genius brothers like Paul Blanchflower have also involved the youth in theatre productions which they all fondly remember. The annual play by the Genius brothers, the Christmas fair and the weekly pizza gathering at the YC, the Sunday dosa mornings with Johnny at Fertile are some of the elements that create a culture that unites the followers of this group. This group so far as I can see also has the Forest group as its supporters or sympathisers. This group has made it amply clear that they oppose the Galaxy plan given by the Mother for the township of Auroville. The placing of the YC kitchen on the crown road and the blocking of the development of the Crown road over the last 10 years has given this clear signal.
The 2nd group of people who I see have also reached a plateau and have settled down to a lifestyle that contributes to Auroville in some form of work which is important for Auroville and according to them that is sufficient expression of their aspiration. Most of them are now well off and outwardly follow a kind of bourgeois existence. To this group belong ex-followers of Satprem, of Kireet Joshi, and all those who have read and studied to some measure the works of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother and tried to practice the yoga but have now reached a plateau and do not have the drive or the energy to take on the task of building the Auroville Township.They include unit holders,school teachers and I too identify myself with this group though I cannot say that I am satisfied with my very comfortable life and want to do all I can to take the building of Auroville forward.. Members of this group also run most of the administrative machinery of Auroville and thereby create an administration that is conducive to maintaining the status quo rather than working to manifest in a progressive manner the higher ideals enshrined in the Charter of Auroville.
The 3rd very identifiable group of Aurovilians are those from the neighbouring villages. Their life in Auroville is particularly difficult as the culture to which they belong is right next door and the pull of this culture on them is strong contradicting the pull of the Auroville culture on them. By and large I believe they are committed to the creation of the township as Mother wanted.
While these 3 groupings are visible there are also a large number of individuals who do not fall into any of these groups but may have sympathies with one or the other of them. The need for the use of JCB’s and the police for clearing the crown has shifted significantly the sympathies of this group of individuals towards those opposing the clearing of the Crown ways. In spite of trying to see the matter from different angles I am unable to decide how we could have dealt with the situation where a small group of Aurovilians have been obstructing the clearance of the Crown Way in spite of so many discussions and in spite of so many years having been passed in this delay. The methodology used by the Aurovilians to block the work amounts to moral violence. According to the Mother this kind of violence is even worse than physical violence. If anybody has a suggestion of how we can continue together without such moral aggression I would really like to hear that. I have not been able to come up with any other way, knowing well of other instances of deliberate aggression by Aurovilians on other Aurovilians based on their belief system,again a plateau.
It may be mentioned here that all those who are blocking the clearing of the Crown ways never admit that that is their intention. Their statements always are,” we are for the galaxy concept BUT…….”,We are for the master plan BUT……” .This BUT is an invitation to endless talk and no action.
I would like to come back to the larger issue that is thrown up by this conflict. If one uses the frame that I have used then the issue simply is whether those who have reached some sort of a plateau in the pursuit of their aspiration can hold back those who want to continue the journey and work towards the manifestation of the project of Auroville as defined by the Mother. At my own level of consciousness I would say that certainly we cannot block the energies of those who want to continue on the path simply because some have decided not to continue. It is possible that the Mother has a different intention. I cannot say anything about that but have faith that she will do what needs to be done.