Time for invitation

Surely most of us have noticed the action of the new consciousness that is emerging, how it is getting more and more accelerated, and how some great changes are becoming not only necessary but unavoidable: changes on Societies, changes on the way we see spirituality, changes on the Environment, changes on ourselves. And all along there is a radical and effective revaluation of ideas and things.

One clear sign of such changes is that in more recent times the perception of an oneness underlying the whole humanity is no more foreign to the human psyche, and in spite of the difficulty in manifesting it on a material level, this truth is taking roots on a growing number of individuals and organizations all around the planet.

The apparently strong opposition, seen everywhere, can not deter the Force pushing towards a more concrete realization, because the ideal of human unity surely contains in itself its own power, and this power is awakening everywhere, bringing with it new possibilities of realization, both at individual and at collective levels.

The project of Auroville, even if it is still under construction and far from being complete, has been a living and inspiring example of efforts towards this ideal. Now, we do think that the time is ripe to invite people from different places to know more about it and to find new ways of participating in the Auroville experiment. To join in our forces, aspirations and dreams.

Maybe this will help us, the residents of Auroville, to enlarge ourselves and to look at the world with new eyes. Maybe a sense of a golden thread, invisible and yet tangible, will permeate the new contacts, the new relationships that will be created, and will grow and spread…. Maybe we will learn to dream together, and make Mother`s dream our collective dream, and be able to believe in our dreams. And maybe one day, the big dream of being one and universal, will become true. And this will only be the beginning of a far greater adventure…

Why Zero Tolerance for Corruption is Essential for Upholding Auroville’s Vision

Auroville is a unique and diverse community that is committed to creating a society based on the principles of human unity, spiritual growth, and sustainable living. As an intentional community, Auroville has always been committed to creating a space free from the traditional constraints of nationality, politics, religion, and economics. In order to uphold its vision and maintain its integrity, zero tolerance for corruption is essential in Auroville.

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Community Voices: Perspectives on the Impact of Converting Auroville and How We Can Protect Its Future

Auroville, a unique experimental township in India, was founded with a vision of promoting sustainable living, human unity, cultural diversity, and spiritual growth. However, in recent times, there have been concerns about the potential impact of converting Auroville into something it was not intended to be. This has led to many discussions and debates within the community and beyond, with different voices offering their perspectives on the issue.

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Taking Responsibility in Auroville: Uncroaching Positions and Rights

Auroville is a unique community that emphasizes collective decision-making, shared resources, and mutual respect for each other’s rights. However, the community has faced challenges in recent years as some individuals have encroached upon Auroville’s assets, including positions and rights that were intended to be shared. This has led to a sense of inequality and resentment among some members of the community.

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Critique of Auroville’s Citizens’ Assembly

In my humble opinion, Auroville is not a democracy project, and it does not have ‘Citizens’. Somehow, I think, democracies are about dumbing it down, flattening it out. Look at our political leaders. Auroville is a dream of elevation, evolution, and embodiment. I do feel the need in Auroville for Extraordinary participation, Educated deliberations, & Equal opportunities. Perhaps, we already have enough groups and assemblies. Our job is to better the existing bodies, instead of boycotting and participating selectively.

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Absurdities in Auroville RADs


I’m no expert on political democracies, electoral methodologies, or psephology. I am merely pointing out as a layman, the glaring gaps in the ongoing RAD. I understand that we need some systems to organise ourselves, and the voting system is a stepping stone. I am only trying to point out the blatant absurdities inherent in the ongoing process. The ongoing RAD is flawed at multiple levels and I’ve thus publicly posted my statement, announcing my abstination.

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Let’s move on

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: Setting the Record Straight

Auroville, the Universal Town in the making, is founded on the work and vision of the Indian sage and philosopher, Sri Aurobindo, and his spiritual partner, Mirra Alfassa, from France, known as the Mother. This visionary world experiment was endorsed by UNESCO for the future and unity of humankind through a change of Consciousness.

Auroville was inaugurated on February 28, 1968 with a City plan and a Charter before 5000 guests that included ambassadors, UNESCO directors and people and youth from India and around the world. The City plan and the Charter form the twin basis of Auroville as a unified and unique experiment which combines material development with the spiritual.

Foreseeing the crisis of humanity and the plight of cities worldwide, Auroville was planned as a model of spiritual urbanism for which the Mother commissioned the architect Roger Anger ro make a city plan which came to be known as the Galaxy. This integrates social, cultural, educational, economic and environmental factors needed to create the conditions of change for the world’s future. We aspire to see this unique city experiment realized in the best possible way, without further delay, and hope to have your support in its manifestation.

Once the Auroville Foundation came into being with the Auroville Foundation Act and started functioning with the appointment of a Governing Board, the process of creating a master plan based on the Galaxy plan model, was done, approved and published in the Gazette of the Government of India. This model will be exhibited at the MOMA, New York, from February to July 2022 as a part of an exhibition on Modern Indian Architecture that will feature the work of Charles Correa, B V Doshi, Joseph Stein, Le Corbusier, Laurie Baker and Roger Anger.

On December 4, 2021, after months of sustained discussions, Auroville’s Town Development Council issued a work order to commence work on clearing the path known as the Crown. This circular path which unifies all parts of the city is a largely pedestrian artery that is to form Auroville’s main urban life centre and clearly indicated in the Master plan. Unfortunately, the anti-city and environmental hardliners soon gathered to aggressively stop the work by putting small children in front of JCBs that had been called to do the work of clearing. Police were called at night to protect the area from protestors and to allow the work to continue. However work was again blocked as the protestors returned and refused to back down.

Since then, misleading and destructive reports about Auroville and the events have been circulating in the media, social media, and petitions both via external and internal media. They challenge the master plan and speak in the name of all Aurovilians. This is absolutely incorrect and, a matter of great concern, as even RA decisions are now flouted on change.org with provocative statements against the government at the cost of Auroville. We want to take this opportunity to dispel the misinformation that is being spread and offer some clarity.

The Crown, an essential artery, has been blocked for over two decades by deliberately planting trees and thorns over it, effectively making large sections out of bounds, instead of taking care to keep the passage of this collective zone of Auroville clear. Additionally, ‘temporary’ buildings had been placed deliberately on the Crown, without permission and by defying agreements made. Anywhere else in the world, whether in India, Europe, America or elsewhere, the clearing of essential roads that are to serve everyone cannot be blocked or obstructed in such a manner, for so long.

Clearly, it is not an issue of saving a few hundred trees or sustainability. In the context of three million trees that already exist, serving only 3500 people occupying 3000 acres of land, we cannot proclaim to be sustainable. It is more a case, as it has become clear, of those who refuse the city as consciously planned. JCBs and police have been declared as prime villains in all this but the fact is that the foresters and some architects protesting, remain the most regular users of JCBs in Auroville. With a little goodwill and collaboration all the drama that ensued and continues could have been avoided. There is also the record of a JCB being driven into a community by foresters and youth, without warning, to dig a 2m wide and 2m deep trench to block access. Continued passivity towards such actions has led to a culture of entitlement and impunity that we witness today.

Auroville is planned as a very green and sustainable city with ample areas designated for green corridors and parks in the city area alone plus a greenbelt that will surround it. The fabricated ‘controversy’ around the master plan has been a recurring ploy to delay and obstruct Auroville from growing. Most shocking of all has been the NGT Stay Order to stop the work with a few members taking the rest of Auroville to court. No process was followed, no consultation sought and no respect given to the wishes of the rest of Auroville.

The how of it, now being decried, shows no acknowledgement or respect for the work done and expertise attained over the last 25 years. A master plan agreed upon and approved cannot change into a forest at the whims of some, altering the very direction of Auroville. Nor can it be challenged each time work finally gets ready to start.

Previous Governing Boards of the Auroville Foundation who helped initiate and get the needed approvals for Auroville’s master plan, also urged us to take the work forward several times without success. The current Governing Board has fortunately taken a very proactive stand which is appreciated by a large section of the community.

We must also remember that the people of the surrounding villages, here in Tamil Nadu, offered their land to the Mother to see Her dream realized. There is an open frustration that even after 50 years, their land holds only about 3500 people and not 50,000 as intended. There is a great support amongst the local population who want to contribute towards Auroville’s development with their skills, dedication and goodwill. Many have joined Auroville to see it realized but face the risk of being fired or not accepted, should they openly claim to support the city.

The provocative misinformation and media hype that continues has harmed Auroville’s image in the immediate bio region, and before India which hosts this unique experiment for the rest of the world. It has also confused our associates and well wishers who have collaborated with us and supported our growth and aspirations for decades.

Auroville is not about the personal dreams of the residents. It is a vision and a hope that each Aurovilian holds in trust for humanity. That all this occurs during Sri Aurobindo’s 150th  birth anniversary has also come as a shock for many around the world.

Please be assured that we are neither in danger nor in any enforced situation despite the actions and abusive behaviour of some residents of Auroville and no one has been hurt so far, as it is being falsely insinuated in media reports and via anonymous websites and outreach.

In their meeting of 18th January, 2022, the Governing Board unanimously reaffirmed its stand of continuing with the expeditious implementation of the Auroville township as per the Auroville master plan and invited all to collaborate harmoniously.

India, by carrying the Mother’s invitation to the world to build Auroville based on the vision of Sri Aurobindo, recognizes the aims and objectives of this visionary project, a place of unending learning. This ‘crisis’ is a moment of truth for all who have joined Auroville of their own free-will, to participate in its realization and to live up to their commitment.

Concerned Residents of Auroville

RAD: What is this win worth?

Let me begin this article by congratulating the ‘Be Here Now’ team for pulling off a stupendous victory. In the recently concluded Residents’ Assembly Decision-making referendum, they won by a landslide margin. Out of 899 votes cast, 803 were in favour of the motion – “To pause all clearing, infrastructure laying and permanent construction work on the Right of Ways of Crown, Radials and Outer Ring in order to enable the community to define a way forward for Auroville’s development…”. Only 90 went against the tide. The number of people participating in the exercise is, by the way, the record in Auroville’s history. Altogether an incredible win, indeed!

Though, this did not come as a surprise to me, personally. I never doubted the outcome of the RAD, I always knew the BHN team would win. The narrative of ‘saving the trees’, ‘standing up against violence’, ‘fighting for freedom’, etc. looks luscious, romantic, heroic even. If I did not have the all-around information, I’d have myself rooted for it. After all, who doesn’t like to be a hero warrior? But, here I’m, risking the wrath of the community, sticking my neck out once again, saying what I think needs to be said. What is this win worth?

The numbers do not say everything

Even though the numbers seem the highest ever, it does not mean, we as a community are unanimous about the notion around progressing or pausing. I, for one, do not equate everyone who did not exercise their voting rights to be against the RAD topic. In the same breath, I wouldn’t also draw conclusions that only 90 are in opposition. It is a reality that many abstained from voting, me including, and I request the community to not overlook this fact, under the influence of the winning high. Out of 2427 eligible residents (above age 18 and confirmed Aurovilians) 899 have explicitly made their opinion known, the remaining 1528 residents also have a viewpoint and cannot be easily discarded. Many refer to them as the silent majority and both sides claim they are with them. We do not yet know their version for a fact and in future actions, their role, depending on where they swing, can be crucial.

The smokescreen of consensus is cleared now

Until now, there was an unwritten understanding within the community that a brash show of numbers to make a point was considered unacceptable. The tyranny of numbers may not always present an amicable solution. At times, mere numbers can prove to be cruel for conscious decision-making. Thus, we as a community have always relied on a semblance of consensus rather than the brute force of the numbers. We have trusted the quality of the arguments more than the quantity of arguers. With the present victory, without worrying about listening to – forget including – the other side of the argument seems unprecedented and unfortunate. All the claims and calls for collaboration seem an eyewash and posturing for an audience. Most of the effort during the lead-up to the RAD seems to have been on booing & demonizing the residents who presently hold offices, instead of genuinely listening to their side of the story. Most of the effort has been towards proving the madness and little to no effort towards understanding the methods behind that ‘madness’. At least, we’ve been true this time to act as we believe, and the chimera of courteousness has lost its sheen.

The crisis is the glue, not the purpose

If one looks closely at the occasions, in which we as a community have participated in relatively high numbers, we find they have been moments of crisis. May it be for Highway or Crownway. We do not come together with such enthusiasm when the matter is not of controversial nature. Moreover, coming together and finding consensus to do anything new in Auroville is usually an uphill task, given the number of personal opinions and perspectives on the subject. So, rather than doing anything boldly for the future, we as a community seem to find solace in maintaining the status quo of the past. Doing anything new requires debates, discussions, dialogues, and the synthesising of opposing views, which is far more difficult than mediocre continuity of the same and familiar old. The state of our economy, organization, education, social interactions, living standards, town development, and even environment-related activities, etc. in the last 20 – 30 years stand as a testimony against courage for change. We as a community claim to strive for actual human unity, however, we continue to cling to our personal point of view. We need to find purpose in various fields of Auroville and see how we can translate our newly found unity into something positive, not merely against a bogeyman.

The actual meaning of the RAD

The Residents’ Assembly will (may have already) present the results to the Working Committee, which, in turn, shall present the ‘Decision’ to the Governing Board. Here’s where the difference of perceptions creeps in. The residents who voted for the motion may expect the GB to honour their ‘Decision’ and order Auroville entities to ‘Pause’ all work. Whereas the GB may look at the ‘Decision’ as a request or advice only. The working group of Auroville – ATDC – has already requested the GB for support and resources to carry forward their long-pending work, which the GB has already agreed (refer to the Minutes of the Meetings published on 3rd Dec 21) and declared. Given their prior commitment to the ATDC and their recent focus on development – on the occasion of Sri Aurobindo’s 150th Anniversary – they may continue to support ATDC and decline the recent RAD request to pause.

How would the community respond then? This may rile up a few residents and many more may rally around the riled. Will it matter? For us, residents, yes! Will it matter to the Government of India? Perhaps not. From their perspective, they’re only supporting Auroville’s progress and helping the community finish long-pending – community-approved, gazetted by previous governments – work. The Government of India may see few emotionally charged residents as rabble-rousers, hellbent on obstruction of work. Long story short, consequences for us residents may be quite unpleasant & then, what will have been then the purpose of the RAD? Make the GB listen to the requests of some residents? Fair purpose but perhaps too crude and blunt an instrument.

I have been vocally against this particular call for a RAD all along, for it posits the community against the GB. The RAD then presents itself as confrontational rather than collaborative. Even if we believe few individuals are misusing the Government system, it is juvenile of us to be assuming this antagonistic posture. Multiply the RAD with political name-calling, embarrassing narrative placed in the international media, etc. leading up to what? A little attention and outrage? I believe we could have found an ear and solutions through other means. I am afraid this RAD victory may not mean much, apart from it being used to dial up the temperature a notch higher.

I request the BHN team to show magnanimity in the moment of victory – Be Humble Now! Please do not push the boundaries, we’ve already gone far enough. I request them to find solutions within the community and allow the ATDC to do its work. If possible, partake in their participatory actions. But, by all means, come back to the table, dialogue, discuss, debate, and find a way forward, with each other.

– Lakshay Dharan