on a new Declaration to be signed by “applicants for entry visa” and “aspiring members of the Residents Assembly”
9 January 2022
In the past few days, non-Indian Auroville residents applying for renewal of their visas have been compelled to sign a new Declaration making a commitment to accept four conditions. It appears that this Declaration will also be demanded of all members of the Residents Assembly.
- The first condition is to abide by the Charter, “A Dream”, and “To Be a True Aurovilian”. This will be acceptable to all, although many other declarations of Mother calling for the complete absence of exclusive or dogmatic truth, the practice of inclusiveness, flexibility, goodwill, a genuine commitment to unity, and sincerity in the inner work of transformation — all of which Mother repeatedly stated to be far more important than the building of a city — must be equally acceptable.
- The second condition is to abide by the laws and Constitution of India. But no resident of India, whether Indian or not, is exempted from them; this commitment is therefore superfluous.
- The third condition, to abide by the Auroville Foundation Act of 1988, should be acceptable, provided the Act’s implementation remains founded on a harmonious collaboration between the three bodies governing Auroville, with the Charter as the supreme instrument, and on constant mutual consultation. What we have witnessed in Auroville in recent weeks is, on the contrary, a breakdown of those processes, a will to bypass the Residents Assembly, and an attempt by the Auroville Foundation’s Secretary to seize the reins of power with no genuine process of consultation.
- Proof of this lies in the fourth condition in the Declaration, which asks to “abide by the Master Plan of Auroville based on the Galaxy Plan conceived by the Mother and gazetted by Government of India, based on which the Auroville city will be developed and built”. However,
- The so-called “Galaxy Plan” is not a plan at all, only a broad concept. It was never “conceived by the Mother” but by Roger Anger, among other concepts.
- Mother showed appreciation for the Galaxy concept, but never made its acceptance a precondition for admission to Auroville; the condition now set down therefore amounts to overruling Mother and the Charter.
- The scheme of perfectly circular roads connected by twelve radial roads currently sought to be imposed by a skeletal ATDC and the Secretary runs against the dynamic and open design of the Galaxy concept.
- This scheme is actually in breach of the Master Plan, which makes no mention of it. It rejects not only the Master Plan’s self-description as “neither static nor rigid”, but also its call to integrate environmental aspects and concerns in the future town plan. It also brushes aside the mass of technical inputs contributed by many Auroville experts, who have highlighted the scheme’s unviability and objected to the serious lack of expertise behind it.
- The intention behind the fourth condition is therefore clearly to compel all Auroville residents, especially foreigners applying for visa renewal, to endorse the scheme of perfectly circular roads connected by twelve radials.
- This condition also clearly intends to turn the critical instrument of grant of visa, on which hundreds of bona fide, committed Auroville residents depend, into an instrument of coercion. We, the undersigned residents, reject this Declaration as flawed and invalid, and call for its immediate withdrawal. We assert that the only conditions that can be asked of Auroville residents, Indian or not, is to abide by the Charter, by Mother’s many declarations on Auroville’s objectives and the purpose of life in Auroville, and by the Auroville Foundation Act provided it is faithfully followed by all in letter and spirit.
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