Varadharajan: Building Bridges Between Auroville and Local Villages

Varadharajan was a devoted follower of The Mother and played a crucial role in liaising with the local villagers during the early days of Auroville. His background as a Tamilian helped him connect with the villagers and understand their concerns about Auroville’s intentions. When Varadharajan realized that none of the Auroville Administrative Committee members could speak Tamil, he volunteered to live in Kuilapalayam, a nearby village, to build a bridge between Auroville and the villagers.

The villagers had concerns about Auroville’s intentions, as they were afraid that the government would issue a notification order to acquire their land for the Auroville project. They were not a big village and felt threatened by the people with whom they felt no connection and whose motives they did not understand. They were also concerned that they would be relocated somewhere else, as had happened in the case of big government projects like Neyveli township.

To address their concerns, Varadharajan wrote a note in Tamil, assuring them that Auroville wanted to show a new way of life, which would provide them with better employment opportunities, improve their standard of living, and provide new health and educational facilities. He also assured them that Auroville would not evict anybody from their homes because the Tamil people living on the soil of Auroville are “the first citizens of Auroville”.

Varadharajan’s note calmed the villagers’ fears to a certain extent, but there was still some uncertainty about Auroville’s intentions. Mother wrote to somebody that he should be “very careful not to offend the people from the Tamil village. It has been very difficult for us to win their confidence, and nothing should be done that should make them lose this new-born confidence which is of capital importance…. They are your brothers in spirit. This should never be forgotten.”

Varadharajan also worked to improve the lives of the villagers by providing clean drinking water, setting up a health center, and employing local people in the first Auroville workshops. He also started a mother and child care center, another school, and an integrated families experiment, which allowed families to join Auroville if they had goodwill and were willing to work for human unity.

Varadharajan’s work with the villagers was critical to building a strong relationship between Auroville and the local communities. His note in Tamil helped alleviate the villagers’ fears, and his work to improve their lives showed that Auroville was committed to being a good neighbor. His devotion to The Mother and his dedication to Auroville’s mission made him a key figure in the early days of Auroville.

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