Report of the visit of the Visiting Committee
Earlier in 2001, SAIIER made a proposal to the Government of India for enhanced funding of its research work. The proposal included a large number of activities of Auroville which were previously not included within SAIIER's set-up. In response, the Government constituted a Visiting Committee of five eminent people to review the proposal, and all Aurovilians involved in the proposed areas of research work came together to present the delegation with their ideas and plans, visions and projects.
It is in these times that Auroville is at its best: with high spirits and joy, love and attention (most of it done at the very last moment..) the delegation was received and presented with a varied programme, leaving them moved and impressed.
The AVNews shared the following report with the rest of the community, and 'old-timers' among you may recognise individuals involved, and smile. . .
Members of the Visiting Committee
Tuesday, September 25th
The Committee visited Auroville from September 25th
(afternoon) to 27th, 2001. They started with a visit to Matrimandir
where Deepti explained the many special features of it. Then they were
given various presentations about Auroville at SAWCHU, Bharat Nivas.
We started with an invocation by Joy and the group that sings with her,
followed by Mother's reading of the Charter in French and Srimoyi reading
it in English. Kireetbhai welcomed them and introduced many Aurovilians
to them who have been in Auroville for a long time. Frederick gave a
brief history of Auroville. Aster spoke about Auroville's connections
to India - she elaborated Mother's statement that all the world's difficulties
will be centred in India and that she has created Auroville for that.
Meenakshi presented to the committee the connections of Auroville to
the ancient land of Tamil Nadu - how Rishi Agastya and Sri Aurobindo
were working in the same place and Sri Aurobindo's intimate friendship
with the great Tamil poet Bharati. Serge presented to the committee
all the new initiatives taken by Auroville in its organisation. Ashok
told about the beginnings of SAIIER and its present position. Tency
presented a slide-show on the greening of Auroville, Luigi made a multi-media
presentation on Auroville and Frederick on the Town Plan of Auroville
which has been given an official recognition recently.
Wednesday, September 26th
The next morning we met the committee at Super School and presented to them the research work done by SAIIER. Kireetbhai presented the philosophy and the research thrust of three underlying themes of our work:
Aster placed the work in the context of the contemporary situation in India and the world. Sanjeev informed the committee about the innovations in our work at Kindergarten and primary levels, while Deepti spoke about the concept of Last School, After School 1, 2, 3, Super School and No School. Don and Alain spoke about the research in creating a new syllabus and new teaching and learning materials. Members of the committee then gave their reflections about our work. They were very supportive and encouraged us to share the results of our work with the rest of the country and the world so that significant changes can occur there too.
In the afternoon the committee visited the Centre of Indian Culture, Bharat Nivas, where they were presented the work being done at this centre. The committee then had its meeting at the office of the Secretary and in the evening they saw two slide shows presented by Christine and Olivier, 'Bhavani Bharati' and 'Genius of India'.
Thursday, September 27th
On the third day the committee met at Transition Campus where many exhibits, all arranged beautifully by the youngsters of the Pyramids team, were set up for them displaying a wide variety of work in Auroville. Starting at Transition's library block, the committee saw an art exhibition by students of the Pyramids, as well as the computer room and students at work there. Presentations continued of the All Language Lab by Mita and Tapas, project works by students of Transition, work of extension schools, exhibition of special books used by the teachers for their research, exhibition of the innovative work of the Dental Clinic, physical education, Annadaan, solar energy products including the solar bicycle, dynamic water, wind generators, mud block technology and more...
After seeing all these exhibits, and briefly interacting with some of the people involved in the work, the committee went to Transition's big hall where a beautiful flower exhibition had been arranged. The committee was explained how much importance is given to flowers by Mother and how she has given a significance to each flower. Having gone through the flower exhibition, the committee heard a recital by the Children's Choir led by Nuria. Then the committee went to Transition's newly built Body Awareness hall where they witnessed a dance by New Creation school girls after which they saw three multimedia presentations on town planning & architecture in Auroville , on the performing arts, and on body awareness classes by Joan and Aloka.
In the afternoon the committee visited Savitri Bhavan. Shraddhavan presented the work there and highlighted the fact that we have the full collection of Huta's Savitri paintings which were done under Mother's guidance. Subsequently we went to Aspiration where Serge presented the work of the Auroville Press and Ganga the work at House of Mother's Agenda. The committee then went to the Tibetan Pavilion where Claude presented the work being done there, Jill elaborated the work of the International Zone, and Roger Anger & Luigi explained the concept of CIRHU. The committee then saw an exhibition of paintings by young Aurovilian Aaron.
Friday, September 28th
On the last day we went to the Samadhi of Mother and Sri Aurobindo, and were also allowed a meditation in Sri Aurobindo's Room.
A large number of Aurovilians, many whose names do not figure in the report worked together, some for the first time with each other, and all experienced it as a very positive and joyful experience. What kind of support we will receive from the government is yet to be determined, but the committee has been very positive and is expected to make favourable recommendations on our proposal to the Government.
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