Auroville has been without a Secretary of the Auroville Foundation since August, 2005. Now the long wait is over: Mr. M. Ramaswamy assumed office on 1st November. On the afternoon of Tuesday, 7th November, the community was invited to meet him over tea.
Mr.M.Ramaswamy was introduced by Mr. Bagchi, Governing Board member, who informed us that the new Secretary was born in Madras and was educated at the Christian College in Tambaram, from which he graduated with an M.A. in economics. He subsequently studied law – he is a Bachelor of General Law and Master of Business Laws – and also has a Master's degree in Business Administration. He also has a degree in astrology which, Mr. Bagchi smilingly suggested, could come in useful in terms of predicting Auroville's future.
“I was interested to take up this post,” explained Mr. Ramaswamy in a short speech, “because I started my career in this district: during training I was based in Cuddalore from where I often visited Pondicherry .”
When he was selected for the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) in 1982 he was allotted to Maharashtra . Here he held many senior posts, including Director of Civil Supplies and Chief Executive Officer of the State Khadi and Village Industries Board.
“My relationship with Auroville is 30 years old,” said Mr. Ramaswamy. “I first visited in 1975 and I remember thinking then, looking at the red soil and scarce vegetation, that not much would happen here. When I finally revisited last March I was amazed to see all the greenery: I told Mr. Srinivasmurthy (the acting Secretary) that the Aurovilians had done great work.”
Mr. Ramaswamy regretted the delay in his taking up office. “At one point, when it was not clear if I would be able to come here or not, I told Mr. Srinivasmurthy that it is all up to Mother. If She wishes me to come, I will come, otherwise not. When I heard that I was going to join, I wanted to begin work immediately. So when I took charge on the 1st November, the same day I met the Working Committee and the Land Coordination Committee and the next day I went to meet the Chief Secretary of the Government of Tamil Nadu in Chennai” (Mr. Bagchi noted in his introductory speech, “He is a very dynamic person. He is eager to do things.”)
“So let us not waste more time, let's start doing the work,” continued Mr. Ramaswamy. “My intentions are very clear. I want to complete the land matters and I want to solve other problems. I will give my fullest capacity for the welfare of the Foundation and the community but in finding solutions I want your fullest cooperation. If both of us join together we will certainly achieve our common goals.”
Subsequently, in a brief interview with Auroville-Radio, Mr Ramaswamy expanded on his first task. “We want to consolidate the land-holdings in the city and greenbelt, and take that area completely under our control. This is our main priority. On that matter we are already meeting government officials.”
And he concluded, “I am part of Auroville now, I am also an Aurovilian.”