Auroville Connecting with the World
We are deeply concerned that Auroville faces two dramatic challenges: the low growth of population and a skew towards older more affluent applicants. The recent article in Auroville Today calculates that at the current rate it will “take several thousand years before we reach the magic figure of 50,000.”
Although we’ve been told that this may not be a mandatory figure, 2000 is far from the critical mass needed for the “City the Earth Needs”.
Auroville must grow and we have to pay attention to how that can happen. If Auroville is to be a magnet manifesting the ideals of Sri Aurobindo and Mother in the 21st century, there is an urgent need to attract spiritually minded individuals from all parts of the world. We need more universality and note Auroville still lacks substantial participation from South America, Africa, the Middle and Far East.
Auroville must continue to emphasize its spiritual values, not just technical skills and implement a compassionate more streamlined entry process.
We applaud the upcoming Auroville Festival in New Delhi that includes the arts, films and literature among its offering to India’s capital. Auroville’s voice must be better heard in India and the world. Auroville Radio, Auroville Today and Auroville Outreach must be supported and strengthened.
Auroville International also has a key role to play in this outreach and we appreciate its efforts in South Africa and Ethiopia.
Housing is obviously a critical need. If we want to attract young people, including young Aurovilians who choose to stay or return, we need less expensive housing. We support the idea of low cost housing for students, volunteers and newcomers and support the suggestion that Government of India funds be used specifically for this type of building.
We further support Dr. Doshi’s suggestion to add rooms in the houses of the surrounding villages to address the need for accommodation and bring Auroville’s ideals into deeper contact with the local population.
We believe it is possible to build homes competitively and cheaply using local materials, especially the wood which came down in the cyclone Thane. In this context we support the idea of the Green Campus using best green practices and use of local materials to build 300 homes in the near future.
Judicious and productive leasing of select outlying land for projects compatible with Auroville’s ideals, such as creating innovations in solar or green technology, could generate funds for outright purchase of land within the city. We support Ameeta’s suggestion to study potential projects that could fulfill these criteria. Given the dynamic nature of Auroville’s activity, the more land we keep under Auroville’s control, the better.
As we have said numerous times in the past, the base of the city center must be achieved with urgent critical attention. Coordination of the various land committees, petals into a flower, under one administration could help move this process forward.
The quest for legally enforceable protections of the land in and around Auroville should be continued and strengthened. We find it more than ironic that with the high value assigned to beachfront property nothing is being done to prevent Repos from falling into the Bay of Bengal. We should boldly request donation of lands from governments, institutions and individuals for Auroville.
We feel education in Auroville should be closely linked with the ultimate goal of personal and collective transformation.
We strongly support the idea of using Auroville values to help transform existing systems and share new models with educational institutions inside and outside of Auroville.
Our experience in meeting students at Future School was a highlight of our visit. We note that their success in providing a dedicated staff of teachers to meet the student’s needs echoes the Finnish model, which is lauded as the most successful in the world.
Auroville has reached a phase in its history where its accomplishments in education should be made available to others. The distillation of students’ experiences can be a step towards presenting the Auroville model to the wider world.
In the evolution of education, we believe these Auroville students could be tutors sharing their transformative experience with others. They can serve as resources for reflecting on their educational experience in contrast to what happens outside Auroville.
Auroville is also a model of experiential learning. As the world looks for new models beyond the university to a “multi-versity”, Auroville could be a beacon. The example of Living Routes in bringing an experience-based curriculum for college credit at the University of Washington, the University of Massachusetts and the American University of Paris show how a successful program can benefit both the students and Auroville. Auroville needs to explore partnerships with within India, the rest of Asia, Africa, the Middle East and other parts of the world along these lines (we attach a letter from Auroville International’s recent meeting as an appendix to our minutes addressing this topic).
A highly relevant proposal, Integral Rural Development (IRD), is a model project to implement and scale up an integrated curriculum for the bioregion and ultimately the rest of India. Building on the success of applying Auroville’s experience in the Adyar Poonga, IRD seeks to provide socio-economic empowerment, environmental awareness and transformative values. We urge all Auroville groups and relevant Indian authorities to support and collaborate with this important initiative.
Auroville has been making progress and experimenting with innovative solutions over time in accordance with the principles of the Charter and the Mother’s ideals. This collective transformation is demanding and difficult.
Time and again we have brought up the importance of effective governance. That means making and enforcing decisions, having checks and balances and an appeals process to correct poorly constructed or unjust solutions.
As Auroville matures and expands transparency of governance and finances must be standard operating procedure in all levels of Auroville. Every individual and business must do their best to comply with the highest ideals and practical action, such as complying with 1/3 donation of profits to the Unity Fund. We were concerned to learn that many are not complying.
Farewell from this IAC
In our hearts, Aurovilians we became and Aurovilians we remain. We all feel we have gained more than we have given.
Mark Tully Doudou Diene Marc Luyckx Ghisi Vishaka Desai Julian Lines
24th IAC mtng AVI letter Sept12.docx (395.13 KB)
24th IAC mtng AVI letter addendumSept12.docx (18.37 KB)