Q. How do people come to Auroville?
A. Mostly, people
hear about Auroville through friends or by way of press articles, videos,
films or TV programmes in their country of origin. They then usually
write for more information, or come for a visit. If they are convinced
that it is a project they want to be directly involved in and contribute
to, they then contact the Entry Group and begin the process of joining.
Q. Can anyone join Auroville?
A. Yes, provided
they come with the right motivation. There is no discrimination against
applicants on the basis of nationality, race, creed, class, religious
background or other criteria. All initial applicants are treated equally.
However, if in course of discussions with the Entry Group, or resulting
from subsequently observed attitude or behaviour, it becomes apparent
that someone is not yet suited for life in Auroville, they will usually
be asked to wait for some time. Should this occur, they can re-apply
at a later date when they are more ready for or suited to the Auroville
Q. What is Auroville's relationship with the local villages?
A. Mostly it
is of a practical nature, based on work done by and with the villagers
within Auroville. On the whole there is a good relationship, with a
lot of mutual respect. Auroville is inextricably involved with the villages,
and knows that it cannot come up independently of them even if it wished
to, which is definitely not the case. Meanwhile, an understanding of
Auroville is steadily growing, specially among the younger generation.
Q. How do you resolve 'differences' or clashes within the community?
A. Many internal
problems are handled by the Executive Council, but there are also a
number of people skilled in conflict resolution who can be called in
when necessary. For differences affecting local villagers there is a
'Village Liaison Group'. Mostly it is friends or neighbours who involve
themselves in minor issues and try to settle them in an amicable way.
The use of law courts or referral to other outsiders is considered unacceptable
and to be avoided if possible.
A. Yes, but
this should not be seen as necessarily a bad thing or a problem needing
to be solved.
Q. Is Auroville sometimes accused of being neo-colonialist?
A. Very rarely;
mostly by Westerners who know little about Auroville and how it functions,
and equally little about the colonial era. For points to be considered
in this context click here.
Q. Do you all get on well together?
A. On the whole,
yes, but of course we have our differences from time to time, just like
human beings anywhere. We try to avoid letting any issue seriously divide
us, and take conscious steps to resolve them amicably when they arise,
by way of 'conflict resolution' specialists or a collective meeting.
The 'glue' which ultimately binds us all together and helps us over-ride
such differences is always our shared aspiration to realise the ideal
of Auroville together. Meanwhile, a good dose of humour helps us to
get along as well.
Q. Do you run yoga courses in Auroville?
A. In Auroville,
the word 'yoga' invariably refers to Sri Aurobindo's Integral Yoga.
On this particular yoga, occasional courses or classes are given at
Savitri Bhavan in the centre of the township.
As for 'hatha yoga', regular classes are given in places like Quiet
and Pitanga Hall, which are open to all Aurovilians and Newcomers, plus
guests and visitors on payment of a cash contribution (subject to number
limitations). From time to time more intensive study weeks are organised.
Q. Do you have inter-racial problems in Auroville?
A. No. The few
problems which arise from time to time involving Westerners and the
local Tamil people have nothing to do with racial differences. They
invariably occur on issues which arise within any normal society, such
as misunderstanding, land trespass, non-payment of monies due, failure
to deliver goods or do work correctly, unacceptable behaviour, etc.
Q. Do you have any old people in Auroville?
A. Yes, there
are at least 15 people over 70, the oldest currently being in their
80s. They continue to work and be active within the community, and are
widely respected and appreciated by their fellow Aurovilians. There
are no 'old people's homes' in Auroville, nor are any planned as matters
Q. How do you take care of your terminal cases?
A. The Auroville
Health Centre has an in-patient facility which allows seriously ill
or terminal cases to be professionally cared for within the community,
though a lot of the caring and help needed is provided by fellow Aurovilians
who are friends or who feel drawn to support the person concerned.
On the demise of an Aurovilian, every effort is made to keep their remains
in Auroville, whether in the form of ashes after cremation or by way
of burial in an area allocated for this purpose in the settlement of
Q. Can one e-mail in Auroville?
A. Yes, there
are public facilities at the Solar Kitchen and the Kuilyapalayam Browsing
Centre, a large new building near the Auroville Health Centre.
Q. Do people marry in Auroville?
is free in Auroville to follow their own inclinations. Many people come
as married couples, of course, but also residents from time to time
decide to get married. This is certainly more common among Tamil Aurovilians,
whose culture is strongly oriented towards marriage and traditionally
places a stigma on any other form of relationship.