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Auroville Today
Current issue Archive copies Auroville Experience

 

Archives from 2010 to 2011

 

December 2011
 

In the early years of Auroville, all the energy of its inhabitants went into establishing a foothold on this laterite plain.
Today, however, more and more Aurovilians are going out and sharing the skills and experience they have accumulated here with the rest of India. One example is the Adyar Poonga project which brought together many Aurovilians to restore a degraded estuary in Chennai [see Auroville Today January, 2011, no. 259]. Another example is the restoration of Tranquebar, now called Tharangambadi, a small town on the Tamil Nadu coast about 120 km south of Pondicherry. Its name means “place of the singing waves”.

Tranquebar was founded by the Danish East India Company in 1620. In 1846, after 225 years of Danish rule, the colony was sold to the British. Tranquebar was then still a busy port but it lost its importance when, in 1861, a railway line was opened to Nagapattinam and commerce slowed down. The town fell into a dormant state, and its historic part went into a steady decline with traditional heritage buildings being modified beyond recognition or falling into disrepair.

This situation started to change when, in 2002, the Neemrana group of hotels, which had bought a bungalow on the seaside, asked Auroville architects Ajit and Ratna to
renovate it. It became The Bungalow on the Beach, a five star heritage hotel.
But the major change came after 26 December 2004, when the tsunami struck. It killed nearly 800 people and flattened the adjoining fishing village north of Tranquebar. In its aftermath, a number of NGOs stepped in to provide disaster-relief. One of them was the Danish Bestseller Fund, which was also interested in restoring a number of old Danish heritage buildings. It contacted the Pondicherry branch of INTACH (Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage). As Ajit is the local INTACH coordinator, this led to more and more Aurovilians becoming involved in restoring and beautifying this historic town.

Much of the initial work has now been completed. In this issue we present the work which has been done to showcase what can be achieved when people work together to restore life and beauty to a place which was in decline.

We interview Ajit and Das, who were responsible for the architectural work; Torkil from the Bestseller Foundation, which funded many of the projects; Walter, who was in charge of the planting a beach forest along the sea and for planting trees along the roads; Nevi, who built a public parc; ‘Coffee’ Marc who helped develop the food sector in Tranquebar; “Thambusamy who manges Tranquebar’s solid waste programme; and Mandakini from Upasana who gave shape to the Tranquebar Crafts Resource Centre.

A second topic of this issue deals with the new Auroville library. Architect Suhasini reflects on the questions “why are there so many Indian women architects in Auroville”; and we give the population statistics and information on the growing number of volunteers in Auroville.

Another article in this issue deals with small wind generators in Auroville. Is there a future for them?

Lastly, we publish we present obituaries of Huta and Anna Maria.

The pdf.files of this issue can be downloaded here.
We wish you happy reading.

 

November 2011

The main issue of the November 2011 issue of Auroville Today is the Auroville Film Festival 2011 felt like a carnival came to town. Men, women and children swarmed the parking lot of Bharat Nivas, laughing and chatting. They lost themselves in food or computers at Café le Morgan before ducking into darkened rooms in Town Hall or climbing to the sunny roof of La Terrace. Some ventured as far as Sadhana Forest. They all were on a scavenger hunt, following pictures of two lovingly intertwined orange carrots across Auroville. Their treasure? One hundred twenty and one films, documentaries and shorts that comprised the 2011 Auroville Film Festival.

A second topic of this issue deals with beauty and design in Auroville. PRISMA has just published a new book titled Auroville Form, Style and Design. The book, which contains many photos by John Mandeen, is the brainchild of Franz, who explains how it came into being and what it’s about. But over the years, the tendency in terms of Auroville architecture, design and, come to think of it, almost everything in our community life, seems to be towards functionalism and cost-effectiveness rather than refinement and beauty…

The issue’s third major topic is an increasingly important issue: that another housing crisis is coming up and that there are hardly any options for those wishing to join Auroville today. A possible solution is the introduction of the category of ‘Potential Newcomer’, a person who is living outside Auroville and who wants to join Auroville as a Newcomer as soon as a house or apartment in Auroville is ready for them to avoid having to live in rented rooms in the surrounding villages.

In the section ‘Building the City’ we also report on a lorry cartel which has blocked work on a new stretch of the Crown Road, threatening the workers with violence if the management would not accept their demands, and how Auroville dealt with the ensuing crisis.

In the section ‘Organisation’ we publish an interview with Elvira, a member of the Residents’ Assembly Service which has announced that it would like to experiment with making consensus the default option for community decision-making. Elvira has wide knowledge and experience of this process.

In the section ‘Services’ we publish an article about two new units, AV Dzines & AV Spirit, as they have rechristened themselves from the formerly graphic section of Auroville’s Future. Who are these men and how do they function? “Pure hard work with dedication, armed with humility, simplicity and teamwork,” is the answer.

Then there was a meeting of Auroville International which, for the second time in its history, took place on the African continent, this time in Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia. We publish a report on the meetings and activities.

We also publish a reflection by Bindu on sitting in a restaurant enjoying a coffee and a bun while outside, with just a plate of glass separating them, there was a ragged boy, no more than 8 years old, in a red-checked shirt half-open, torn trousers and bare feet, gesturing that he was hungry…

Lastly, we publish the obituaries of Mia Berden, Tatiana Duz and Myriam Brettman.

The pdf.files of this issue can be downloaded here. We wish you happy reading. Subscribe if you want to read more, or ask for a free copy. Details are elsewhere on this web page. Subscriptions can now also be ordered and paid on line through www.auroville.com/auroville-today.

Full issue in .pdf format is downloadable.

 

October 2011

What happened to humour? In a community which, in its yawning gap between ideals and reality, seems tailor-made for cartoonists and satirists, very few are sharpening their brushes or pens. Why? Are Aurovilians a particularly humourless lot? “Is it because we forget that humour is the salt of life?” wonders Emanuele. “We take ourselves far too seriously!” says Johnny. “We have lost the lightness of the early years,” agrees artist Pierre Legrand. “Don’t laugh! It’s Auroville!” warn the Auroville performers. “But too much seriousness can kill you,” says cartoonist Charu. In this issue we take a serious look at a serious issue.

In the section ‘commercial units, we portray EcoTeco Pools, an Auroville unit that designs and builds swimming pools, the new Indian style statement, and Tanto, Auroville’s ‘original Italian’ pizzeria which serves just everybody.

And then its about sports. We report about Auroville’s young life-savers, 15 Auroville children who participated in the Life-Saving Swimming Competition in Trivandrum, and even won medals!

In the section Profiles we introduce Newcomers Muriel, from Belgium, and Antim, who hails from a Rajasthani Jain family from India.

And from around Auroville we report on Auroville’s Ganesh temple nearby the National Highway Pondicherry-Tindivanam where Ganesh Chaturthi, the birthday of Lord Ganesh, was as usual celebrated on September 1st. We also publish an impression of the work done by the Auroville Health Centre in one of its sub centres in a nearby village.

In the section ‘Art’ we publish about a new initiative, ‘Art On Sunday’, a meeting place in Petite Ferme where all those who regard art as an important ingredient of life can come together.

Lastly there is the announcement of new books and calendars. Evolution, Religion and the Unknown God by Georges van Vrekhem has been published by Amaryllis India. The Integral Human Existence in the words of Sri Aurobindo and The Mother is a compilation published by the Sri Aurobindo Centre for Indian Studies, Auroville. PRISMA has published Auroville farms, forest and botanical gardens covering Auroville’s farming and greenwork. And the Matrimandir Calendar 2012 and Auroville Planner 2012 are now available.

The pdf.files of this issue can be downloaded here:

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Full issue in .pdf format is also downloadable.

September 2011

In the early 2008, film makers Doris and Francis began collecting footage for a new Auroville video project called ‘The Children of Auroville’. Focussing on Aurovilians who had been born here or had come here as children in the early days, they conducted 60 interviews. In 2009 the first video in the series, ‘Early Education’, was released.
Recently, the second video, ‘Here and Now’, was shown to a packed Cinema Paradiso. “They’re a different breed!”, said Francis.
The films have generated a lot of discussion. This issue of Auroville Today carries an interview with Doris and Francis, and a review of the two films.

Auroville’s organization is very much in the news again as the community discusses how to select a new Working Committee and Council. In this section we write about Auroville’s methods of decision-making, which are generally experienced as cumbersome. But they may have more sense to them than is normally assumed. They are the topic of the doctoral dissertation of Stuart Leard who opines that Auroville’s system of collective decision-making is a major achievement.

In another article on Auroville’s internal organisation, five long-term Aurovilians who have been in major working groups or who have studied Auroville’s organization, share their thoughts. They agree that it’s time for change.

Living a double life is the topic for reflection by Alan. “When, in the early morning, I sit on my terrace reading Sri Aurobindo or Mother, I swim in vast seas. However, when the daily buzzer sounds I slide seamlessly into another mode where mind, liberally mixed with emotions, is king. Do others too live this split existence?”

In the section ‘food and agriculture’ we report on the Five Year Sustainable Agriculture Plan which has just been published. In brief, sustainable organic agriculture can become a reality in Auroville if we change food habits, invest in existing and new farms and have a wider participation of residents in the food and agriculture sector of Auroville.

In the section joining Auroville we publish excerpts of the informative and thought-provoking annual report of the Entry Service.

And then its about sports. We profile Savitri, an American/French woman who first came to Auroville in 1972. When she returned in 1991, she became the moving force behind the New Creation sports ground campus. And there is an article about Surf, a new passion amongst many of Auroville’s youth.

In the section ‘Self-supporting services’, we publish an article about Auzolan, a unit which is active in construction in Auroville and which has created some innovative building materials. We also report about the work of the Auroville Community Transport team which provides Auroville with a choice of 14 journeys to Pondicherry by bus each week.

And finally, there is a lot of news in brief.
The pdf.files of this issue can be downloaded here.
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We wish you happy reading.


August 2011

For almost 30 years, Auroville Village Action has been working in the surrounding villages, focusing on empowering men and women and on promoting the social, economic, psychological and environmental transformation of the villages. Their main instrument are the Self-Help Groups (SGHs). Today, AVAG works with 3,726 women organised in 197 Women SHGs, and with 701 men in 42 Men SHGs. They cover 80 villages and dalit hamlets with a combined population of 90,000 people.

Amongst the most successful projects of Auroville Village Action (AVAG) are the micro-credits given from its corpus fund, which have proven to be an excellent way to improve the lives of the rural poor. The corpus fund now needs to be enlarged with at least Rs 10 million (about €160,000). The possibility to do has come with the help of the VFAVR (Verein zur Förderung der Auroville Region – Association for the Promotion of the Auroville Region) a sister organisation of Auroville International Germany. The German Federal Ministry for Economic Co-operation and Development (BMZ) may donate Rs 7,5 million (about €120,000) if AVAG and VFAVR together contribute Rs 2,5 million (about €40,000). A fund raising campaign has started to raise the €40,000.

An issue of serious concern is that private developments are occurring in the Auroville Greenbelt. Can it be saved? “We can,” says new Auroville Today editor Catherine. “We can save the Greenbelt . “As long as we believe it. As long as we want to. As long as we put our energy into it.”

In the section ‘education' we report on a pilot project ‘Be true, – not violent', aiming at teaching children awareness of patterns of violence and how to deal creatively with them. The project, based on the book “Be True – Not Violent” written by Rita Erben and Astrid Kummer, is being introduced in three Auroville schools.

Another work at resolving conflict is the project “Restorative Circles.” This technique is about living non-violence and learning about processes that help communities create cooperation and harmony. It is being introduced by L'aura Joy and Jason to a group of Aurovilians meeting weekly to practice the skills with the possible intention of one day creating a restorative justice system in Auroville.

In the surrounding villages, a project has started called Heal the Soil, (HTS) a Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA) project. The idea is to teach the villagers to design, implement and maintain kitchen gardens using the methods of permaculture farming.

In the section ‘reflections', Alan explores “the Auroville thought-field.” “Over the past 44 years,” he writes, “the personalities and experiences of individual Aurovilians along with the experiences of the community as a whole have created a kind of collective thought-field which profoundly influences the way many of us approach issues. This thought-field is all the more potent because it is largely unacknowledged and, therefore, unexamined…what is striking is that, whatever the issue we are dealing with as a collective, certain attitudes and reactions to these attitudes tend to surface, and it is these, rather than any specific proposals being made regarding housing, the economy or whatever, which often constitute the real ground of our debates.”

In the section ‘passings' we publish the obituaries of Bhavana, Shyam Sunder Jhunjhunwala and Amal Kiran, as well as of Mark Reuters, Indra Poddar, Alamelu and baby Cassius.

In the section ‘alternative economy' we report about ‘The Anonymous Goodwill Conspiracy.” Have you ever felt like giving someone you know something they need, anonymously?

The last article in this issue is a portrait of Jesse who talks about growing up in New Zealand and Auroville, studying and working in Australia and then coming back to Auroville for good. “My plan was to arrive with a 100% positive approach – I would give, give, give, and if that wasn't appreciated, leave and never come back.”

The pdf.files of this issue can be downloaded here. We wish you happy reading.

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May June July 2011

The main topic of the 12-page May-June-July issue of Auroville Today is the development of the Matrimandir Gardens and its Nursery. How did it all start? Richard Eggenberger (Narad) reminiscences about his life and his beginning the Matrimandir Nursery in the early 1970s, at The Mother's request. In another article Tina, who is now in charge of the Nursery, talks about how the Nursery supplies the needs of the Matrimandir Gardens that are now manifesting. Two other articles describe what it means to find pebbles for the Garden of Existence, and how the Garden of Consciousness is slowly being manifested.

In the section ‘International Zone' we publish an interview with Soleil Lithman, who introduced the Hladina Method to Auroville some years ago, and Wolfgang Schmidt-Reinecke, ex-chairman of Auroville International and Auroville International Germany. They have been facilitators of a workshop entitled ‘Aligning one's soul with the soul of your nation' which was held in March this year. We also publish ‘Thoughts on the International Zone' by Sonia Dyne, who has been active in Auroville International for many years and is a frequent visitor to Auroville.

In the USA , Matagiri has been a key centre of the Integral Yoga for many years, hosting many Aurovilians, Ashramites and other seekers for retreats and seminars. Established in 1968 by Sam Spanier and Eric Hughes, it covers 42 acres of the Catskill Mountains near Woodstock , NY . Now there are plans to extend the facilities. In an interview, Julian and Wendy Lines, who have been stewards of the center for the past 15 years, talk about Matagiri's past, present and future.

Over thirty five years ago in America , women started to stand up and speak out against sexual violence and harassment under the banner of ‘Take Back the Night'. During those years, Take Back the Night became known internationally as a visible way to take a stand against sexual violence, specifically violence against women.
Recently, Irene, a long term guest and friend of Auroville and the Women's Safety Task Force (WSTF) of Auroville Health Services (AVHS), organized such an event for the first time in Auroville. It was a response to the increased cases of harassment and violence towards women in and around Auroville. Elaine reports.

Another topic in this issue is mobility management in the city. In March, Karl-Heinz Posch, an Austrian mobility planner who is Coordinator of the European Platform on Mobility Management, ran a one week workshop on traffic and mobility issues in Auroville. A few days later he summarised the process and outcome of the workshop for interested Aurovilians. We publish some of the main points as well as an interview with Aurovilians David, Gillian and Suhasini who have all been actively engaged with mobility and related urban planning issues for many years.

In the section housing we report on the housing developments in Surrender and Realization communities. In Surrender, André Hababou, one of the first settlers in Auroville, is busy building the last apartment houses together with French Aurovilian Bertrand and Indian newcomer Sindhuja.
In Realization, French Aurovilian Satprem, reputed for his Stabilised Earth Block houses, is about midway building 17 apartments, five of which will be receiving cool air from Realization's technical innovation, its earth tunnel.

Another development in housing is the Transit Lounge. On Friday April 15th, Auroville architects and developers presented their ideas for dismantleable houses for Auroville which could be located on a site near Courage. With an estimated lifetime of 10 years, the Transit Lounge would provide almost immediate housing for all Newcomers or Aurovilians who are now waiting for permanent housing.

Not all houses that come up in Auroville are part of Auroville. In Auromodèle community, for example, house construction started on a piece of land adjacent to the cluster of houses designed in the style of Roger Anger. More constructions are rumoured to be taking off there soon and there are fears that the design of the new structures may not be in harmony with the Roger's concepts. This article describes why Auromodèle came into existence, and what its purpose was.

In the section ‘commercial units' we report on ‘Vanaville', a unit run by Arun, Renuka and Michel that produces boxes and packaging materials and also specialises in bookbinding, using leather and silk. Another article deals with PRISMA, a commercial unit which does graphic design, photography, text editing and Desk Top Publishing (DTP) work, as well as the printing of books and brochures.

In the section ‘profiles' we introduce Manickam, who now is working for the Road Service. The article also gives information on the ongoing and planned road development works.

This issue carries three articles about Auroville organisation. In ‘The Auroville Foundation – a review', former Working Committee member Sanjeev presents his views on the functioning of the various bodies of the Auroville Foundation. We also publish the self-appraisals over the past two years of the Working Committee and Auroville Council, whose term of office ends on June 22nd.

The pdf.files of this issue can be downloaded here. We wish you happy reading.

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Page 8 - Page 9 - Page 10 - Page 11 - Page 12

 

 

April 2011

On the 14th March, 1971, the excavation began for the foundation of the Matrimandir. Mother sent the following message for the occasion: La fraternité de la collaboration. L'aspiration vers l'Unité dans la joie et la Lumière. Bénédictions. (The fraternity of collaboration. The aspiration towards Unity and joy and Light. Blessings.) In this issue of Auroville Today, we present some Aurovilians' memories of the excavation work.

Another topic in this issue is the planned new rail link between Chennai and Cuddalore which could pass in the vicinity of Auroville. One proposed route would initially pass behind the Pondicherry University campus and skirt the eastern edge of Auroville's greenbelt. The other route would see it pass through Kalapet before arcing to the west of Auroville through Sedarapet and on to Pondicherry . The eastern of these two routes would clearly disadvantage Auroville much more as the line would cut easy access to the East Coast Road and the sea as well as bringing noise and disruption to the very edge of the greenbelt.

In the section ‘workshops' we publish a report on a one- day workshop in Vérité's Integral Learning Centre introducing Telos, an approach to making Integral Yoga accessible and experiential in everyday life.

The middle pages of this issue are dedicated to housing development. In our May 2009 issue # 243, we reported on the start of five collective housing projects, three in the Residential Zone – Arati III, Realization and Luminosity – and two – Citadines and Inspiration (earlier called Joy) – in the City Centre. Now, almost two years later, Citadines, Inspiration, Luminosity and part of Maitreye phase 1 have been completed or almost so. For this issue we talked to architect Sonali, who designed Citadines, Inspiration and Maitreye, and to project holder Nadja, who was part of the team which manifested Luminosity, and asked them about their experience. We also interviewed Alok Mallick, who designed and built a bamboo-reinforced house in Adventure community in an attempt to demonstrate that low-cost high-quality building is feasible.

In the section ‘unknown Auroville' we report on the Martuvam Healing Forest, a healing and education project for the villagers which has been running in an Auroville settlement in Annainagar, near Alankuppam village for the past eight years. It has an extensive herbal garden with over 200 medical plants.

Another garden, a cacti garden, is being developed on half an acre in the Botanical Garden. Not all cacti, however, enjoy the hot and humid climate of Auroville.

In the section ‘Nutrition research' we report about the opening on 21st February of Auroville's first raw vegan food restaurant, Satchitananda, located nearby the Kottakarai Organic Food Processing Unit. Live food, says the expert, activates everything. “All your senses become sharper, more refined, your digestion and elimination improve, you have more energy and feel light and agile, you need less sleep and your hair grows better as the food is so rich in minerals.”

The pdf.files of this issue can be downloaded here:
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March 2011

Communication between our major working groups and the rest of the community is frequently insufficient and sometimes non-existent. Some of our major working groups have been accused of withholding information or of presenting the community with faits accomplis. The frustration expressed by many people over these issues is exacerbated by the fact that many working groups do not publish regular reports or hold regular public information meetings, and that emails sent to them are frequently not acknowledged. Why is this? And what can be done about it? Alan investigates.

While communication in Auroville may be a problem, it certainly isn't' in the villages where mobile phones have become an integrated part of daily life, transcending classes and education levels, particularly amongst the youth. Read more in Lesley article ‘New communications in the villages'.

In the section ‘health care' we publish a report on a three day workshop at Arka to learn about end of life care. The workshop covered issues such as pain management, grieving and dying. Forty-three people participated.

In the section ‘economy' we deal with a worrying issue, the fact that City Services cannot pay sufficient maintenance to all those who work for it. Auroville Today asked Divya and Lyle, two of its members, for an update. We also provide an insight in what it means to run one of the 45 official guesthouses in Auroville. In mid-February, all the beds are taken. But more guesthouses are needed as more guests visit Auroville each year.

In the section ‘sports' we report on the Auroville Marathon 2011 which was run on 13th February. Around 1400 runners took part; about 25 from Auroville, 35 from the Ashram, 80 from the surrounding villages and around 1250 from the rest of India, including many from running clubs in Chennai and Bangalore. 283 runners completed the full 42 kilometres course. They included three Aurovilians, Andy, Balaji and Paul.

In the section ‘education' we publish an article on the work done at the Life Education Centre (LEC), which was set up to teach vocational skills to young women from the surrounding villages. The Centre, moreover, functions as a therapeutic learning environment allowing the women to come into closer contact with themselves and each other in dealing with life's problems. But over the years, the number of students has dropped, which is in fact a positive development. Nowadays LEC encourages the students to go for higher education. The LEC is also looking for work opportunities for them in Auroville, such as in homecare.”

Another article in this section reports on what it means to train 150 women in a traditional male work area, that of a mason. The 45-day masonry training course was done by the Auroville Institute of Applied Technology.

Then there were the festivals. Auroville celebrated its first Lively Up Your Earth Eco-Music Festival at Solitude Farm on 29th January from 10am till 1a.m. the following day. Probably 1,000 folk wandered through the stalls, drank coconut milk, ate organic chocolate biscuits then collapsed on a chair under the shamania to listen to a band.

The last topic in this issue of Auroville Today is the exhibition of ‘sound instruments' at the Pavilion of Tibetan Culture, which highlighted the achievements of eight years of craft development at Svaram workshop. Austrian-born Aurovilian Aurelio is the man behind the venture. Auroville Today asked him about the background to this work and his search for ‘the Auroville Sound.'

 


February 2011

Some Aurovilians have described Auroville Today as being relentlessly upbeat in its coverage of the community. And they don't necessarily mean this as a compliment.

However, while it is true that we enjoy celebrating interesting individuals and successful projects, we have not shied away from criticising shortcomings in our community functioning when we felt it was necessary. Such shortcomings can be the result of poor communication or lack of resources. But when we dig deeper, very often we find that the core of the problem is the inability of people who share a certain work or responsibility to work harmoniously together.

Nobody pretended that an “actual human unity” would be easy to achieve, particularly when the Auroville laboratory is made up of such an assortment of individuals and cultures. That's why, in this 10-page Auroville birthday issue, we try to shed some light on why unity is so important and how the difficulties can be surmounted, while celebrating (yes, we can't break the habit) one of the more successful examples of people working together in pursuit of a common vision.

We feature an article Richard Hartz, one of the researchers of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram Archives, who writes about The Global Age and the Auroville Experiment. In the article he discusses about how attempts at a dynamic spirituality that grapple collectively with the complexities of contemporary life confront inner and outer difficulties – in the Sri Aurobindo Ashram as well as in Auroville. In the article ‘ Can Mother be updated? ' Alan discussed the seeming taboos in addressing topical issues that might involve translating some of what Mother said about Auroville in the past into the realities of today: is ‘updating' Mother' an acceptable option?
A third article about ‘working together' deals with the work of the Quiet Healing Centre which is managed by a small core group. They function well together, the say, “because there's a lot of love and respect in this group.”

In the section ‘reflections' we publish the views of International Advisory Council member Dr. Marc Luyckx Ghisi on ‘ Auroville and the world crisis' in which he reflects on the global situation, Auroville and on his personal growth. His views ‘about a world collapsing' are not shared by his fellow Council member Dr. Doudou Diène, who rather prefers to speak about ‘a world that it is transforming.'

In the section ‘International Zone' an article ‘ Developing the International Zone' features an exhibition on the International Zone and the blessing ceremony of the African Pavilion, which were amongst others attended by the chairman and members of the Governing Board Member, members of the International Advisory Council and Mr. Shimelis Adugna, a former Minister from Ethiopia.

In the section ‘education' we publish an article on a Vedanta retreat led by Partho who told the students about the aim of Vedanta and guided them in the process of self-discovery. “The aim of Vedanta is to get the mind to attain silence as only a silent mind can reveal truths already known to us. Vedanta emphasizes the finding of the Self within. The only valid practice is sustained self-enquiry into the nature of the Self and the teacher will initiate and guide you in that direction.”

The lack of housing in Auroville is the subject of an interview with Joseba and Volker of the Housing Service. “We want Auroville to build 350 apartments for families, couples and singles. We propose that 200 of these will be funded by the people themselves and that for 150 of these units Auroville seeks the money: 50 units are intended for people with no money, such as youngsters; 50 are Newcomer units to lodge Newcomers for one or two years while they plan their permanent house; and another 50 units will be made available against a monthly contribution,” says Joseba. He also explains how Auroville could raise the money to make this development possible. Volker, in turn, talks about the difficulties of maintaining Auroville's housing assets. “We can only do patchwork,” he says, in talking about the difficulties to upgrade ‘sub-standard' housing. Regarding maintaining houses, he observes that “quite a few communities are getting run down; many houses badly need painting, which the people cannot afford from their monthly maintenance –but the Housing Service has no sufficient budget we do not have the money to take this up.”

Aurovilians involved in education have long spoken of the need to help youth from Auroville and from the nearby villages in pursueing higher education. Recently two scholarship funds have been started: The Auroville Scholarship and Educational Fund to help Auroville youth; and a scholarship fund for village youth Reach for the Stars that aims at providing funds for talented but underprivileged village students to attend college.

Heritage architect Ajit talks about the 2010 Shanghai Expo with the theme, ‘ Better City – Better Life', where Auroville had a one-panel display in the India Pavilion. It led him to question some concepts of Auroville's galaxy plan. “Somehow, in Auroville, we think our city has to be new and extraordinary. We are the victims of ‘star architecture', the ‘stand-alone architecture' approach which has dominated architectural studies and practice since the Second World War, where architects always try to design fantastic stand-alone buildings. There are hundreds of beautifully-designed modern structures all over the world but not one single square kilometre of timeless architecture which takes your breath away like, say, Oxford in England. The beauty of a traditional city is that it's always a product of the land, it springs out of the local conditions and grows incrementally using a shared pattern language. I'm not saying that we have to abandon the Galaxy but we have to radically question it without fear.”

Jiyeah, like many Auroville youth, left Auroville to pursue higher education abroad, in her case in her native country Korea . She candidly writes about her experience of “leaving the so-safe-and-warm nest egg” and then “Boom! The world! Bam! It slaps you in the face! ...Or at least it slapped me.”

Visitor Lesley writes about three Auroville art exhibitions - Colourful Silence by Grazi and Nathalie, Mandala by Sarasija, Silk Life by former Aurovilian Diane Smith, and I Am Art by Celestine. “Much Auroville art shares an ethereal quality, a delicacy of execution, soft colours, and a focus on nature and otherworldly female images. Do Auroville artists broadly have a tendency towards certain artistic styles and themes, to the point where Auroville's collective art offerings start to become monochromatic?” she wonders.

It's also that time of year when we look back and see just how far Auroville is progressing in terms of counting heads. In the article Comparing statistics – Auroville Population 1999 – 2010 we look at the changes that have occurred over the last decade. Another short article is about how a waste yard in Chennai was transformed into a herbal park with the help of Pitchandikulam Forest Consultants

The last two articles of this issue deal with the production of Orfeo in India brought to Auroville by its Governing Board member Mallika Sarabhai. The Indian reconstruction of Orfeo is a collaboration between Dutch director Miranda Lakerveld of Les Autres Music Theatre , Amsterdam , with Indian choreographer Mallika Sarabhai of the Darpana Performance Group from Ahmadabad , and American-Dutch composer Ned McGowan. The object was to create a performance in which European and Indian musicians, singers and dancers would be equally involved. In an interview American/Dutch composer Ned McGowan described his work for this production: finding which European classical instruments could be used in India; how European and Carnatic musicians could play together in harmony; which sections of the original score could be played by whom and in which combination; and what additional music must be composed to make it all fit together.

The pdf.files of this issue can be downloaded here:
Page 1 - Page 2 - Page 3 - Page 4 - Page 5 - Page 6 - Page 7 - Page 8 -
Page 9 - Page 10

 

January 2011

On January 22, 2011, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi inaugurated the 58-acre Adyar Eco Park in Chennai and named it the Tholkappiya Poonga, after Tholkappiyar, the author of the Tamil grammar treatise Tholkappiyam. The park, which will be open to the public on February 15, was realised by Auroville's Pitchandikulam Forest Consultants. In this issue of Auroville Today we feature the remarkable achievement of transforming a dumpsite into Chennai's green lung.

A second main article deals with the Matrimandir Lake. In September 2008, L'Avenir d'Auroville published in the Auroville News and Notes its intention to give site approval for a Matrimandir Test Pond. It described it as a research project to find out how a lake can be constructed in accordance with the parameters laid down by Roger Anger and causing minimum environmental damage. What has happened since then?

The issue of water supply in the surrounding villages is an ongoing concern. Against a background of villagers complaining that the government does not look after their water needs, Auroville's unit Water Harvest is implementing a large water and waste project in three villages, with ‘people's participation'. The results are mixed.

For Auroville's own water supply, yet another Water Task Force has been appointed by L'Avenir d'Auroville. However, already more than 10 studies have been executed on the issue and a massive amount of information is already available …

In the section economy we publish an interview with Professor Emeritus Dr. Henk Thomas from The Netherlands and Chartered Accountant Manuel Thomas from Chennai on their forthcoming monograph on 40 years Auroville economy, the result of almost 12 years of research into the development of the Auroville economy from1968 till 2008, which will be published this year.

Another article dealing with the Auroville economy is about the introduction of the Aurocard, a credit-card size smart card that will gradually replace the guest card and guest account which have been used for many years.

In the section ‘references' Alan talks about the pressing need that antagonistic and mutually exclusive approaches be harmonized, where each can comprehend the truth of the other. This requires the courage to abandon dogma and embark upon individual journeys of inner discovery…

In the section ‘profiles' we feature an interview with Kathy, who talks about her life in building community.

The shorter articles in this issue deal with the rainfall 2010 (this has been the wettest monsoon season in twenty years with the number of rainy days being 100% above average); the 3rd place award for Sadhana Forest at the 2010 International Humanitarian Water and Food Awards (HWFA) for their ongoing sustainability project in the Auroville Bioregion; and the CRIPA (Centre for Research in the Performing Arts) building in the Cultural Zone, which is scheduled to be completed in early 2011.

The pdf.files of this issue can be downloaded here:

Page 1 - Page 2 - Page 3 - Page 4&5 - Page 6 - Page 7 - Page 8

 

December 2010

Development challenges for Auroville are the main theme of the December 2010 issue of Auroville Today. South of Auroville is the Pondicherry overspill, from the west are the expanding industrial areas, to the north there is village expansion and to the east the roads linking Pondicherry to Chennai are major magnets for development. What can be done about it, if anything? And what can be done about development threats within Auroville? On this issue, also the International Advisory Council and the Governing Board of the Auroville Foundation expressed concerns: “There is a need to acquire all lands for the city area,” said Dr. Karan Singh, “either by way of land purchase, or through initiating acquisition proceedings. This has the highest priority.”

Another challenge is the un-checked coastal erosion, which has now caused the compound wall of Quiet healing centre to crumble into the sea. What is being done to health this man-made disaster?

Six articles in the section ‘business' deal with Auroville's commercial units. Auroville has a reputation in India and abroad for the quality of its craft products. Auroville Today randomly selected 6 of it's over 200 commercial units and asked them about their way of doing business. Aiming at quality and striving for excellence, it emerges, are indeed prime motivations.

In the section ‘sports' we bring three articles: About participating in the Mountain Bike Himachal Pradesh event – and winning the first prize in the Masters category; about roller- blading on the roads of Auroville; and about horse riding at the Red Earth Riding School.

In the section ‘culture' you'll find a review of the theater performance ‘Savitri: a soul for any age,” by students from Udavi school. In the section ‘Reflections' Alan contemplates on Mother's words “ The city shall be built by what is invisible to you. The men who have to act as instrument will do so despite themselves. They are only puppets in the hands of larger forces. Nothing depends on human beings – neither the planning nor the execution – nothing. That's why one can laugh .” So, can puppets become collaborators?

The last article of this issue deals with the attempts of the International House in the International Zone (formerly known as the US Student's dormitory built as the first phase of the USA pavilion in the International Zone) to utilize 90% recycled materials in its construction. These attempts take recycling to another level!

The pdf.files of this issue can be downloaded here:
Page 1 - Page 2 - Page 3 - Page 4-5 - Page 6 - Page 7 - Page 8

 

November 2010

For those adults who don't have teenagers of their own or who lack regular contact with Auroville teenagers, the youth of Auroville are something of an enigma. What are they really like? What are their preoccupations and their goals? What do they find to celebrate about this place and what frustrates them? And what is the nature of their relationship to Auroville? To find out more, Auroville Today spoke to two classes of 18 – 20 year olds at Future School . Some had joined Auroville relatively recently, but almost half of them were born in Auroville.
Are the youth losing faith in Auroville? Carissa J. Devine, a Fulbright-Nehru Research Scholar from the USA who did a research project on the Auroville youth, believes so and writes that ‘the youth are subject to despair, disconnection and frustration'. This opinion, however, is not shared. And if we look at what the current generation of young adults in Auroville are doing, we see that the majority of those who left Auroville for some time, be it for studies or work experience, came back and are now pioneering new communities and starting businesses and service units. None of them seem to have lost the faith.
Neither, for that matter, do the increasing numbers of volunteers that are visiting Auroville. AVIS, the Auroville Volunteers, Internships and Study programme reports about their experience: "Self-knowledge, growth, world of possibilities, surpassing myself, love vibration". "Very rich experience, in a new social, economic context". "I think Auroville is a university of the life"….. These are some words of volunteers and students when asked to define their experience in Auroville.
In this issue we also report about a new development at the Matrimandir, where the colour in the meditation chambers in the petals is being changed. In 2002, the chambers were painted in pure, strong colours ‘to create a colour bath,' an ‘immersion in colour'. Now the rooms are re-painted pristine white and LED modules are used to create the required colour. The result? “It is ethereal, another world.”
In the section ‘Education' we report on the Children's Land, a two and half acres educational project at Sadhana Forest , which is planted by children from Auroville and from the surrounding villages.
In the section ‘Business' we report on the work of two youngsters from Auroville, Manju and Balu, who set-up their own business units.
In the section ‘Profiles' we report on Uriel from France who wants to create a Media and Communication Centre in Auroville where Aurovilians and students from Tamil Nadu can obtain degrees in computer technology. We also give a portrait of Jo, a trained practitioner in the Chinese tradition of acupressure, who gives ten minute massages at the Town Hall ‘to offset the negative energy all the people working there receive from frustrated Aurovilians.”
In the section ‘Spirituality' we publish an interview with Georges Van Vrekhem, the well-known author and exponent of Integral Yoga, who recently gave talks in Auroville's Town Hall and at Savitri Bhavan. To quote Georges, “Most Aurovilians are so deeply involved with their daily chores and problems that they often forget the greatness of that which they have chosen, or by which they have been chosen. I believe that in most people here there is what Sri Aurobindo called ‘the God-touch' and that is what matters. The enterprise, which has built a Matrimandir in its midst, is flourishing against all odds and under extremely difficult circumstances. Being the utopia of all utopias (divinization!), Auroville is still there and growing.”
Then there are the transport innovations. A new fraternal club has recently evolved in Auroville and its members wave in a slightly superior fashion as they meet and glide by on the road. They drive the Humvee, an electric motorbike designed and put together by Sukrit and Akash.
In the section ‘exhibitions' we report on Hu Hsu, the Chinese disciple of Sri Aurobindo and The Mother, whose paintings, calligraphy, photographs and collected works were shown in the Pavilion of Tibetan Culture.
Lastly, we report on the start of the fundraising for the fourth Peace Table. The late George Nakashima had a dream that “sacred peace tables” made of wood fashioned from two 300-year-old Eastern black walnut trees be placed in each of the seven continents as symbols of man's quest for peace. Three of these tables have now been installed - the Peace Table for North America in the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine in New York City ; the Peace Table for Europe in the Russian Academy of Art in Moscow ; and the Peace Table for Asia in Auroville. The Peace Table for Africa will go to the Desmond Tutu Peace Centre in Cape Town , South Africa

The pdf.files of this issue can be downloaded here:
Page 1 - Page 2 - Page 3 - Page 4 - Page 5 - Page 6 - Page 7 - Page 8

 

 

October 2010

‘Public Art' features as the main topic in the October 2010 issue of Auroville Today. “There is far too little public art in Auroville as yet. It would be a joy to see more Auroville art in public places, outside the galleries. For art speaks a language of its own, a language which brings us closer to the divine in many ways,” concludes Louise after an intensive search for public art. In another article, Krishna and Marco talk about the need for Auroville artists to collaborate. “We need to tease the people out of their holes,” says Marco. “We want people to start questioning. For instance: What does it mean to have culture? What is ‘culture' in Auroville? How can art play a leading role in the work here?”

Auroville Today also publishes the background and possible implications of an application filed in the Court in Pondicherry, seeking the leave of the Court to institute a suit against the Ashram Trust and its Trustees for committing a gross breach of trust by “instead of promoting Sri Aurobindo's tenets and philosophy … continue to harbour, defend and openly extend support to Mr. Peter Heehs, who authored ‘The Lives of Sri Aurobindo', a sacrilegious book ...” The article gives the arguments of the applicants as well as of those opposed to the suit who consider the arguments against Peter Heeh's book unfounded, and the suit as an attempt to replace the trustees, “ the balanced and judicious men who are long-time direct disciples of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother with ambitious figures….” Lastly, the article presents the views in Auroville and within Auroville International.

In the section ‘education' we publish an interview with Christine, who started the unit ‘Lilith', dedicated to giving apprenticeship courses in making dresses, underwear and swimwear, based on a professional German curriculum. The issue further reports on the work of the Learning Community, sometimes also referred to as “Johnny's Unschool”. We also publish an article on the revival of the Udhayam Educational and Cultural Centre in Ambedkar Nagar village, a night school.

In the section ‘environment' we report on the Auroville Botanical Gardens which celebrated its 10th anniversary. Ten years ago, the 50 acres of land on the outskirts of Edaiyanchavadi were earmarked for a large real estate development to be called ‘ Peaceful City '. Auroville succeeded in purchasing this vast barren plot, which had first been deforested and then surrounded by barbed wire. The enthusiastic plan to create a ‘living textbook of botany' was born.

The issue further reports on the World Bamboo Day and its exhibitions.

In the section ‘health' we report on a course in integrated clinical hypnotherapy, the basics and applications of hypnosis, which 25 Aurovilians, most of them therapists, are following. The course is conducted by Dr. Yuvraj Kapadia, of the California Hypnosis Institute of India.

Sharing Auroville knowledge and experience is the title of an article describing the work of Auroville Consulting, which, at the end of August, organized a three-day seminar on ‘green practices' in Auroville. It was attended by fifty professionals and students from all over India . “The idea behind Auroville Consulting is to generate funds for Auroville Collaborative, an attempt to get experts from outside Auroville to partner with Aurovilians in developing solutions to pressing needs in Auroville, like transportation, housing and communications, while Auroville expertise could help outside clients manifest their projects,” explained Raghu Kolli, one of the initiators.

In the section ‘sports' we report on an unusual activity in Auroville: golf – probably not the first thing that springs to mind when you think of Auroville. However, a few enthusiasts regularly hack their way round an improvised golf course on fields behind Edaiyanchavady village - negotiating the mulus, date palms, cows and numerous other natural hazards which characterize the area.

Lastly, we publish an interview with Shyam Sunder Jhunjhunwala, who The Mother appointed as her liaison with Auroville in 1971, on his interaction with The Mother on admitting persons to Auroville.

The pdf.files of this issue can be downloaded here:
Page 1 - Page 2 - Page 3 - Page 4 - Page 5 - Page 6 - Page 7 - Page 8

 

September 2010

The main topic in the September 2010 issue of Auroville Today is the Galaxy Plan. On 9th August more than 120 residents of Auroville met with the new team of L'Avenir d'Auroville, Auroville's Town Planning service. In that meeting Pierre Legrand, one of the new members, presented his discovery, decoding the galaxy' . The issue further contains there views on the relevance of the Galaxy Plan today.
In the article ‘ The next step in Auroville's development? ' Alon and Batel describe the work done in the ‘Integrated Sustainability Platform (ISP),' which involved over 120 Aurovilians, an attempt to help Auroville better utilise its existing resources through collaborative planning.
New commercial ventures focus in the article ‘ Natures' Sweet Gift,' describing the work of 63-year old Siegfried, whose unit ‘Nature's Gift' produces jam. At another page Abha talks about the past and future of her unit Shradhanjali, which turned 30 this year. The issue also features an article about Prisma's new product, a box with two sets of cards with pictures of flowers with Mother's name written underneath. This yoga of flowers is a very simple way to discover one's soul qualities. In the section ‘profile' we meet Lakshman, the caretaker of the Town Hall.
In the section ‘services' we publish an interview with three members of the new Entry Service, which started in November 2009. For the first few months the new team was busy examining how they wished to function; they also processed a large backlog of applicants and Newcomers. In this section we also publish a report the Seniors Helping Seniors (SHS) group, which was formed to address the growing concerns and changing needs of the elders in the community.
In the section ‘farming' we report on a new initiative, Aquaponics, a new way of farming introduced to grow fish and food organically using sustainable methods which, if successful, might be reproduced at a few locations in the Residential Zone.
Lastly we produce the call of Auroville's Village Action that Auroville should actively engage in establishing better relations with the villages, as has been recommended by the Integral Sustainability Platform (ISP). “Those who work for Village Action are aware that improving the relationship is of paramount importance; but they always found a significant lack of response to the issue, both in official and popular circles in Auroville.”

The pdf.files of this issue can be downloaded here:
Page 1 - Page 2 - Page 3 - Page 4 - Page 5 - Page 6 - Page 7 - Page 8

 

 

 

August 2010

There has been a long gap between the last issue of Auroville Today – the one of March – and the August one. We regret the inconvenience this may have caused you. The reason was that the two senior editors had serious medical issues and two others were out of station. For these reasons it was impossible to continue the magazine. For the first time in almost 22 years Auroville Today had come to a halt.

Meanwhile, their health has improved – if perhaps not yet 100% – and following many requests, we have decided to take up the gauntlet once again. As three or even four people are too few to give you in-depth information on Auroville, we are in the process of expanding the team. In this issue you will read the contributions of newcomer Louise from England and of Elaine from Canada . We hope to include more correspondents in future issues.

The main topic in the August issue of Auroville Today is the interview with Dr. Doudou Diène (Page 1 and page 2), a member of the International Advisory Council of the Auroville Foundation. Dr. Doudou Diène had a distinguished career in UNESCO and served, between 2002 and 2008, as U.N. Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance. Auroville Today spoke with him on how Auroville attempts to break the deep historical trend of interpreting racial and cultural diversity as opposition, as something to be afraid of. “What is fascinating is that you are openly trying to confront this, you are not trying to deny it. You are conscious of your legacy but you are determined to do something else. This is not happening elsewhere, and it makes Auroville unique,” says Dr. Diène.

Another main issue is the visit of Shri Kapil Sibal, the Minister for Human Resource Development, Government of India, who came to Auroville to release the book ‘Passage', a record of a particular exhibition and an introduction to the Free Progress system as practised in Last School . “Auroville is larger than life, Auroville is much more than India , Auroville encompasses within itself the spirit of the world, the spirit of human beings. What you doing here is what I think the global community should be doing,” said Dr. Sibal.

Other topics you find in this issue of Auroville Today are how Auroville's Residents' Assembly can be energized – which is an uphill battle, according to the members of the Residents'' Assembly Service. There is a report from the Catskills, USA , where the AUM 2010 meeting was held; and on the recent Copenhagen climate change conference which Marti Mueller attended as a UN delegate in the ECOSOC programme. Joan and Aloka speak about the revised second edition of their book “Awareness through the Body.” There is an article how a Nepali child, son of one of Auroville's watchmen, has found a school in Auroville; and about the problems for Indian Aurovilians to get a visa for the USA .

Alan reflects on a specific problem for Auroville Today: to determine what is newsworthy and what isn't, seen from the specific Auroville angle. “Perhaps many people are unaware of the roots of their own behaviour. But if, as Mother pointed out, the first condition of being a ‘True Aurovilian' is to become aware that one is much more than the sum of one's cultural, racial and genetic inheritance, then any attempt, however modest, to recognise and lay aside these temporal trappings so that something truer can emerge should be celebrated as something very special. Now, wouldn't this be news worthy of Auroville ?

Lastly, we report on the increasing problems with law and order Auroville is facing, and the work of the Women's safety task force. “Women are increasingly becoming the target of sexual assault and harassment in and around Auroville and we want to break the silence and provide a safe space for women to be heard and supported,” according to one of its members.

The pdf.files of this issue can be downloaded here:
Page 1 - Page 2 - Page 3 - Page 4 - Page 5 - Page 6 - Page 7 - Page 8

 

 

March 2010

For the first time in the history of Auroville, the focus during the month of February was on Asia, or, to be more precise, on East Asia . Four Tea Masters had come to Auroville: from Japan , from Taiwan , from China and from Korea . For four evenings in a row, Aurovilians and guests learned about tea as each master gave a public demonstration at the Sri Aurobindo Auditorium on the tea ceremonies in his or her country. Also Taiwanese Tai Chi Chuan Master Dung Shu Hai had come to give a lecture and a workshop in Tai Chi. Taiwanese Music Master Wang Tai Qin gave a concert on the Guqin or the Chinese harp. There was a 10-day Japanese Jinen Butoh workshop and an evening performance at the Sri Aurobindo Auditorium by dancer Atsushi Takenouchi, accompanied by musician Hiroko Komio… and there was much, much more.

The second main topic in this issue is about Auroville International. From February 1st to 7th, Auroville International (AVI) organized a meeting in Bhubaneswar , Orissa to present Auroville and visit this beautiful and spiritually-significant state of India . Immediately afterwards, a week of intensive work started for the AVI members in Auroville. In an overview article, AVToday explains why the members of Auroville International deserve appreciation and gratitude for their work and dedication.

The interview with Debashish Banerji in our previous issue on the topic of fundamentalism and the yoga has led to many responses. Many fully support his views, others disagree with him. Mr. Raman Reddy, who works in the Sri Aurobindo Ashram Archives, gives his view.

Then there is the story of Martin who lives in New Creation Field with his family and six Tamil girls whom they care for. We also carry a report on what is happening at the Thamarai Community Centre in Edaiyanchavadi village and to what extent the ideal to build bridges of understanding between Auroville and the village have materialised.

Lastly we report on the Auroville Marathon 2010, described as the “most awesome and one of the best -organised” marathons in India which happened on February 14, when runners from Auroville, the Sri Aurobindo Ashram Pondicherry, the surrounding villages as well as from Mumbai, New Delhi, Pune, Gurgaon, and Kochi, ran down dusty tracks, forest trails, canyons and roads to complete the quarter (10), half (21.1 kilometres) or full Auroville marathon (42.195 kms).

 

 

February 2010

On 12th January, the newly-appointed Director-General of UNESCO, Ms.Irina Bokova, visited Auroville. It was the second time – the first was the visit of Mr. Amadou-Mahtar M'Bow in 1986 – that a serving Director-General of UNESCO visited Auroville. She was accompanied by Mrs. Bhaswati Mukherjee, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of India to UNESCO, and the UNESCO New Delhi Director, Mr. A. Parasuraman. In this issue we report on this visit, on UNESCO'S views on Auroville, which, according to Ms.Bokova, “is spreading the message of UNESCO” as well as on the desirability of Auroville becoming a World Heritage Site.

Another major issue addressed in this issue is the disturbing trend of fundamentalism amongst the followers of Sri Aurobindo's yoga. Auroville Today interviewed Debashish Banerji, the former president of the East-West Cultural Centre and Sri Aurobindo Centre, Los Angeles on this topic.

The third main issue is about food sovereignty. There is a vision that Auroville could become a ‘Garden City' with kitchen and herbal gardens at every house, with balcony and roof gardens in apartment complexes, and school gardens at schools. With correct planting and care, and the use of recycled water, such gardens could produce food in profusion and people could feed themselves. We report on work of several groups in Auroville in this area. We also give a glance into an ornamental garden and into the Japanese-inspired Zen gardens of Auroville.

A report on the biannual meetings of the Governing Board (GB) and International Advisory Council (IAC) of the Auroville Foundation also features in this issue, as well as a progress report on the Pour Tous Distribution Centre.

In the section ‘art' you'll find a review of the exhibition at Savitri Bhavan of the sculptures of Henk van Putten and the paintings of Agnus Gastmans; and of the photo exhibition Pangaea at Pitanga by mother and son, Lisbeth and Ribhu.

Lastly we publish the rainfall figures 2009; report on the Deep Ecology Workshop by renowned environmentalist John Seed; and report on the Litter-Free Auroville (LFA) 2010 day, when from early morning, groups of Aurovilians and schoolchildren could be seen picking up plastic, glass, food wrappers, old chappals and other assorted litter and waste from roadsides, fields and building sites

 

January 2010

More and more countries are passing legislation to ensure that people with disabilities are allowed to participate fully and equitably in society. In this issue of Auroville Today, we examine how well Auroville is doing on this front – assuming that a community which has human unity as its goal and invites participation from all people of goodwill would be in the forefront of this movement. The issue reports on the first workshop devoted to making Auroville more accessible (Page 1 and page 2) for everyone, held in October, and carries in interview with Susmita, the initiator of the conference, and Frederick , Pino and Sauro, three of the coordinators of L'Avenir d'Auroville.

In the sector ‘services' we publish an interview with Anandi and Isha of the Auroville Board of Services. “Serving the spirit of service” is their motto: to bring together all the service activities of Auroville, so that they can share their aspirations and difficulties, their projects and their experiences. There are also articles on the work of the Auroville Dental Clinic in the surrounding villages and what it means for Teens to Service the community.

In the section ‘research' we publish two articles. One is the research on the effects of homeopathic remedies prepared from substances originating from the hair of The Mother and the nail-clippings of Sri Aurobindo. The second article deals with researching the effects of food on the body by Auroville's Food Laboratory managed by Lorenzo, the Raw Food Centre run by Anandi and Peas versus Pills, the name of regular seminars, run by Dr. Nandita Shah.

In the section profiles you'll find an article about Afsaneh, who first came to Auroville in 1979.

Lastly we publish a review of the theatre play The Caretaker, a book review of Travels of the Psychic Being, a review of Nele Martens' recent displays of mobiles and paintings at Pitanga, and Jogging Through the Auroville Countryside, One December Afternoon , written in the late 1980s by late Aurovilian Raymond Thépot.

 

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