Auroville is a place synonymous with freedom, humanity and oneness with everything.
UNESCO calls it “an international cultural township designed to bring together the values of different cultures and civilisations in a harmonious environment with integrated living standards which correspond to man's physical and spiritual needs."
Unfortunately, this very idea is being challenged for the last year.
Auroville, and her 3500 residents from 58 countries, has been a hallmark of participative decision making that ensured harmony among people, with nature and every fundamental aspect of life. This was inscribed in a unique law (the Auroville Foundation Act 1988) for which India can rightly be very proud.
A plan to build a concrete city without a detailed action plan or consultation with the residents of Auroville is under way. This goes against the provisions of the Auroville Foundation Act 1988.
The Residents and Aurovillian forest groups who are custodians of the land - on which forests have been grown and curated; are being targeted and delegitimized. Making way for this by systematically attacking and delegitimizing the voice of opposition within Auroville.
The last 7 months, in particular, has seen:
Indiscriminate and camouflaged midnight bulldozing of structures without warning.
Harassment by law enforcement agencies to frighten residents
threats to people documenting such intrusions.
reports of large groups of people from outside the community being paid to enforce the clearance in an intimidatory manner
Setting up of parallel committees by the government to decide on aspects such as ecology, renewable energies, sustainable architecture, educational practices, collective living and social enterprise - in clear violation of the 1988 law.
Spreading falsehood and fake news by vested interests to create an atmosphere of distrust and enmity between Auroville and her neighbors, who have lived in harmony for decades.
This intimidation continues as you read this. Despite peaceful protests and resolutions passed by the Auroville Citizen’s assembly (which is legal as per law) the authorities have decided to ignore these interventions. Cleverly wrapped in the shiny foil of ‘development’, these intrusions threaten the very idea on which Auroville was founded.
Join me in urging for the following :
In adherence to the 1988 Act put an immediate halt to activities that have not been passed by the citizen’s assembly of the Auroville foundation.
Ensure the destruction of biodiverse forest and buildings that is taking place without following proper processes - is halted immediately and protection is granted to the residents of Auroville from the same.
To the Principal secretary - ensure that the residents of Auroville are given meaningful participation in developing the city, forest and ideals of Auroville.
An impact assessment is done for the proposed city and its impact on the environment and cultural diversity of Auroville.