By S Radhakrishnan
of more than 100 settlements spread over 20 square kilometers, around 1900 residents from some 40 nations live together as one
community in Auroville. Auroville was founded by the ‘Mother’, a
disciple of Sri Aurobindo, in February 1968 as an international
cultural township on the outskirts of Puducherry where a
community of people of different nationalities, from different ethnic,
religious and cultural backgrounds, could live and work together in a
spirit of mutual respect and collaboration.
The true purpose
of Auroville is a place for the realization of international
understanding, peace and human unity in diversity based upon an inner
discovery and transformation of consciousness, the way as shown by Sri
Aurobindo and The Mother.
many Aurovilians, this sense of stability at the center is represented
by the Matrimandir. The Matrimandir, a huge sphere which contains a
white chamber in which sunlight pours down upon a glass globe, is both
the geographical and spiritual center of Auroville. It is a place as
The Mother described it, for individual concentration, for finding
one’s true self. She called it “the soul of Auroville”.
of the environment is an important term today. Restoration of the
environment was taken up at Auroville by planting something like two
million trees and shrubs whereby an environmental consciousness
Each major area of work in Auroville –education,
afforestation, farming, village development, health care, town
planning, business, arts and culture etc. - is organized by a group
involved in that work. Auroville is a model of sustainable development
which has evolved a way of living that sustains that which sustains us.
Consequently water the first priority was fulfilled with wells
dug by hand and fitted with primitive windmills to pump up water, a
biological waste–water treatment plant [was developed], and food produced at the
township is pesticide free. Till today, the things are simple and
environmentally friendly. The Quiet community on the beach is a natural
Auroville is also home to the largest
concentration of renewable energy technologies in India. A fifteen
metre diameter solar bowl – one of the biggest in the world - provides
steam for cooking in a community kitchen.
Similarly, an AV55
windmill and ferrocement biogas systems manufactured in Auroville
workshops represent improvements upon existing designs. Other [sustainable technologies],
like the wind generators or the ubiquitous solar panel (which is used
for everything from pumping water to charging electric vehicles),
provide domestic power.
The Township is under the
administrative control of the [Indian government's] Ministry of Human Resource Development
since 1980 and is administered as per the provisions of the Auroville
Foundation Act 1988, passed by the Parliament of India.
the Auroville Foundation Act, the Foundation consists of a Governing
Board, Residents Assembly and Auroville International Advisory Council.
According to the provisions of the Auroville Foundation Act,
the Central Government provides grants to the Foundation for meeting
the expenditure on the establishment, maintenance and development of
Auroville under Plan & Non-Plan grants.
provision for the Foundation for the year 2006-07 is Rs. 327.00 lakh [$834,000]
under Plan and Rs. 75.00 lakh [$191,000] under Non Plan. An expenditure of Rs.
200.75 lakh [$513,000] under Plan and Rs. 30.00 lakh [$77,000] under Non-Plan has been
incurred so far during 2006-07.
A major boost to the development
of the city is proposed during the Eleventh Five Year Plan, through
proper housing and infrastructure facilities in an environmentally
friendly atmosphere. [One lakh = 100,000 rupees -> ~ USD $2,550.00, in Jan.08]
“Auroville belongs to nobody in
particular, Auroville belongs to humanity as a whole… .”
runs the first
line of the Auroville Charter.
S Radhakrishnan is a Director (M&C) of Press Information Bureau, Delhi