A letter has been sent to the News and Notes editors on February 15th 2023 signed by 426 Aurovilians and 71 Auroville well-wishers.
This letter is a collective appeal to uphold the spirit of the participatory governance, the freedom of speech and the beauty of diversity in Auroville.
This letter has been sent after the take over of the News and Notes by the Secretary. [Read event]
To the News & Notes editors:
Dear News & Notes editors,
The News & Notes is a deeply integral and valued part of our community for providing announcements and reports, heartfelt sharings, and more. It is our internal newsletter, financed by the residents through our common funds, with the purpose to serve as a voice of the residents as well as to inform. Thank you for your service as editors of the News & Notes.
Over the past month, it appears you have decided to no longer publish announcements and reports from the working groups selected and endorsed by the Residents’ Assembly of Auroville. Never before has the News & Notes been a tool for division and concerted censorship of residents’ voices, with the RA-selected working groups being silenced from relaying important information to all. We are dismayed by this act that further adds to the current confusion and disrupts the functioning of our internal processes.
The News & Notes is one of the oldest institutions in Auroville, dating back to 1975, and has always served as an apolitical neutral space for all perspectives, so that residents have access to all information. Censorship is against the very spirit of mutuality and freedom that Sri Aurobindo and the Mother stood for.
Over the past year, the News & Notes has included all perspectives of the working groups selected by the Residents’ Assembly, the perspectives of the Office of the Secretary and its appointed people, and others. After the censorship of Auronet, the News and Notes was the only freely accessible platform left to hold space for all narratives, explanations and announcements, in a spirit of impartiality, diversity and mutuality. Your recent decision to silence the voice of the RA-endorsed groups contradicts the foundations of inclusivity and community on which the News and Notes is based. This service was created and funded by the residents as a means to “organise various activities relating to Auroville”, which is a function of the Residents’ Assembly under Section 19(2)(b) of the Auroville Foundation Act, 1988. It cannot be hindered or undermined by the decision of a few, since this service is essential to our proper functioning as a collective.
We request you to publish announcements and reports from the working groups selected and endorsed by the Residents’ Assembly. If either or both of you are unable to fulfil your function on behalf of the community, and to uphold the spirit and values of the News and Notes, we request you to resign so that other residents may fulfil this role. The spirit of impartiality, diversity and mutuality is fundamental to this role as only through expressing our rich diversities can we aim for a higher synthesis and a truer Unity.
The undersigned residents of Auroville.