To R N Ravi, Auroville is unique

Nov 12, 2022 | Governing Board, Processes by-passed, Statements by the RA and the Working groups

This letter was sent to the chairman of the Governing Board by a pionneer, long term Aurovilian, after the meeting of Nov. 7th [Read the event]

His letter hilight his experience of a previous attempt of takeover of Auroville and his testimony of the very essence of the Foundation Act.[read his publication on the foundation Act genesis]

“Your Excellency,

You have had a distinguished career during which you have held high office positions, dealing with difficult problems of law and order and communal harmony. However difficult these problems may have been, I believe that they were familiar to you as per your training and experience.

Coming as Chairman of the Auroville Foundation, you have been given a mission, a task to perform. The problem is that there is nothing familiar for you in the situation.  Auroville is unique as the oldest surviving and thriving intentional community in the world. I deeply believe that it is India’s inner greatness which made Her protect and preserve this Divine project.

As you yourself pointed out, Auroville has already faced many problems leading to a forceful central Government intervention beginning with the Ordinance of November 1980. 

I myself had come to Auroville in July 1973. The year before, in August 1972, the year of Sri Aurobindo Birth Centenary, I had spent one month in Pondicherry, filled up an application with my picture to become Aurovilian, and was accepted by the Mother.

Soon after the passing away of the Mother, the relationship between the then residents (about 400 at the time)  and the Sri Aurobindo Society which were taking advantage of their position of legal masters to try to impose their views, deteriorated to the point of open revolt in 1975-76. The battle with many twists and turns lasted for about 12 years. It was not an “internal conflict”, it was a conflict between an outside body and the residents.

In August 1988 I went to Delhi with two other Aurovilians, Frederick (the first Aurovilian) and Major General Krishna Tewari who had joined Auroville in the late seventies. We were asked on August 20th to provide a draft for a law on Auroville that then Governement wanted to enact. Thanks to the knowledge and expertise of Shri Kireet Joshi, the draft for an Auroville Foundation Bill was ready on August 22nd.  Amazingly, the Auroville Foundation Bill was passed by both Houses of Parliament by September 5th, less than 3 weeks later, after due vetting by the Law Ministry and the Central Government Cabinet.  This was described as a miracle by one of the high functionaries who had participated in the process.

I therefore feel that the Auroville Foundation Act has been sanctioned not only by the highest authorities of this land but by the highest that is, the Divine. Therefore, I feel it is utterly wrong to ignore the provisions of this Act which has established the Resident Assembly as one of the three authorities and which is supposed to organize the activities of Auroville towards the fulfillment of the ideals expressed in the Charter of Auroville. 

Auroville cannot flourish as a Government department and you, with your experience of administration, must be keenly aware of this fact. I heard Dr Karan Singh, our former Chairman, express this view quite forcefully to some bureaucrats a few years ago.

I therefore see no possible repair of the present situation unless the residents are given back their rights and responsibilities, in letter and spirit, as specified in the Act. Only the Aurovilians, despite obvious limitations that we know only too well, can realize Mother’s project and vision. It is a matter of transformation and evolution which needs to be given the space and time to mature with Sri Aurobindo’s and Mother’s grace.

Respectfully yours,

Alain B.”