Dr. Jayanti Ravi is a highly qualified and motivated civil servant who considers building the city of Auroville as her only priority. However, as Gandhi ji taught us, means are as important as ends, and if the right means are not adopted the end will necessarily get distorted. This is unfortunately what has happened in Auroville, resulting in a great deal of tension in the community and even panic when there was a hint that some visas may be disturbed. That should certainly not be done because, over the decades, people have come from almost 60 countries giving up their homes, positions and taking up residence in Auroville as a unique inter-cultural community. It is also true, in my experience, that the Auroville community seems to be unable to come to a consensus on important matters and is constantly divided even on vital issues, which is most unfortunate.
Be that as it may, the whole dispute is now before the National Green Tribunal. I have the following suggestions to make :-
1. Whatever the decision of the Green Tribunal may be, it should be accepted in good grace by both sides. Talks of going to the Supreme Court which, of courtse, is a fundamental right of citizens would, in my view, simply prolong the whole issue and further damage the image of Auroville in the country and abroad.
2. It is essential that the credibility gap between sections of community and the Secretary should be bridged. If 10 senior Aurovilians were to sit together, 5 from each side of the dispute, and seriously consider what can be done to overcome the present crisis they may reach some consensus. Each side could choose 5 representatives and the meeting could be held in camera in the Foundation office. This should be done urgently while the stay from the National Green Tribunal is still operative.
I must admit I have been greatly mortified by recent developments in Auroville. Having been involved in the origin of Auroville which I described in Parliament as an arrow shot into the future and then in its actual functioning for 20 years as Chairman I have a deep respect for the community and, I must add, for the present Secretary. Let us, on the eve of Auroville’s birthday, pray to Sri Aurobindo and the Mother for Divine guidance at this crucial juncture for the welfare of this unique experiment in human unity.
Feb. 26, 2022