Dear Anu, Arun, Partha and Srimoyi,
This is in response to your Auronet post, “About the RAD”. I would like to share my thoughts here, as the post does not allow comments. It is disheartening to observe this practice of closing Auronet comments, which seems to show a lack of good will in fostering meaningful conversations between us all.
Firstly, I feel sorry for what you are going through. Even if I still carry some emotions about the events that happened in early December and after, I can also imagine the level of disconnect that you may be experiencing with most of the community, and I can empathise on a human level with the pain it could perhaps trigger. I believe that to make steps towards reconciliation, we first need to move beyond this confrontational mode we are in. Yet, this can only happen if there is sincere good will towards addressing the wounds, and taking responsibility for the pain that has been caused. So far I have seen justifications rather than acknowledgements, but hopefully the tide is turning.
This being said, I am among those who are requesting you to resign, either out of your good will or through a decision of the Residents’ Assembly. This is not because of likes and dislikes, nor does it come from a space of resentment for what has been done. It is simply because I believe that your recent standpoints have proven your incapacities for fulfilling the key positions for which you were selected.
The Working Committee is meant to act as a bridge between the Governing Board and the Residents’ Assembly – which it is mandated to represent. It is at the service of the Auroville Charter and the ideal of Human Unity, which can only be built through collaboration and agreement between all parties involved. Since the events in December, an important section of the Residents’ Assembly seems to be waking up and striving to find its true voice, with the intention to fully take up its responsibilities in co-creating Auroville. The Working Committee needs individuals who have good intentions to facilitate this new emergence, weaving together voices from different sections of the community. It needs individuals who are ready to harvest the collective will and place it above their own preferences, opinions and interpretations of Mother’s dream.
Auroville cannot be built by a few individuals bulldozing the dreams of others. Auroville can only be built through agreement, however lengthy and tedious the process may be. Of course, this is a journey of trial-and-error: as an experimental township, Auroville is meant to strive towards progress, and progress is made up of many baby steps and cumulative learnings. But this requires first and foremost the ability to acknowledge when things could have been better. Sincerity and humility are key for change.
In your Auronet post, you state that those in disagreement with you can be said to “dispute Auroville’s collective aim” and “the Greater Will of Auroville”. But those in disagreement with you seem to think that with your actions, you are the ones endangering Auroville as a whole. The debate will be endless, unless we start realising that Truth cannot be based on exclusion. What is being asked from us is a higher synthesis. And to me, the first step towards building this higher synthesis would be that we all dare to have a bit of humility in recognizing that none of us holds the Truth of what Auroville should be – not even the Government of India. Auroville is to be built by all of us through agreement, step by step, brick upon brick. You point fingers at those who, according to you, are acting from a space of ownership and entitlement towards the places they are stewards of; but aren’t you the ones feeling ownership over the whole of Auroville, and feeling entitled to the ‘true knowledge’ of how Auroville should be?
You also state that “calls to oust different groups or members who do not toe the line, is becoming a form of public intimidation”. I can truly empathise with the pain of rejection and separation that you may currently be feeling when you meet your Aurovilian brothers and sisters. But I also wonder: what would you call the threats on visas, the forceful takeover of Auroville’s Outreach Media, the involvement of hired enforcers – some of which behaved violently? Aren’t all of these “forms of public intimidation”, which are even more concerning? Things sometimes need to be put into perspective: so far, you have been asked to step down from your positions, to which you stated to have “no attachment”. But many residents feel that their very presence in Auroville is endangered; due to visa issues some residents might be forced to leave, sometimes with nowhere else to go. Others do not feel safe anymore, due to the violent actions that were perpetrated at the beginning of December. What is your concern for the “forms of public intimidation” these people are facing?
Last but not least, I’d also like to acknowledge one of our common grounds. You say: “If Auroville’s organization is to take a step beyond democracy towards something higher and new based on the strength of our inner unity, a sincere review of our organization is called for.”
Yes, I am in full agreement with you. Many of us have identified gaps in our organisation for a long time. Most of us dream of a deep review of our systems; as products of the mind, they are imperfect and call for ongoing efforts towards progress. Some of us are putting our heads and our hearts into reflecting on the current processes, and concrete / implementable steps to improve them or come up with entire new systems. How are you participating in this effort?
Keeping in mind that Auroville is Their project and that we are all Their children, I would like to end this letter with a little note to myself and to others: no matter what, we are here to play in the game of the Divine. I see that we are all – including myself – taking ourselves very seriously, repeating continuously ‘Mother said this’, and ‘Auroville is that’, and ‘the Truth is this’, etc. Yes, let’s keep in mind the ideals of Auroville, and let’s keep the flame alive. But let’s do it with joy as children of the Divine on a red-earth playground, barefoot, feet planted in the earth: Life in its purest form does not require white clothes and austere faces.
And even if we may feel frustrated with our playmates, even if we may sometimes want to sulk in our corners, let’s keep on trying to be playful. The key to a change of consciousness has very little to do with the external manifestation of shapes, roads and buildings – it is entirely contained in our processes of building Unity and how we behave with each other.
For the Grace is already here and everything is already One.