Updated: Apr 29
People say that I write long articles. For sure that is true. It may take time to go through what I post in this blog. It started shorter, and I recommend everybody to start with the simple small posts at the beginning, so as to “grow” into the longer ones, and get used to the material and the line of thought. It makes the longer ones easier to follow and break up in the different points.
I am well aware of the fact that I do not write short, bite-size bits. My whole aim is to give background information, and to make people think for themselves. To make people curious about what all may be hidden behind the veil of the propaganda slogans that are thrown about. Whether my long exposés are useful for that or not remains to be seen, but it's how I deal with this kind of issue: I try to give people as much as possible of all the factors that have to be taken into account, if a large picture is to emerge and a real understanding to be had.
If someone is not interested in the real, complex reality of Auroville and how Aurovillage came to replace it, then by all means be happy with the simple propaganda posts that the Stand for Auroville Unity and Auroville News campaigns pump out. They give short statements without any proof or backing, without any explanation at all. When they say that this or that violates “established community processes”, you will just have to believe them, as they will not explain for one second what they mean with that or what the history of these alleged “community processes”is, or how they came about and who created them in the first place. You receive zero explanation of why anything is “illegal” according to them: you just are being told that it is like that, and you will have to simply take their word for it.
To really understand the present-day situation in Auroville, it is needed to get a feeling, a sense of what happened here historically. Because the simple story that is being published everywhere by the Aurovillagers is the story of the “winners” who wrote the history according to their wishes, and not according to reality. If you think this is a charged statement, then ask yourself: why are we in a big fight right now in Auroville? If everything had been as rosy as they claim, what made it then suddenly devolve into this complex issue where most people can't get clarity on the facts? Is it the wicked witch who suddenly showed up out of the blue and for no other reason than being evil started to mess things up? Is that in any way credible to you?
In case you say “yes”, please don't bother reading further: cartoonish understanding of reality can be gotten from the Aurovillage propaganda, and I would be sorry to waste your time with another extra-long exposé.
If, however, you feel something is off in their unexplained statements, that seem to be falling out of a vacuum with no links to any background, and if you want to know more about what really might be the cause of all this and what really might be going on in Auroville, let me then try to give background through commenting on a piece of the fiercest propaganda distortion.
I highly recommend that you read this episode in smaller parts. The interview I comment on is already quite lengthy, and my comments are even lengthier. Let's pretend it's a celebratory extended version, for the jubilee.
As always: please try to get more information by yourself. Come here, check things out, try to dig and find the facts. It's not easy and it is taking me already more than ten years, but do give it a try. All of us wish the Auroville propaganda to be true, as we all crave the Life Divine. But it's not because we merely wish it to be real here, in this place, called Auroville, that it therefore is true. Let's have the faith that it will become true, but not be blind for the reality that actually exists right now. If we want it to be real one day, we need to first find out why it isn't real already: only when we can see what is wrong, can we correct it.
Auroville Today, one of the main Aurovillage propaganda outlets since decades, has published Claude Arpi's opinions on the Governing Board. Claude is one of the core members of the Aurovillage cult, since very early on. He is therefore extremely skilled in serving his unsuspecting audience very credible phrases, which nonetheless are completely distorting reality, and are in fact painting black white. It's very difficult to point out the layers of falsehood in such statements, because they have been grown and ripened over decades, and therefore seem so tasty and credible.
It cannot be repeated enough: Auroville started in a remote location, with zero material comfort, which made it an isolated place. To know what actually happened here, one had to stay here for some time, which was very difficult: there was no running water and no electricity. Why would someone do that to themselves, only to find out if people here were lying or not? What we are being told of what happened here over the past half century was almost impossible to verify. From 1975, the story of “Auroville” was what the people on the ground here allowed to be “known” about it. Once the Aurovillagers scored their huge victory over the Sri Aurobindo Society, they were totally “king of the castle” and controlled every aspect of “Auroville”, not in the least its narratives and its “history”.
This is not something I invented. All Aurovillage sources boast about the harsh and uninviting physical reality, which obviously meant that Auroville, by this very fact, automatically had a very high degree of isolation.
For me, this is the key issue to understand why the narrative of Auroville became diametrically opposed to the reality of Aurovillage. The reality was very difficult to see and experience for oneself, and therefore the false narrative got a huge head-start. One that gives the Aurovillagers a big advantage up until today, as we can see in this article.
AVToday: How would you assess the present Governing Board?
The question in itself can surely be asked. But it becomes a rather more awkward question if one takes into account that the past Governing Boards were totally curtailed in their actions. Due to a very strong sympathy for the Aurovillagers, the person who turned out to become the Chairman of the Governing Board for almost 30 years, overruled all attempts of other Governing Board members to take up the real role of the Governing Board and manage Auroville properly, instead of letting the Aurovillagers just do whatever they pleased. This led to the situation where the Aurovillagers were allowed to simply usurp the task of the Governing Board, culminating in the “Auroville Guidelines 2020”, which actually literally, legally, give away all the responsibility of the Governing Board in setting rules for admitting and terminating Aurovilians in the Register of Residents to the “Residents' Assembly”. (See also the end of episode 49.) This is a total corruption of the Auroville Foundation Act, and makes it factually unworkable, as the Act never intended the “RA” to have the powers of the Governing Board: first of all, it makes the Governing Board a hollow shell with no purpose, and secondly: the Residents' Assembly was created in a way that can only work if it does not have to “manage” anything or take any serious decisions.
The present Governing Board has taken stock of this whole corrupted situation, and immediately set out to correct it, thereby becoming “the bad guy” for the Aurovillagers from day one: they were suddenly being confronted with the fait accompli that the legal owner of the decision power had taken back the power that the Aurovillagers had been allowed to steal for decades. These things are crucial to understand, and are constantly being misrepresented by the Aurovillage campaign. The interview with Claude floats in a sea of denial of this reality, and he non-stop defends the false notion that the mythical “RA” has to rule supreme over Auroville. There is no reason given as to why this would be, it's just simply repeated over and over again, and presented as a sort of law of physics. Note that they will never ask people to read the Act for themselves and draw their own conclusions.
Claude: It is difficult to say. Judging from the minutes of its first meeting held in November 2021, the Board members hold strong views about how Auroville should develop, which in itself is a good thing. At the same time, we know that many, if not all, Board members have negative views of the Aurovilians. The narrative in government circles in New Delhi is that Auroville is not developing as it should, that accounts are cooked, and that there is a lot of fighting going on between various Auroville factions. This narrative is mostly false.
Claude gives no proof of his very bold claim that “many, if not all, Board members have negative views of the Aurovilians”. He shows that he equates all Aurovilians with his group of Aurovillagers, the people who have turned Auroville into their private kingdom and have started a legal fight over Auroville, combined with a public smear-campaign of the Governing Board members.
Nobody in the world is very sympathetic to people who pick a fight with them and who start spreading all kinds of lies to ruin their reputation. So obviously the members of the Governing Board will have hardly a positive opinion of this hostile gang. However, the Governing Board members have made it extremely clear that they are not simplistic nitwits, and they certainly do not conflate the Aurovillage cult with “the Aurovilians”. Everyone can read their statements for themselves and read the Minutes of the Governing Board Meetings. You will see that Claude is from the start highly exaggerating.
The fact that people in Delhi are convinced that Auroville is not developing as it should is not a shocking event: everyone can read what the Mother meant Auroville to be, and can see for themselves that we have not realised any of it. It will be clear to anyone interested in following the development over the decades, that Auroville is more and more diverting from its original aim of being a city for 50,000 people into a highly publicised ecovillage, where city life is looked upon as a very negative result, to be avoided at all cost. The rise of social media has now broken the isolation of Auroville, and made it much easier for people to expose the hypocritical reality that contrasts the cultishly rosy narratives. Negative testimonies about what Aurovillage really is, are circulating more and more. And when Vikram Ram filed his very vast complaint against Auroville some years ago, it became impossible for the Government officers in Delhi to not be made aware of the fact that there was something rotten in the state of Auroville.
Obviously, now that his propaganda narrative that stood firm for so many decades is crumbling, Claude has to keep defending it and claim that the truth that is being revealed is the false narrative.
Avtoday: Could you explain?
Claude: It really upsets me that Board members say that 'Aurovilians have done nothing' in the past 55 years. They ignore that in 1968 Auroville was a desert which has been greened by the Aurovilians;
That “desert” story has become the central trope of the Aurovillage “success-story” narrative.
Please come and do your own research. Yes, the location was “barren” in the sense that there were no buildings and it wasn't woodland. But it was certainly not a “desert”, as the soil was rich and fertile, and used to grow local vegetable crops. The free roaming of herds of livestock which were highly valuable to the small populations in the villages that were located in the area, made it difficult for larger bushes or trees to survive beyond the sapling stage. But it was no sandy desert, and it took nothing more than a sustained protection from grazing, regular watering and protection from extreme weather conditions, for trees and bushes to once again grow wild here.
Yes, one can say that that in itself was a beautiful and great effort. BUT. And there is a huge “but”. Why is there a need to talk about a “desert”? Why is there this self-aggrandisement, this craving for recognition? Moreover, the people who today claim to be the heroes of this story were most probably not much in the picture at the time of this effort. Because the victors write the history, they will write it in such a way that they did heroic deeds, and that everybody they didn't like simply is not mentioned. Cancel culture is age-old. How many Ashram-related people were living in Auroville at the beginning? How many of them came from Pondy to Auroville daily or very regularly to develop the land? Where are they in the “history books” of Aurovillage? Already in the 1980s, the villagers here said that the people who had actually planted the trees were no longer living here. How much can we believe of this whole story? Whose labour are we actually talking about?
On top of that, the present “greening” of Auroville is for the most part just wild-growth. Imported species that grow fast and easy, and simply invade any open space given half the chance. As pointed out before: leave any space here unattended for a few months, and it will be overgrown with thorny bushes and non-local tree species. Auroville's “lush” green is not a beautiful park, it's just thorny, wild bushy stuff that needs weeding out instead of protection. Is that a huge achievement? Having trees and bushes of any kind helps with the heat and the climatic conditions, but the reality is that this greenery has been growing itself since at least the 1990s. The fact that the Aurovillagers demand endless worship for this rather simple “feat”, which probably was done by other people anyway, is very unsettling. We have to give respect and gratitude where it is due, but in this case it is not sure where it is due, and it is being squeezed out of us, instead of freely given.
that the Aurovilians themselves built the Matrimandir;
Good heavens. Is the battle of the construction of the Matrimandir something anyone wants to use as a success-story? It took the “Aurovilians” 45 years to build ONE single structure. The building of Matrimandir is an endless litany of fights and struggles for power, from start to finish. Even though Roger had given the design already in the very early 1970s, every single aspect of it was questioned, and in the end Roger had to make huge concessions to make sure the work actually continued at all. The Aurovilians wanted to do it all themselves, and the digging of the foundation pit alone would have taken 50 years, if the Mother hadn't stepped in and hired an outside company to arrange local workers to do the excavation!
What on earth is here to boast about? It turned out to become a very beautiful building, but that is completely thanks to the genius of Roger, and in spite of the Aurovillagers, who tried to block the work at every step of its construction. Just like what we see now, they opposed every material realisation and wanted to change every aspect of it. I came to live here at the very end, when Matrimandir was claimed to be “finished” (it's not yet finished today but whatever) and the gardens were started, and I joined the Matrimandir Garden team. I witnessed, to my stupefaction, how the same horrible, paralysing, negative group fiercely opposed the creation of the gardens and demanded that all work be immediately stopped – because there was no “community consensus” and “many Aurovilians did not agree and felt concerned about what was happening”. The Matrimandir executives had to promise “pausing” the creation to not have the angry mob on their doorstep every day. Remember this: the “pausing” of the implementation of any and every aspect of Auroville as the Mother had planned it, is the main theme throughout Aurovillage's history, it comes back literally everywhere.
and that all the land has been bought with private funds,
This statement implies a straight-out lie: it pretends that the Aurovillagers bought the lands, which is totally false. When the Sri Aurobindo Society was blocked from managing Auroville by the mid-1970s, ALMOST TWO THIRDS of the land that the Auroville Foundation presently owns was already bought by the Society. Let that sink in: between 1964 and 1973, in 9 years, the Society bought 60% of the lands presently owned by the Auroville Foundation. Between 1975 and 2023, in 48 years, the Aurovillagers managed to buy the other 40%. Anybody who knows anything about Auroville is aware of the difficulty that not owning the lands presents for the construction of the Galaxy Master Plan. Auroville owns most of the land in the City Area, but many little plots still prevent a flowing creation of the Master Plan's main features, as they run through the whole of Auroville and always somewhere run into a little plot we don't own. Auroville owns only about a quarter of the lands of the planned Green Belt. Can we acknowledge what the Society might have managed if they had been allowed to keep managing Auroville and buying lands? In less than 10 years, they achieved 150% of what the Aurovillagers managed in almost 50 years. Once again: how can Claude bring this up as “an achievement of the Aurovillagers”? Almost nobody knows the real facts, that is why he gets away with it.
Why are people not told the facts? Why do we get cheap, short slogans?
and nearly all the houses, all the commercial buildings and most of the service-oriented buildings have been built with private donations.
This is extremely disingenuous. If Aurovillage had not been Aurovillage, but Auroville, the way the Mother had projected it, Auroville could have been constructed with all kinds of funds.
“Private donations” is used here in the sense of “not paid by the government”. What kind of an achievement is that? When did the Mother give the task to build Her city to the Government of India? She herself made three attempts to secure huge amounts from donors and sponsors, all of which were thwarted by some party or another involved with Auroville. It's simply the ill-will and ultimate insincerity of the Aurovillagers that made sure that huge investments were not made: the Aurovillagers, from the start, did not want anybody except themselves to be involved in Auroville. Most did not want anything remotely resembling a city, and hence they did not want huge donations from outside parties for large constructions: it would be a development of Auroville that they did not control. Their private kingdoms would not survive the building of Mother's city, as we can witness today. Therefore they never wanted it any other way than how it actually turned out.
What has the government contributed in all these years? The answer is 'not much'.
Can we get any more hypocritical than this? How can Auroville Today claim to be a serious publication and at the same time print such absurdities? First of all: the government is involved in Auroville because these same people ran to Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in 1975, asking her to get rid of the Sri Aurobindo Society's legal status as Auroville's administrators, because they wanted the management of Auroville for themselves.
As the result of this request of the Aurovillagers, the government created the Auroville Foundation in 1988, which made Auroville officially and legally a project of the Government.
In the years after the creation of the Auroville Foundation, the then Governing Board, being unable to take up its legal role and responsibility due to the Chairman preventing any actual governing and managing from happening, passively abdicated its powers to the Aurovillagers, who claimed to be the legal entity called the “RA”.
These people then effectively always decried every possible government involvement that was not just rubber-stamping or providing crores of rupees per year or giving whatever special statuses or legal exceptions the Aurovillagers demanded.
When the new Governing Board steps in and gets fully involved, taking up its legal role as directed by the Auroville Foundation Act, and securing an unprecedented budget of 1,100 crores (11 billion rupees) for Auroville's development, the Aurovillagers start a huge social media slander campaign, scream “authoritarian take-over”, and claim that the government has no right to interfere in Auroville's “internal processes”, “self-governance”, and “daily life”.
And now, Claude Arpi has the colonial nerve to say that the government has so far “not much” contributed to Auroville? You have to wonder what goes on in these people's heads.
The Government has helped manifest some infrastructure, such as part of the former Crown Road, which recently was dug up to make place for the new Crown Road, helped create several school buildings and CRIPA, and funded two apartment buildings. But other public buildings, such as Pitanga, a major part of Future School, the Town Hall and the Multi Media centre have been funded privately or received funding from national or international organizations.
The government funded the infrastructure but the Aurovillagers did not want the infrastructure, as it is part of the development of the Galaxy Master Plan. The whole reason why the Secretary started with the Crown Road was because since two years, a very expensive government-paid high-tension cable was lying rotting on the road side next to the “Bliss Forest” and “Youth Centre”, where it was not allowed to be laid by the people in Claude's cult club.
“Town Hall” is not at all Auroville's Town Hall. It is the ACUR building, the “Auroville Centre for Urban Research”, the office of the Auroville Town Development Council. The Aurovillagers got money from the European Commission for this building, which once built, was quickly usurped and turned into “Town Hall”. By 2021, little by little, the ATDC had been pushed into one corner of the building, while all the rest was eaten up by the Aurovillagers' dysfunctional “working groups”, pretending to “govern” Auroville. Auroville's real Town Hall was designed 25 years ago and is still not built. The Governing Board is now taking this up as an urgent priority project.
In short, all the people I know have worked hard, very hard, for Auroville and it pains me that this is not acknowledged – rather, they are demeaned.
All the people Claude Arpi knows have worked very hard to create their private, colonial kingdom on the location where the Mother had started Her Auroville. Several people have worked hard, but in the setting of a cult leadership that behaved in ways that is beyond shameful, beyond anything decent or worthy of any respect, bullying away every person who was critical of this cult stealing and perverting the Mother's Auroville. Obviously, people who have gotten away with murder for 5 decades will be “in pain” when now, after all this time, their reign comes to an end and they have to either change their ways or make way for decency. They live in a reality in which it belongs to them by divine right, so they had never conceived of any future in which it would be taken back from their hands. People who behave indecently, immaturely, arrogantly and full of entitlement, cannot expect to be respected. They feel demeaned because they have put themselves on pedestals and put crowns on their own heads, just as Claude Arpi continues to do in this article.
Then 'cooking the books'. I believe that the Governing Board is mistaken in its views that huge mistakes have been made. In the last one and a half years, the Board has initiated forensic audits of the accounts of many commercial units, even re-auditing accounts that had already been audited by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India. But nothing substantial has been found and, as far as I know, no commercial unit has been accused of any serious wrongdoing, and certainly not of 'cooking the books'. If a unit was found to be fraudulent, doubtless the Board would have initiated action and informed the community.
The government does not act swiftly in these matters. Just wait and see. The audit is far from over, and its report is not finished. Decades of absolutely useless accounting is not dealt with in a year and a half.
Just last week I was asked by the new accountant of the ATDC where in the office or building all the assets are that are listed in the balance sheet of last year. The list included a bullock cart. Go figure.
The International Advisory Council, too, asked for proof of any such misdoings, but it was never given.
What Claude and Auroville Today do not want to mention is that two members of the IAC, namely Michel Danino and Gabi Gillessen, have, from the very moment the new IAC team was formed, sided with the Aurovillagers, and rabidly defend them in every single meeting. They spout the exact same empty and factless narratives that the Aurovillagers spread all over, and are simply derailing the proper functioning of the IAC with their rebellion against the Governing Board. They are only 2 out of 5 members, but clearly do a lot of damage to the council's functioning in the Auroville Foundation.
Lastly the in-fighting. It is true that Aurovilians often disagree on things, and that this has hampered Auroville's development.
There is no beginning or end to the list of fights and small wars that the Aurovillagers have fought over the decades. “My way or the highway” is their motto, and since they have not the least bit of interest in yoga or the Mother's Auroville, there is no limit too low to cross: the only thing of importance is that they get to rule and abuse Auroville. Obviously, fighting and blocking development other than their own then becomes the way of life. You end up having the Aurovillage that existed until 2021. We can only be endlessly grateful that this now has finally come to an end.
But this is not unique to Auroville residents. Even the members of the Auroville International Advisory Council report that they cannot agree on many issues.
You don't say. As mentioned above, when you have two rabid Aurovillagers in the team, obviously the council will not function, and there will be no agreement: the Aurovillagers will only accept their authority over Auroville, and nothing else – no matter what the Auroville Foundation Act or any other person or document may say.
I would say that it is regrettable that the Secretary, who announced when she joined Auroville that she was good at harmonizing people, hasn't been able to do so and instead has expressed her own preference by not taking into account a truly collective effort like the Dreamweaving process.
Again, what an astronomical entitlement. The fact is that Dr. Jayanti Ravi has started her term in Auroville by inviting everybody to her office, to meet, to discuss, to work together. The call has been repeated endlessly, and today still, the door is wide open for everybody who wants to create the Mother's Auroville together. Recently, the Secretary has started to visit all Auroville locations and residential compounds, exactly in order to find ways for dialogue, to collaborate and restore harmony. These initiatives all came from her, not from the Aurovillagers.
When the issue of the Crown was taken up, she had endless meetings with everybody who considered themselves concerned and affected. More than 50 meetings were held over 4 months. Everything was possible, except not doing the Crown. All that goodwill and welcoming openness was very quickly thrown back into her face. After hardly one month on the job, she was being booed and slandered, being ridiculed and abused: a bunch of absurdly entitled brats was showing haughtily what they were made of, and how extremely immature the Aurovillagers are. All cooperation was demonised and, betting on being able to bully her back out of Auroville, they started a boycott and denigration campaign. A very long document was compiled and published by the Aurovillagers to blacken her with every possible slander, gossip and blame they could lay their hands on. They want to tarnish her personally and ruin her career. Claude Arpi now has the guts to blame Madam Secretary for the fact that he and his gang refused to cooperate and openly boycott and slander her.
And then the mythical Dreamweaving process. Where to start? Don't take my word for it: come and talk to the people who participated. Watch the sessions, read the reports: within no time, the NGT case was filed, and the whole Dreamweaving became one big political campaign in which the original agreement to honour the Crown brief was torn up, and cooperation with the Secretary and the Governing Board was demonised: the Dreamweaving sessions became the place for political canvassing and recruitment for the rebellion. The so much talked-up “participatory” and “co-creative” Dreamweaving process ended in complete antagonism and denial of promises made, and went on to become one more Aurovillage myth. (The Aurovillagers never honour agreements, not since the very start of Aurovillage: see all the promises over the decades that the buildings were going to be torn down and the trees cut – and now they go to court over it.)
AVToday: How do you evaluate the functioning of the Board?
Claude: There are a number of problems. Firstly there is the question to what extent the Board members understand the spiritual background of Auroville. Many present members may have read some of the works of Sri Aurobindo, but have they read Mother's Agenda and have they read all that The Mother said about Auroville?
What the Mother said about Auroville is not a very thick book, it's an easy and quick read. She was after all busy with loads of other things and had to make sure Her body remained functional through Her physical-transformation yoga.
The members of the Governing Board have in their interactions shown more understanding of what the Mother wanted Auroville to be than the Aurovillagers. An excellent example is the speech of the Tamil Nadu Governor (who is presently our Chairman of the Governing Board), given to the Aurovilians on November 7th, 2022, at the occasion of the 61st Governing Board meeting. If you haven't heard it yet, please watch it here. The Aurovillagers were so appreciative that they demonstratively refused to applaud and looked angry or annoyed.
Contrast that with the three decades of Auroville Today and see how much of Mother's aims and ideals are reflected in there: it mainly deals with the perversion that Aurovillage is, and very very seldom with Mother's Auroville. Endless excuses are given why Mother's Auroville was put on the back-burner, and why Aurovillage has to take precedence.
The reason why Claude says what he says here is obvious: it is – as always – a personal attack, he tries to make the members of the Governing Board look suspect and less knowledgeable than the Aurovillagers. Once again, they insinuate that there is only one single authority on all things Auroville: it's the Aurovillage cult themselves. Nobody can have any correct understanding of the matter, they alone have the knowledge about what Auroville was, is, and should be. He harps on about it, to drive the point well home.
Have they understood the importance of the Supramental descent in 1956 and of the concept of the surhomme ['overman', the intermediary being between the human being and the supramental being, eds.] and its consequences for Auroville? Have they realized what The Mother meant when she announced the birth of a new world, in which Auroville has a specific role to play? “Auroville wants to be a new creation expressing a new consciousness in a new way and according to new methods,” She said in August, 1969.
Here we go again. You don't have to believe me: see what they say themselves. The Aurovillagers think of themselves as a new humanity, as special beings, far above the rest of us mere ignorant mortals. The implications of what Claude says here completely prove my claim that they are a cult and consider themselves a sort of higher beings.
I have my doubts that this has been understood. The present administration consists of people who seem to think as technocrats. In that thinking, there is a hierarchy where they give orders which are to be obeyed. This explains the stand of the Board that they are Auroville's supreme authority.
More personal attacks: if you can't attack the message, try shooting the messenger.
Please, please, please: read the Auroville Foundation Act for yourself. Just read it. The “GOVERNING Board” is the body that was created to manage, yes, to “govern”, Auroville. No matter how many times they keep pretending it is different, and claiming that they have all the power: the Auroville Foundation Act does NOT give any power to the Residents' Assembly, and it is anyway impossible for a small group to proclaim themselves to be the “Residents' Assembly”. Let's keep our mental capacities functioning and think for ourselves. The Act makes sense. Their claims don't.
The appeal the Board filed in the Madras High Court against the judgement of Justice Abdul Quddhose shows this view. The Board disagrees that the three authorities mentioned in the Auroville Foundation Act, namely the Governing Board, the International Advisory Council, and the Residents' Assembly, jointly manage the Foundation. The Governing Board argues that it alone has the power, the superintendence and the management of the Foundation, and that Auroville cannot be administered by the people of Auroville. We have yet to see if the appeal bench of the High Court shares this view.
And here is the compulsory mention of the judgement of August 12th, 2022. The judgement, which stands annulled (see also episode 48) is being hailed as the apex of justice and the victory of truth over falsehood. However, since the judge ruled in favour of the Aurovillagers, his understanding of the deeper meanings of Auroville and the Mother's intentions is suddenly completely ignored. The judgement was given only a few months after the first case was filed, and hardly a month after the third case was filed. How much will this judge have learned about Auroville in two months? What would he have known before he was assigned these writ petitions? Why is it suddenly not at all an issue whether or not this person, who had to decide over extremely impacting aspects of Auroville, understands everything Claude wants the Governing Board members to understand?
Hypocrisy on display: when someone agrees with us, no matter how little experience of Auroville they may have: they are very knowledgeable about Auroville and understand it all perfectly. But when someone disagrees with us, no matter how long they are involved in Auroville: they have no clue, they are unaware of the very special status of Auroville and the very complex intricacies of what the Mother wanted with this project. It's a very revealing interview, if one reads it carefully.
But in my opinion, it goes against what The Mother wanted for Auroville.
Now we get to the core of the matter: all what the Governing Board does, goes against what the Mother wanted for Auroville. Because only the Aurovillagers can know what the Mother wanted. Conveniently, the Mother is no longer here to tell Claude that he can't speak for Her. So we just have to take his word that the Mother wanted that the people she called a “sub-humanity” would be in charge of Auroville, hijack Her project and turn it into an ecovillage instead of a spiritual city.
Secondly: it is a problem that the members of the Board do not stay in Auroville and are not approachable. Usually they receive information only from one source, e.g. the Office of the Secretary of the Auroville Foundation. During the chairmanship of Dr. Karan Singh, Dr. Kireet Joshi and Dr. M .S. Swaminathan, the Board members would stay 3-4 days in Auroville and individual Aurovilians could approach them directly, and there would always be a joint dinner at the end to which many Aurovilians would be invited. That personal interaction is not happening at present.
When I joined Auroville, the Foundation Office, the Governing Board and the whole lot was considered to be “the enemy”. I was informed that Auroville was for the Aurovillagers, and that these government officials should not be here at all. The less we saw of them, the better. I was therefore not at all at ease when I needed to go there, and only went when I had to, which was in fact only to sign the B-form when I became officially an Aurovilian. The Secretary was not present at that moment, and I spoke only with the Under-Secretary.
Apart from one very brief encounter with Mr. Chunkath, in his role as the Secretary of the Auroville Foundation and for my visa extension, I have never met with any member of the former Governing Boards. They were hardly ever in Auroville, maximum twice a year for two days, and the Aurovillagers decided what the program was and who would meet them. I fully doubt that the times that the Board members “stayed 3-4 days in Auroville” were more than 2 or 3. On the contrary, the present Governing Board is more involved in Auroville than any Board of the past 30 years. Let's be clear: that is exactly the crime they are committing according to the Aurovillagers: “they meddle in our internal affairs”!
Moreover, the community is not informed when and where a Board meeting is scheduled to happen; many Board meetings are held outside Auroville or on Zoom; and the minutes are published months afterwards, such as the minutes of its July and November 2022 meetings which were only published in March 2023.
Here are the figures:
The former Governing Boards had 56 meetings in 30 years, which comes down to less than 2 meetings per year.
The present Governing Board has held 6 meetings in less than 1.5 years, which comes down to 4 meetings per year. Only 2 were held outside of Auroville.
Who's doing more work here? Who's more engaging with Auroville here? Who is giving more time and energy to Auroville and the most important function they perform?
So we can't interact directly with them, tell them about our work, our problems, our concerns, our aspirations; neither do they have an opportunity to share their observations directly with the residents. Most of the Aurovilians are very much aware of their own limitations, and would always welcome constructive criticism, which is very different from defamation.
Once again, the hypocrisy here is as dense as it gets. First of all: the Aurovillagers themselves have, and are today even more so, boycotting all collaboration with the Governing Board and its Secretary. Read the Stand for Auroville Unity and Auroville News sites and see for yourself how much they call for action against all that the Governing Board has done and is doing. They have insulted the Secretary and the Board, in extremely crude ways. They have gone to court against the Governing Board. They display their lack of maturity – and even the most basic notions of decency and respect – in a way that can only come from an extreme sense of entitlement, which is obviously totally misplaced in any project that claims to have a spiritual basis. The mention of “defamation” is especially vile, as they themselves have created “reports” and video series in which they slander Madam Secretary in every possible way, going as far as to call her a “Nazi” and “fascist”. The only thing that is hard to grasp is why these people are still allowed to remain in India.
At this point, the article shows a picture of Claude Arpi greeting the Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, at the occasion of his visit to Auroville for its 50th anniversary in 2018.
Now why do Claude and Auroville Today need to insert a picture of this short moment? I remember that there were loads of people in Auroville who of course wanted to meet the Prime Minister when he was here. Even the attendance of his speech in the Auditorium was limited, and people needed to sign up for it to be allowed in.
Why was the Prime Minister visiting Auroville in the first place? You would think that this was something that would have been proposed by Delhi, but it was nothing of the sort. The Aurovillagers, drunk on their own inflated ego's self-given “importance”, had lobbied in Delhi until a visit was agreed to. So obviously, the cult leaders all met and had the selfie with the Prime Minister.
“No politics in Auroville”, we see how much they care for the Mother's words.
The wondrous irony of it all is that this visit brought Auroville on the Prime Minister's radar, and in combination with Vikram Ram's accusations and court case, put the wheels in motion for the present clean-up of Aurovillage. God works in mysterious ways, and we can only be grateful that finally, the power of their cult is being curtailed, once and for all.
AVToday: How do you see the role of the Governing Board and the Government of India?
Claude: Let's make it abundantly clear that the Auroville Foundation is an independent statutory organisation, and not a part of the Indian Government.
I would like to understand how anything in the Auroville Foundation Act justifies Claude to say this. This is Section 3 of the Act (Section 1 allows the title of the Act to be shortened, and Section 2 gives the definitions of the main terms used in the Act):
ACQUISITION AND TRANSFER OF UNDERTAKINGS OF AUROVILLE
3. Transfer to, and vesting in, the Central Government of certain undertakings of the Society, trusts and bodies.—On the appointed day, so much of the undertakings of the Society, trust and body as form part of, or are relatable to Auroville, and the right, title and interest of the Society, trust and body, in relation to such undertakings, shall, by virtue of this Act, stand transferred to, and vested in, the Central Government.
The Auroville Foundation is a “body corporate” under the Ministry of Education (formerly the Ministry of Human Resource Development). The Minister of Education has to sign off on certain documents of the Governing Board, and the Auroville Foundation has to answer to the Ministry of Education.
For all intents and purposes, Auroville is a project under the Central Government and cannot be claimed to be anything else. This has been the result of the Aurovillagers' fight against the Sri Aurobindo Society, they are the reason why this is so today.
What does Claude Arpi mean with his statement? Where is the proof of what he says, and what is his intention when he says this?
Regarding the Government's role: We can only be grateful to the successive Indian governments for their unmitigated support of Auroville, starting with Prime Minister Ms. Indira Gandhi who gave her full support in the 1970s and early 1980s, the more so as she was dedicated to The Mother. It was her government that submitted the first resolutions on Auroville at UNESCO.
Once again: everyone who does what we want is great and divine, and everybody who does not do what we want is the devil incarnate. It is quite simplistic and I hope that by now, it becomes more and more obvious to all how this game is being played.
I once visited her house in New Delhi, which is now a museum. A copy of a volume of Mother's Agenda was on a table near her bed. That was very touching.
Indira had a deep reverence for The Mother; the Agenda contains many instances of her contact with the Mother during the 1971 war in Bangladesh and earlier in 1962 during the invasion of India by China.
Yes, we all know about the relationship of the Mother and Indira Gandhi. It was deep and important. Still: “No politics in Auroville”. Seems not to have been taken at heart much in Aurovillage.
Subsequent governments continued that support, such as in the form of creating a special visa policy for Auroville and through the giving of yearly and special grants. Prime Minister Modi too has been very positive about Auroville, as we learned
from his speech given in Auroville on the occasion of Auroville's 50th anniversary.
It was confirmed to me personally by French President Mr. Macron, who I met at a reception in Delhi in March 2018. He mentioned to me that he had met with Prime Minister Modi, who had spoken in very positive words about Auroville. A senior official of the French embassy in New Delhi later told me that Mr. Modi had spoken about Auroville even earlier, in April 2015, when he had gone to UNESCO in Paris, and offered flowers to Sri Aurobindo's statue there.
Did anybody say “No politics in Auroville”? If that was meant to be taken seriously, I don't think it was said clearly enough? And the pattern of “whoever does what we want is the good guy” is not too much shoved in our face for comfort?
The Government's role, in my opinion, should be to protect and support Auroville – which means protecting the lands of Auroville against speculators, helping to acquire lands to consolidate the city and greenbelt areas, helping to build
accommodation for those who want to join Auroville, but do not have the funds to contribute to a house or apartment, and giving a protection for visas to the foreign-born Aurovilians who have chosen to live here.
Strangely enough, that is exactly what this Governing Board is doing and working on. Securing of the lands is taken up on a scale that has not been seen here in 48 years. All the efforts to get full government protection of Auroville's Master Plan area that the Aurovillagers blocked, stalled and refused to take forward, are now being pursued with all trails blazing. To the utter dismay of the Aurovillagers (read their website), huge housing projects are being prepared, with a shift towards the “free housing for work” policy that the Mother had envisaged for Auroville.
For some reason, Claude pretends to not be aware of it? Why is he so antagonistic to this Governing Board if they do exactly what he says they should be doing?
I am not arguing that the Government should not take action against foreigners who do mischief. Those should be dealt with according to the law. But those who have worked in Auroville for the best part of their lives and donated their savings to Auroville should be guaranteed the right to stay. Many, if they were told to leave India, would have nowhere to go and have no funds to sustain themselves.
What exactly is being argued here? That Aurovillagers de longue date have to be allowed to stay in India and Auroville, no matter what they do or did, out of some misplaced pity? If the Aurovillagers had kept some part of their brain functioning, and not been living in a delusion bubble in which they rule over an Aurovillage that is not a part of India, they would have kept the reality of being granted a visa in their consciousness. No matter how long people have been living here, they are not suddenly above the law and entitled to a life-long, irrevocable visa by the Indian Government? What kind of nonsense is this? First of all, a spiritual path does not allow for such things to disturb one's life, let alone to get into a state of “fear and anxiety”. That is the total opposite of the least bit of spiritual growth. We are supposed to surrender the outer circumstances to the Divine, and to accept them with equanimity, and focus on the inner connection with the Divine which no instance in the world can sever. Secondly, if these people want to remain in India, they have only to comply with Indian law, and to have some basic respect for the Indian Government and its officers. Who in their right mind will start a rebellion against the government that they depend on for a visa, as they are foreigners here? What are these people thinking?
Thirdly, if they really wanted to be guaranteed a stay in India, and if they live here since so long, they can apply for Indian citizenship and do away with the visa issue altogether? Indians have the life-long right to live in India. Oh wait, in order to be eligible, they need to give up their so precious Western passport, and they need to speak an Indian language. I guess that's not what colonials do, do they now? No, colonials dictate terms to the indigenous governments and make demands that have to be granted without fail. Just like Claude does.
AVToday: And the role of the Governing Board?
Claude: To give the freedom to the residents of Auroville to grow and develop, including the freedom of making mistakes.
Unsurprisingly, Claude advocates that the Aurovillagers need to be given total freedom to do here whatever they want, to be colonials if they want, to “make mistakes” for another few centuries, in short: to rule over an independent kingdom, with no accountability, no restrictions, no “interference” from whomsoever, least of all the Government of India. The sheer insanity of such a demand should be striking to anybody, and confirms the claims made earlier in this blog.
And, of course, to support the full functioning of Auroville's Residents' Assembly and the working groups chosen by it, such as the Working Committee, the Town Development Council, the Entry Board, the Auroville Council and the Funds and Assets Management Committee with its subgroups the Budget Coordination Committee and the Housing Board.
Please read episodes 48 and 49. What Claude is asking here, is a total violation of the Auroville Foundation Act and its subordinate legal documents.
As anyone can find out for themselves, the committees created by the Governing Board are the Governing Board's prerogative and have nothing to do whatsoever with the Residents' Assembly. The Residents' Assembly has nothing to “choose” in this matter.
The Working Committee is legally defined in the Act as the representatives of the Residents' Assembly to the Governing Board, to make sure the Governing Board can hear the thoughts and feedback of the Aurovilians without having to meet thousands of people all at the same time or one after the other.
The Town Development Council is a committee of the Governing Board created under section 16.2 of the Act, and through Standing Order 12. The Residents' Assembly has no role in this committee whatsoever.
The Entry Board does not legally exist. The 2020 Regulations call for the creation of an “Admission committee” which the Aurovillagers are now quickly equating with their Entry Board. The creation of this Entry Board in 2016, is a long story that is extremely revealing of how the Aurovillage cult leadership uses “community processes” as it wishes and changes everything whenever it feels that things are not going in the direction it has chosen. Controlling who is allowed to live in Auroville and who is not, has always been one of the core pillars of their appropriation of the Auroville project. Auroville, as the Mother defined it, is supposed to belong to nobody in particular, and open for all men of goodwill who want to participate in a collective experiment to give a material expression to the spiritual reality of human unity, as described by Sri Aurobindo. Aurovillage has always been a closed cult for the selected chosen ones (they actually make claims in this vein if you look into what they have said over the decades – see Claude's answer about the Governing Board members not “getting” that Auroville is the place for special beings like the Aurovillagers). Needless to say, this issue is being looked into seriously by the Governing Board, as it is crucial for Auroville's growth according to the Mother's wishes. The admission of persons to Auroville has to be an objective and simple procedural issue, depending on one's contribution through work, and not a question of adhering to a cult narrative and paying homage to cult leaders.
The Auroville Council equally does not exist legally. It is an internal body that has over the past year shown to be a bastion of Aurovillagers, used exclusively for the rebellion against the changes that the Governing Board started implementing in order for Auroville to become the Mother's Dream. The AVC is nothing but a hub for the antagonistic power-craving Aurovillagers, and has at this moment no meaning for Auroville, except as a hindrance.
The Funds and Assets Management Committee was constituted by the Governing Board in the 1997 Auroville Rules, under section 16.2 of the Auroville Foundation Act. As with the TDC, the Residents' Assembly has absolutely nothing to do with this committee. The subgroups of the FAMC are obviously also purely accountable to the Governing Board, and let me remind once again that the Governing Board has all the rights to appoint members and decide what these groups and committees do or don't do, as they exist for no other reason than to help the Governing Board in its management of Auroville.
When Claude wants the Governing Board to “fully support” the RA, all he says is that he wants the past way of functioning to continue, in which the Governing Board did nothing else but approve of everything the Aurovillagers did or didn't do.
This is my view. We have shown between 1988 and 2021 that we could harmoniously work with the Governing Board and the Government.
Exactly as said before. The talking points are endlessly repeated: the people who do what we say are good guys. The Chairman of the past Governing Boards (one same person for almost the entirety of the past 30 years), Dr. Karan Singh, has allowed the Aurovillagers to usurp the powers and duties of the Governing Board, with the Governing Board being reduced to an almost ceremonial function.
That is completely counter to the directives of the Auroville Foundation Act, and now that this new Governing Board is taking up its legal responsibilities, Claude Arpi is not pleased. “We have harmony as long as you do what we want.” Seems like a very simplistic and unspiritual definition of harmony, doesn't it? What the Mother and Sri Aurobindo have been working for is the total opposite: to effectuate a fundamental and lasting change away from such old, petty and selfish social organisation.
AVToday: The Secretary has spoken about bringing 1,000 volunteers to
Auroville. What is your view on this?
Claude: The first obvious question is of course, why?
Could it possibly be to do the work that the Aurovillagers are boycotting and unwilling to do, Claude? Just a suggestion...
In principle, we welcome whoever wants to join, but we never advertised for people to come and join Auroville.
Aurovillage was never meant to become the Mother's city of 50,000 inhabitants. Controlling who came to live here has been crucial to the Aurovillagers from day one. The Entry Service has always been notorious for its harsh and extremely unwelcoming attitude, discouraging people from joining Auroville, and putting all the focus on how much money they would bring to Auroville. Claude admits the importance of the financial issue in Aurovillage in his further answer below. If Aurovillage did not advertise for people, they certainly actively advertised to get money from people. They set up a whole network of “AVI”s, Auroville International centres, which needed to spread the “good cause” around the world and get funds flowing in. Unfortunately, that meant that people often also came to have a look at this magical place where everyone lives in peace and harmony without money and politics. But well, in order to keep that in check, the Entry Service was created, which was changed into the Entry Board in 2016.
The growth is organic.
Is this a decree? A law? Is it just a statement of the past reality? What exactly is being said here?
Who decides that “the growth is organic”? Did the Mother ever say something like that? Does it have to be like that? And even if it is “organic”, what are the conditions for it to be considered “organic” or not? Is the Entry Service or the Entry Board not filtering people? How “organic” is that?
If it is made difficult to join Auroville, the growth will be very small. One can pretend that that is “organic” growth, but is this not ordinary gate-keeping, artificially making sure that very few people can join Auroville?
Has this idea come up because the Board is not satisfied with the cooperation of the Aurovilians or because they want a spurt in the population growth?
The level of the absurdity of this question is award-winning.
The Aurovillagers have been extremely hostile to the Governing Board from the moment it was clear that there would be an end to the appropriation of the powers of the Governing Board by this dominant faction, and to the hijacking of the Mother's Auroville. They have started a violent and indecent smear-campaign, trying to physically block all the work undertaken. The development of the Galaxy is still impeded by the NGT case they filed against the Governing Board.
Asking whether the Governing Board might possibly be “not satisfied with the cooperation of the Aurovilians” is of a level of hypocrisy that defies description.
And the population of Auroville has clearly been kept artificially low: the Mother wanted a city for 50,000 persons, and after 55 years, there are not even 3,000. That cannot be justified or excused: there are many people who want to join Auroville but are not allowed to do so by the Aurovillagers. Those who have seen the hypocrisy have left, mostly because they were incapable of dealing with the bullying that people who do not agree with the cult leadership have had to endure. The Governing Board wants Auroville to make up for all of the lost time, and develop into the City the Mother had envisaged as fast as possible. Anyone with the least bit of brain power left can see this.
Then, where are these volunteers going to be housed, and what are they going to do? Are they going to take over jobs from Aurovilians? Most importantly, what is the motivation and what is the quality of aspiration for these people to come to Auroville?
Here we see again that the Aurovillage cult is suspicious of every possible new Aurovilian, as they might not have come to join their cult, and might put their hijacking of the real Auroville in danger by exposing the truth.
One of the biggest problems that Auroville has, is the lack of persons who work. There are plenty of Aurovillagers who enjoy living here part-time, having income from abroad, and who do not contribute at all to Auroville through work. The lack of skills and the lack of Aurovilians who actually want to do manual work is astronomical. Aurovillage is made up of Westerners who claim to be very special and highly skilled, but who turn out to be self-aggrandising windbags who mainly hang around and are not meaningfully contributing. Everywhere there are hands needed. Those Aurovilians who are willing to work, have to take up three tasks to keep things running. Without the thousands of paid labourers who come to make Auroville a physical reality every day, the present set-up would simply collapse and fall back into a very primitive state.
I remember when Prime Minister Modi visited Auroville in 2018, a group of people was to present different aspects of Auroville. Like the others, I was allotted a subject, but when Mr. Modi arrived in front of me, I suddenly changed my topic and quoted a discussion with Mother in the Agenda of 4th April 1972, when Mother says: ''Coming to Auroville does not mean coming to an easy life – it means coming to a gigantic effort for progress''. I also explained that Aurovilians do not own any
immoveable assets; even assets created with personal funds belong to Auroville. “Auroville is not for everybody” I concluded. I don't regret having changed my script.
In typical colonial Aurovillage style, Claude Arpi took the occasion of meeting with the Prime Minister of India to lecture him about how special the Aurovillagers are. He is proud that he made it clear that Aurovillage is a cult, for the “chosen ones”. Any reflection on what such moment may have meant for the Prime Minister is wasted on Claude: he is pleased with himself and his colonial attitude, and is incapable of seeing beyond his indoctrination.
The present-day reality of Aurovillage also shows how much of the “gigantic effort for progress” has been realised: a colonial cult is not really a “progressive” achievement, is it?
Those who complain about the slow population growth of Auroville should realize that, to join Auroville, you have to find or build accommodation, e.g. a house or an apartment. But as all immoveable assets are owned by the Auroville Foundation -
there aren't many possibilities to rent - people have to make a non-refundable donation to the Auroville Foundation to the value of the house or apartment, in order to become its steward. Nowadays, we are talking about amounts between 30-60 lakh rupees [US$ 35,000 - $ 70,000]. Losing the right to stay in Auroville (or, in the case of foreigners, losing the right to stay in India) means losing one's donation, and that is not an attractive proposition.
This is very interesting. Just watch how everything is being turned upside-down, as if the consequences of the cult's actions are suddenly not the logical and wanted results, but “accidents” that someone else is to blame for.
Keep in mind that the Mother wanted Auroville to have no money at all, and that The Dream clearly states “where money would no longer be the sovereign lord”. When I first discovered Auroville, I bumped into a disillusioned Aurovilian who left Auroville because “They claim to be a “city without money”, but the only thing that matters and that they talk about is money!”
The situation that Claude describes has nothing to do whatsoever with the Mother's Auroville. She never, ever, anywhere said that Aurovilians have to come with enough money to build a house for themselves. It's the total opposite of what She wanted: She wanted the City to be built fast, before the Aurovilians came, so that they all could be housed properly, and give their work and energy to Auroville.
The people that Claude and his gang are fighting against and are labelling “illegal”, are putting up mechanisms to finally once and for all put a stop to this insanity that aspirant-Aurovilians need to bring a huge sum of money with them, in order to even have a roof over their head. It is exactly the Aurovillage cult that has created this absurd situation: nobody ever said it had to be like that, on the contrary. All efforts to receive the huge sums needed to develop the city were thwarted, and the Aurovillagers have always made sure that anybody with the goodwill to move this task forward, was discouraged and forced to let go and leave Auroville, highly disillusioned.
We can be only happy and grateful that this most central aberration of Aurovillage, the fact that huge personal investments are demanded, and that these investments consequently bring a de facto ownership that has no place in the real Auroville, is finally being corrected and rooted out.
AVToday: What are your thoughts about the future?
Claude: I hope that the appeal judgement will clarify how Auroville is to be managed. Whatever the outcome, we must find solutions for solving the disharmonious situations that have arisen.
We don't need this judgement to have clarity. It is only in the minds of the Aurovillagers that there is no clarity, as they have convinced themselves that the Auroville Foundation Act means something else than it means. The Act describes clearly how Auroville is to be managed. The only problem is that the Aurovillagers don't like it, and want to have all the power to themselves. That is never going to be legalised, and they will therefore not like the outcome of the appeal: it will give them the clarity that we had since more than 30 years, namely that the Auroville residents are here to DO Auroville, and the Governing Board has the task of governing and managing Auroville.
Consequently, the “disharmonious situations that have arisen” are purely the result of the Aurovillagers rebelling against this reality. It is plain for everyone to see that from the moment they stop boycotting the Governing Board, filing court cases against the Governing Board, publishing endless smear campaigns against the Governing Board, that if that stops, the disharmony will disappear as well.
The Governing Board and the Secretary have always asked for cooperation and collaboration. The door has always been wide open. But Aurovilians who want to walk through that door are threatened and blackmailed by the Aurovillagers, that they will not be allowed to remain in Auroville once the Aurovillagers get back in power. Anyone can see that such a situation is a deliberate, wanted, self-created “disharmonious situation”. It can be ended on the spot, if they want to.
Some people say that we have to pursue mediation or what was done in that South Africa, truth and reconciliation.
Does Claude mean the huge efforts to find a new balance and mutual understanding after the collapse of the Apartheid system in “that South Africa”, a part of Africa that had been brutally colonised for a few centuries, and in which Western settlers had treated the local population as non-humans, slaves and disposables? Is that what he is comparing the situation in Auroville to?
If this is an acknowledgement of the nasty colonial situation in Auroville, where the local population is being degraded to lesser beings, I'm quite happy with his willingness to admit that we have a problem.
But somehow, his words smell of nothing else than more self-aggrandisement and an inflated ego, pretending that these very petty and stupid Aurovillage boycotts are something way more earth-shattering than just old-school selfishness and bad-will.
Another issue is that Auroville must find new ways of functioning and introduce more freedom and less control.
Such statements can only leave one speechless.
Aurovillage is the aberration that results from a too long allowed extreme abuse of freedom, of license that became entitlement and lawlessness, to the point that the Government of India had to step in, in order to avoid huge scandals and embarrassment.
The Aurovillagers have laughingly wiped their blessed behinds with any concept of discipline and accountability, showing the middle finger to everybody who dared to suggest that some form of administrative structure would be required.
And they now claim that it wasn't enough?
What level of delusional are we on by now?
A former Secretary, Mr. Bala Baskar, once said that Auroville had added its own bureaucracy on top of the horrendous Indian bureaucracy. That has to change.
Most people do not understand the concept of “bureaucracy”. I've heard many people in Auroville complain about the bureaucracy here, but in fact, there is none.
Bureaucracy is an administrative service that has gone overboard and lost its aim. Administration is a tool, a help to manage small or large organisations. It needs to be at the service of these organisations, and make sure that more complex processes or information streams are handled smoothly and as easily as possible.
Very often, due to lack of understanding and overview of larger processes, people have turned administration into a goal in itself, and turned it into a complex machinery that serves itself and other parts of the machine, instead of the persons for whom the machine was invented in the first place. When this happens, administration becomes bureaucracy: a self-serving complexity of administrative nonsense that has no real goal for society.
Aurovillage on the other hand has never wanted any administration, and the Aurovillagers pride themselves for being so highly evolved that they don't need any administration anymore: that's for lesser beings, not for them. Obviously some administration is unavoidable in any society, and because of its utter disdain for centralised administration, Aurovillage has created only ordinary chaos. Just plain chaos, unorganised, disconnected bits and pieces of administrative work that each perform a small task in their little corner, unwilling to even look at anything beyond their desk. The extreme individualism that Aurovillage is built upon, is also here having its negative results. This is not bureaucracy. This is just dumb, unorganised rubbish.
Let's mention in passing that Mr. Bala Baskar's son is the Aurovillagers' main lawyer for their court cases.
In the larger perspective, I rely on what Mother said when she started Auroville: “The city will be built by what is invisible to you. The men who have to act as instruments will do so despite themselves. They are only puppets in the hands of larger Forces. Nothing depends on human beings – neither the planning, nor the execution – nothing! That is why one can laugh.” [September 1969] That is our only support in these difficult times.
It is great that Claude and his gang take support in the Mother's words. The only problem I see is that they cannot apply them to themselves, and think they are about others. When you speak with Aurovillagers, you will always find that they cannot imagine Auroville without them. They identify Auroville with their little persons, and are convinced that if they are not here, Auroville does not exist.
It's painful to see how they can be so full of themselves, but that concept of “We are Auroville!” “We are the Foundation!” is exactly how the whole project of Auroville was diverted to become their Aurovillage in the first place. “Auroville will be, in spite of the Aurovilians”, said the Mother. I guess the so self-engrossed Aurovillagers find less support in thàt quote.