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Aurovillage 56

Probably inspired by the famous propaganda and brainwashing outlet Voice of America, the Aurovillagers have created a magazine they called Voice of Auroville, which obviously is the Voice of Aurovillage and nothing else. It won't be long before their abuse of the name of Auroville will have consequences, as they cannot legally be allowed to spread lies and falsehood pretending to speak for “Auroville”. They have hijacked this project and its name for more than 50 years, and we are witnessing the end of that. They have already lost all power to effect the material reality of Auroville, and soon they will have lost the right to “speak for Auroville” or pretend to be “the Auroville community”. In a few years, they will be only some faint negative voice outside of Auroville, and nothing more than a black page in Auroville's history.

The magazine is a textbook example of how to influence opinion with credible-sounding non-information or misinformation, or simply outright lies. Mainly playing on emotions, making claims to authority and simply positing statements that have to be taken at face value – which because of their boldness will effectively be taken as authoritative by many uninformed readers –, it tries to claw its way into people's brains and perceptions, and create the semblance that they are somehow the legitimate heirs to Auroville's throne – even though Auroville has no throne, and even though everybody can read the Auroville Foundation Act for themselves and see what the actual, real, legal situation is.

The second edition of this brainwashing tool is 28 pages long, and it is therefore not possible for me to debunk all of it. Luckily, they have published an adapted version of Claude Arpi's interview with Auroville Today (the Aurovillage propaganda-rag of old), which I have dissected in episode 50. I will not flatter myself by thinking that my pointing out of Claude's colonial and narcissistic attitude had any influence on them, but it is striking that they took out the most revealing passages and thereby changed the tone of the belligerent and entitled interview into a more mellowed-down and “acceptable” criticism of the Indian officers and dignitaries that the Aurovillagers are slandering since one and a half years.

As another example of what exactly these people shameless sell as “factual updates” “based on reliable sources”, I will give the background to a short item, part of the “update” section in which the Aurovillagers freely hand out bits and pieces of very concise misinformation, in their eternal style: just some claims that come out of nowhere, that are not sourced nor explained or given any context: you have no option but to either take them or leave them. Doing the latter is the wisest decision, as we will see.

Here's the snippet:

Capitalising on tourism

In June 2023, the AVFO announced its intention to restructure the hospitality sector of Auroville via the appointment of an external hotel consultant, in order to create an “Auroville hotel chain”. This followed the replacement in April of the executives of Visitors’ Center, and the reappointment by the AVFO of a Guest House Trust executive who had previously been dismissed from the role for proven mismanagement. In parallel, an entry fee was requested from tourists visiting Bharat Nivas - the Pavilion of India in Auroville, which had always been a freely accessible public space. All these elements seem to indicate a clear intention to capitalise on tourism.

Sounds very convincing, doesn't it? Sounds like a real, justified concern about very questionable things happening here.

But is it all true? Surely, these nice, trusted, lovely “sources” they claim to get their information from, will not have the audacity to just serve us plain, downright lies, right? Let's have a look.

Halfway through my newcomer-year, I got the opportunity to “buy” a studio in Creativity, which was a gift from heaven for me, as I was moving from place to place without a fixed place to live. (How I got these places and how I was blessed, in effect, by always getting a place to stay, even at the last moment, is in itself is a very interesting story, but we'll save it for another (rainy) day.)

In Aurovillage, you had to be “chosen” by your future neighbours if you want to live anywhere permanently, and part of the advantage of having me as a neighbour in Creativity, instead of someone else, was that I was very willing to run Creativity's small guest house. There was a vacancy for that job somehow, and it seemed to me a very pleasant way of serving Auroville: I was and am so passionate about Auroville that I can talk for days on end about it – and guests have obviously a thirst to know more about this special project that they are discovering.

Through this appointment as the guest house manager, I rolled into some administrative helping-out with the unit under which the Creativity guest house was registered at that time, called “Exploration”. I was then asked to be the representative for Exploration in the Guest Facilities Coordination Group, the working group that was trying to coordinate the management and development of Auroville's guest house sector – without much success, as the extreme individualism that Aurovillage was rooted in always and severely clashed with all attempts to streamline and centralise administration and management.

Over the years I became more and more the figurehead of a push for a centralised guest house management portal for Auroville, as even in 2015, Auroville had no digitalised record-keeping of its guests or guest rooms – a situation so far from normality that nobody visiting Auroville would believe it to be the reality.

In order to make changes possible and prevent the endless debates and blocking from people in positions of perceived power, the Exploration executives had been changed, and now included me. As can be expected in Aurovillage, the Exploration unit, even though legally registered under the Guest House Trust, was in effect created in 2007 as an “alternative” to the Guest House Trust, as even within the Aurovillage set-up, in-fighting was at the order of the day. A group of managers of small-scale guest houses was not in agreement with the ideas for overall management of the Guest House Trustees, and since they would not be able to create another trust any day soon (more trusts is a legal hassle and needs approval from the Governing Board, but another “guest house” trust was effectively created in 2016), they created this unit instead, under which they would be able to register and group as many small guest houses as they wanted, with an agreement from the trustees that they would be allowed to have their own management policies.

This kind of conflicting, split-off duplications of original singular set-ups is typical for Aurovillage where personal gain and individualism are the core values, and it happened in more or less every single branch of Aurovillage's economy – for as much as anything worthy of that name existed: profiteering had always been the main way of functioning, and a real functional economy that benefited the collective had obviously not been allowed to develop, in spite and total disregard of the fact that the way forward had been published in 2008 by outside experts (Henk and Manuel Thomas, Economics for people and earth, the Auroville case – 1968-2008)

Then in 2017, I was appointed as one of the Guest House Trustees, as I was by then, together with the trust accountant, looking after most of the Trust administration.

However, trying to bring the needed changes in the totally chaotic administrative mess, within the setting of Aurovillage – where certain leading figures needed to be convinced of the need for these changes and endorse them from “higher up”, and where, if a small group was very vocally against these changes, they could torpedo or at the very least “pause” (read: block) the proposed ideas – was a very difficult and emotionally exhausting battle. Aurovillage was not a nice place to live in, if one wasn't going along with the cult doctrine. Thousands of people have left it, disillusioned, discouraged or disgusted. Or simply bullied out, of course.

By the early months of 2021, an attempt was made to remove me as a trustee, executive and guest house manager: the Aurovillagers in the guest house sector had grouped together to find a way to stop the changes and keep their old ways of personally benefitting from Auroville's guests and the income they bring. Somehow, slandering and removing me seemed the way forward. They tried to fabricate claims that I had “stolen” guest payments, and claimed that “42 guest house managers” wanted me gone.

Comes July 2021, with the appointment of a new Secretary. This moment will go down in Auroville's history as a very decisive event, not because it in itself brought some revolution, but because her presence worked as the catalyst for the needed changes that were being attempted but blocked since many years. She was, so to speak, the battering-ram that broke the wall of resistance, but not the force that propelled the ram into the wall. That force was a build-up from many years and made up of many aspirations and needs.

The changes were wanted from within Auroville, but endlessly frustrated and impeded by the Aurovillagers, who pulled the strings and did not want to feel the winds of change, and not accept that their reign was coming to an end. The appointment of a new Secretary and new Governing Board were the inevitable result of their refusal, and a new era for Auroville can be said to have started on July 5th, 2021.

Shortly after that, the situation in Creativity regarding the guest house had become untenable. Already since more than a year, tension had become absurd, legalities for the first time started to play a role, as I wasn't going to just move aside because some people claim they have the power to dismiss whoever they don't like. The Code of Conduct for Trusts and Units had been circulated to see if anyone could find some legal ground to remove me from my positions – but they found nothing except the “exception clause”, which stipulates that in exceptional cases, if the Working Committee and the FAMC both agree that it is in the larger interest of Auroville to remove a trustee from their position, they can force the person to step down. They actually wanted to give that a try. As this was all so preposterous, I was for a long time very willing to fight the nonsense head-on. Stuff went up and down, with an attempt for reconciliation that turned out to be the last stage. The Aurovillage faction – there's one in every corner of Auroville where there is perceived power – was forcing me to take actions that were completely against my understanding of what Auroville is meant to be. As usual, the little kingdom (in this case Creativity) was lifted out of its Auroville context – let alone any context that involved living according to Mother's description and guidelines –, and personal comfort and living out colonial and power-tripping fantasies was defended as some kind of birth-right.

The hypocrisy had reached a level I could not cope with anymore. The kind of absurd and horrible meetings I was forced to attend became unbearable after all these years, and with the knowledge that the changes were already set in motion, I gave up my position as the Creativity guest house manager, and found another place of work (in Tanto's pizzeria, to my own utter surprise – a hugely interesting experience that was tough and very rewarding at the same time, although very disrupting for how I had been living all these years).

This change in time-schedule and stress-level made me unable to cope with the extra responsibilities as a Guest House Trustee and Exploration executive. I was not able to combine these jobs, and I resigned also as a trustee and an executive. With the changes that were coming, the Governing Board would be forced to face Auroville's guest house mess one day or another, probably within the next two years, and if I could be of any help at that moment, I would be happy to jump back in.

In December 2021, the issue of the clearing of the right-of-way of the Crown Road through the former “Bliss Forest / Youth Centre” and “Darkali” locations exploded into the full-scale media and court-case campaign that this blog has been denouncing from the start. It is in fact these events and the Aurovillagers' online actions that were the sole reason that I started writing. And also the reason why I quit my job at Tanto's and joined Auroville's Town Development Council (TDC) as an administrative aid, as I felt that this battle was my battle: I want to help the manifestation of the Mother's Auroville, and I felt and feel that my place is in the middle of these changes. With this personal story, I'm trying to describe the situation as I lived it. I do hope I'm not sounding like I'm blowing my own trumpet or putting a spotlight on me. I want to give some background and personal experience, as somehow it seems to be very relevant to the little text in Voice of Aurovillage quoted above.

Because, as it turns out, after reading it several times, I have come to the conclusion that they actually speak about me in this snippet. The person that is allegedly “dismissed from the role for proven mismanagement” can only be understood as intended to describe me.

Which is extremely strange, because what I have described above is what actually happened, and I request anyone to write to Voice of Aurovillage and ask who they are talking about here, what the “proven mismanagement” actually was, and who dismissed this person “from the role”. (That role btw is “trustee” – executives are appointed to units, trustees to trusts.)

The reason why I think it can only be me is clearly not because I recognise myself in the description of the “trustee dismissed for proven mismanagement” – that's exactly why I didn't at first understand who they were talking about. The reason is that there are presently three Guest House Trustees, and that I am the only one out of these three that was “reappointed” after a gap. One of the trustees is reappointed without having resigned or being removed, and the third is new. So it can in the end only be me. Although what they claim about me is a complete lie. Again: please ask for the proof, and prove that what I have written above is not what actually happened.

The rest of the false news snippet is very “interesting” too, by the way. The hypocrisy is very hard to describe here, as you would need to know a lot about how Aurovillage has been functioning over the past decades.

From very early on, the dominant cult faction looked for “easy money”. Anything that brought cash into their pockets was a justified endeavour, be it legal or illegal or moral or immoral. Fleecing newcomers was the method of getting things paid in the early days: there were no real tourists as there was no comfort to be gotten. Once again: only people with a real interest in either Auroville or Aurovillage came to stay here, with most of the people interested in Auroville leaving after some time, a lot poorer both financially and as in illusions about real-life utopias. Over the past two decades though, with the comfort level of Auroville's infrastructure and buildings rising steadily, tourism became the second “tap with gold pouring out”, and the whole present guest house mess became a pillar of Auroville's finances, including a ridiculous new-age winter-season “workshop” fair, when Auroville has more guests running around than Aurovilians. I always warned new guests who came during high season that they would meet mostly other guests and not Aurovilians, and that they would not experience Auroville during these months, but some strange seeker-roadshow that has temporarily set up shop in Auroville. The whole seasonal market-and-client circus appears out of nowhere, only to profit from the Western guests, who come mainly to hibernate and who are not necessarily interested in the Mother's Auroville. The whole affair has nothing to do with Auroville as the Mother described it anyway, so it's all one weird non-Aurovilian business, abusing the name of Auroville as a nice cover.

The covid-misery, with its lockdowns and travel restrictions, was a total disaster for Auroville's budget. That was not hidden at all, and it was impossible to hide: everybody knew that Auroville's income was enormously depending on the “guest season” and on selling all kinds of stuff and “services” to visitors, tourists, and guests.

But suddenly, today, out of nowhere, there seems to be a trend to “capitalise on tourism” that needs denouncing? Honestly, the level of hypocrisy here is off the scales.

The “Auroville hotel chain” they reference, is a word used to explain that the restructuring of the present totally individualistic mess is going to unite the best guest houses under one management, so that the guest houses function like a hotel chain instead of in competition with each other, as has been the case so far. There is no “creation” in the sense of building a new hotel chain from scratch, which is probably what the Aurovillagers want you to believe. I heard rumours that immense high-rise hotels are going to be built around the Auroville city area, overlooking Auroville, and that “the Chinese” are going to build them. If you find such stuff credible, please have your mental health checked.

For clarity: the Government of India has over the past decades pumped enormous amounts of money into Auroville, including into Bharat Nivas. This “Pavilion of India” was, apart from Matrimandir, about the first project being built in Auroville, while the Mother was still alive. It was a first piece of the Galaxy plan that was being constructed.

Aurovillage of course has hardly done anything with it. The many buildings in this compound are old (being some of the first buildings in Auroville) and need a lot of maintenance or even restoration, which is very costly. The auditorium is used often for cultural programs, many of which by top-quality Indian performers, but even though these performances are free to all, they attract generally very small audiences. Something is wrong here: high-quality performances and shows are provided for free, while having little attendance, resulting in financial losses for both the performers and the Bharat Nivas budget. With this very poor result of the past decades of management, the trustees of the Bharat Nivas Trust were recently changed, and the new team given the challenge to make this place vibrant and self-sufficient. A well-run, healthy cultural centre should make a profit instead of a loss. But of course, this logic and sane reasoning is once again something the Aurovillagers have to complain about and present as a deterioration, instead of a positive, fresh impetus. Everything that threatens their little, drab, ecovillage kingdoms and wants to create Mother's thriving and flourishing city can only be portrayed by them as harmful. Wherever light enters, darkness automatically dies, and therefore the darkness hates the light.

In relation to these lies and false narratives, I want to come back to the events of December 2021. After more than one and a half years, after all that has happened in this time, one of our very open-eyed Aurovilians brought the below video back into our consciousness, describing the crucial starting point of the whole fight on December 7th, 2021: the moment that the youth, who had come to an agreement about the Crown Road and the Youth Centre with Madam Secretary, were forced by the cult leaders to betray their promise and instead fight against the Governing Board, the Secretary and the unavoidable changes. This was the moment when the media campaign was launched, and when many people were emotionally blackmailed to join the cult leaders in their downfall.

If this moment had not happened, there would have been cooperation between Auroville's youth and the Foundation Office, and the whole misery of the past months would probably not have happened.

But the immature “elders” of Aurovillage, the people who claim to be so special and harmonious, so spiritual and devoted to human unity, decided that the Aurovilians would not be allowed to choose for themselves, but instead pushed forcibly into a resistance that was doomed to failure from the first moment.

These people are responsible for what all happened, and for the misery that many in Auroville have to go through now: they were dragged into a fight without being given the choice to make their own decision.

And now they all cry. They are angry, scared, sad, confused, lost. They are like someone in a casino who had been winning all evening, and at the last bet, waging “all or nothing”, lost. After the euphoria of the past 5 decades of living in a fictitious kingdom, they suddenly are pushed out of the dream into the reality where they are “only” ordinary, powerless persons. It's not a soft landing. But if they can manage to get the control over their brains back, they can start to assess the situation and find their way out of their delusion into the reality of today.

This video, taken immediately after the events, shows clearly what the truth is of the Aurovillage “help us, poor victims” fake narrative. It's one more piece of evidence that shows that Voice of Aurovillage is nothing but falsehood: propagating lies in order to make people support the perpetrators instead of the victims.

Anyone interested in the truth: check the facts for yourself, ask for proof.

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