A date with Utopia
Few months back trying to streamline my life, I made a bucket list. Among the first ten was “visit Auroville”. Who knew at that time that it won’t be anything lesser than a miracle that suddenly I and my husband decide to go down south and our itinerary would include Auroville. It was just a quick date with a Utopia known as Auroville while on the way back to Chennai from Puducherry.
I agree that one day is nothing to know about Auroville but it is surely enough to get a feel of the thought behind it. One more important thing I realised that Auroville is not only the golden dome of MatriMandir, it is much more deeper than that.
What is Auroville?
Auroville is a living Utopian dream to become a perfect global town, free of politics, religion and money. The main idea of Auroville is to have a place for humanity that can play the part of the bridge between the past and the future. It won’t be wrong to consider Auroville as the city of spiritual researchers in the field of human unity.
Auroville is a township for a population of up to 50,000 people from around the world. ‘Auroville’ meaning the ‘City of Dawn’ was conceived by Mirra Alfassa, better known as ‘The Mother’ as an experimental township in the state of Tamil Nadu. She was a close aide to Shri Aurobindo, who was based in Pondicherry. ‘The Mother’ developed ‘Auroville’ in 1965 with the vision of a city of universal oneness.
The city ‘Auroville’ was formally inaugurated on the 28th February, 1968. This event was attended by representatives of 124 nations and all the states of India.
The Aurovillians belong to almost 50 nations. According to the recent reports the population of Auroville township presently is around 2,500 people, out of whom one-third are Indians. These are from various age groups, social classes, international and national ethnicity and cultures. They can undoubtedly be proudly called ‘representatives of humanity’.
Auroville is endorsed by UNESCO and supported by the Government of India as an ‘International experiment of living in human unity’, while being internationally known as an experimental centre of applied research for practices in, human unity, environmental sustainability, new education system, social research and various cultural activities along with transformation of consciousness and spirituality.
Economic survival of Auroville
Various cottage industries related to aromatherapy incense, soap, handmade paper, recycled stuff, clothes and books etc are the backbone of Auroville’s economy. Not only that Auroville gets aid from Indian Government. The Aurovillians too are committed and bound by the rules of township to contribute on a monthly basis to keep the Utopian dream living. It is common knowledge that in the summer months most of the foreign residents go back to their respective countries to earn money and later come back to live in Auroville. Most of the local economy depends upon the foreigners their local small industries and homes.
Auroville, a flourishing ecosystem
The most beautiful aspect of Auroville was the greenery and the commitment for preserving the ecosystem. Auroville is a complete forest created on a barren piece of land. As a visitor I have personally felt the lower temperature and cleaner air as compared to nearby areas. It surely was such a pleasure to walk amidst the green trees while going to MatriMandir.Each and every nook and corner of Auroville warmed my heart observing the way the township is taking steps to preserve the environment.
The walk towards Matri Mandir was something that I would cherish lifelong.
There are well kept sidewalks with nature intact and amazing peace.
Auroville has the solar power plant and after sunset helps the beam to light up the crystal in the inner chamber inside the Golden metallic sphere.
How Aurovillians are taking care of nature is visible in that more than 100 years old huge Banyan tree which has many stone benches for the visitors to rest.From the small decorative Urli with fresh flowers next to the donation box near Matri Mandir……
….. to the pretty, painted round rocks……
…..sand formation in the shape of fishes with fins of old CDs…..
to the light reflectors made with coloured glass bottles and chimes hanging from the tree branches, each and every smallest thing displays the commitment of Aurovillians towards their chosen cause.
What’s wrong with us?
During my one day visit to Auroville, I asked myself repeatedly, “What is wrong with us Indians?” It was Christmas and there were many Indian visitors in Auroville. On one side it was a beautifully proud sight to see all foreign nationals sitting quietly and meditating, while on the other hand my head was hanging in shame observing the native Indians causing havoc there. They were leaving no stone unturned to make this peaceful town look just like any other picnic spot.Despite the instructions to ‘Be Quiet’ all were ensuring high decibels of noise all around. There were kids with parents throwing wrappers, paper cups and plates all around. The most irritating fact was that none of the parents were rebuking them for breaking the rules. That day I realised that more than spirituality or gaining knowledge, most of the people were just concerned about going live on Facebook and Instagram. Kids and young people were shouting, making noise around MatriMandir too. Then we talk about Indians not being respected by outsiders.
Why are we Indians so undisciplined? Why do we Indians lack the kind of commitment which the foreigners have for Auroville? My one day in Auroville ended with a peaceful mind but a sad heart.
I struck off ‘Visit Auroville’ from my bucket list but added a new one…. ‘Spend a month in Auroville.’