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The city of the future: Auroville – A Dream: Envisioning an Ideal Society

…a place where the needs of the spirit and the care for progress would get precedence over the satisfaction of desires and passions, the seeking for pleasures and material enjoyments.

The Mother

Have you ever imagined what an ideal city might look like with no pollution, no traffic jams and full of happy and contented people? Well, that is not a fantasy anymore. There is a city in South India, 10km of Pondicherry, founded by the Mother (Mirra Alfassa) and the architect Roger Anger. The name Auroville means City of Dawnin French and also refers to Sri Aurobindo, who was the spiritual collaborator of the Mother.

How has this wonderful dream started?

In 1954 the Mother spelled out an alternative formula for a new way of living and described a new society that is balanced, just, harmonious and dynamic. Back in those days she saw that “the earth is not ready to realise such an ideal” and therefore called it ‘A Dream’. By 1965, the time had come to specify the centre of Auroville. Roger Anger, the French architect who was asked by the Mother to design the future town, brought to her a map of the area north of Pondicherry. She at the Ashram and had probably never been in that area. She pointed to a particular area on the map. The architect took a jeep and drove her to the area where she had pointed at a solitary banyan tree in an almost totally barren plateau. The Mother was delighted about the presence of a banyantree, as this tree is regarded to be sacred in India, and decided to make it Auroville’s geographical centre.

A Dream

In the vision of the Mother there should be a place on Earth which no nation could claim as its own, where all human beings of goodwill who have sincere aspiration could live in freedom as citizens of the world and obey one single authority, that of the supreme Truth and a place of peace, concord and harmony where all the fighting instincts of man would only be used to conquer the causes of his suffering and miseries, to triumph over his limitations and incapacities. Moreover, in this place, children would be able to grow and develop integrally without losing contact with their souls and education would enrich their knowledge and experience.
Instead of giving out titles and positions there would be opportunities provided to serve and organise. The bodily needs would be equally provided for just as all forms of art like painting, sculpture, music and literature would be accessible to everyone (and not limited by social or financial position).
One might raise the crucial question of the role of money in this ideal society. Money is the `lord` that divides people and creates different social classes. In this vision the worth of the individual has far more importance than material wealth.
In a nutshell, it would be a place where human relationships, which are normally based almost entirely on competition, would be replaced by relationships of emulation in doing well, of collaboration and real brotherhood. [1]

 The Mother   

(image source:www.flickr.com)

What is life like in Auroville today?

Today Auroville gives home to more than 2,000 people — writers, artists, doctors, engineers, chefs, teachers, farmers, students etc. — from over 40 countries, and not to mention all regions of India. It looks like a lushly-forested university campus, this township is still evolving.
The residents of this unique township do not use currency inside Auroville,but they are given account numbers (connected to their main account) and transactions are done via an‘aurocard’which works like a debit card.
In Auroville basic healthcare facilities and electricity are freely available to everyone. Schooling is also free and there are no exams, instead, kids are encouraged to learn the subjects of their choice and at their own pace. As far as maintenance regarded, the residents provide manpower and make contributions to the foundation on a monthly basis.
Auroville also gives home to many futuristic experiments, ranging from energy and ecology to economics and education. These experiments include a one-of-its-kind collective provisioning operation, Pour Tous, in which members contribute a certain amount monthly and then take whatever they feel they need, without having to pay for the individual items provided.
Moreover, thanks to years of intensive silviculture, Auroville’s sprawling forests are counted among India’s most successful afforestation projects.
When the township celebrated its 50thanniversary on 28thFebruary, 2018, waters from 100 countries all over the world were poured down into an urn at the amphiteatre [2]

Whether one plans a short visit or longer stay in Auroville, it can be a special and eye-opening experience broadening the mind and giving a new vision of an alternative future.

[1] Website www.betterindia.comis about sharing stories of innovators, pioneers and connecting communties with the help of technology; no infringement of copyright is intended

[2] Websitewww.betterindia.comis about sharing stories of innovators, pioneers and connecting communties with the help of technology; no infringement of copyright is intended