Having watched the video ”Indian town's sex abuse claims" (BBC Newsnight), we are shocked to see a piece of the basest kind of journalism aired on a BBC channel.
We are familiar with Auroville, through having lived there, frequently visiting, and decades of service at International liaison level (Auroville International) in different countries. And while we appreciate that it isn't easy for a first-time visitor to understand the complex and sometimes delicate relationships between community and villages, nor perhaps to distinguish between Aurovilians and white visitors roaming in the area, we would have expected a BBC report to be based on a minimum of objectivity and verified information.
We had always considered BBC to uphold a high standard of professionalism, a belief that is shattered by this irresponsible, unresearched, mud-slinging tabloid video, hard to be classified as jounalism at all. We urge BBC to do some serious and meaningful enquiry into, and reporting on the reality of Auroville.
Aravinda & Jasmin Maheshwari
Auroville International, South Africa Liaison
Canada : Charlottetown PEI , C1A 3B2
South Africa : Cape Town
Regarding "Indian town's sex abuse claims", I regret that you have aired such a sensational and faultily researched program on Auroville - unprofessional to say the least. Auroville has had zero tolerance for any pedophilia since the very earliest days when I lived there beginning in 1971. Any such behavior has not and is not tolerated, and anyone proven to engage in it has always been immediately expelled.
I developed a handicraft training center there, providing craft training for men, women, and especially for village children who were not attending local schools. We provided a kindergarten with lunches, health care and language skills in Tamil, and the first running water into the local village. Hundreds of Tamil children came through this community and training center called Fraternity, and we never experienced a problem of this nature. And many joined Auroville as members over the years – ask Selvaraj, who, as a small boy with a small French girl, laid the cornerstone of Fraternity on 2-2-1972. Ask Dhandapani, Raman, Saroja and so many others who grew up both in villages and in Auroville. Like so many other Tamilians, they are now prominent members of Auroville and serving on many of its central committees. And especially ask Shankar, now head of the New Creation Bilingual School that you needlessly maligned. My wife and I are actively supporting it and will continue to do so.
I am confident that members of Auroville still uphold such high standards of behavior in relation to dealing with local children. I acknowledge that temporary visitors to Auroville must be more closely monitored; for a casual reporter, they may be hard to tell from a true member of Auroville.
As current Chair of Auroville International-USA, now living in the States, I ask BBC to return to Auroville with an objective reporter and conduct interviews to fully research the allegations that you have unfortunately aired. She or he would be greatly amazed at the complete story of Auroville in relation to the Tamil villagers over the last 40 years.
Wisconsin , USA
Home > Response to BBC broadcast - Donald Anello
Re: India Town´s sex abuse claims
I am really disappointed and saddened by the lack of professional and responsible reporting of such a very sensitive and emotionally charged topic as child abuse, and your offhanded presentation of the concept of Auroville, the Matrimandir and most importantly Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. Shame on you, Rachel Wright, you have painted all Aurovilians and devotees of Sri Aurobindo with the same dirty brush in the eyes of the world, your sensationalist story will be seen by millions of people all over the world, what were you trying to say, the video was even more offensive with your panning in on the pictures of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother as your breath hissed sexual abuse.
I have been to Pondicherry and Auroville many times, and I too feel as though things in Auroville need adjusting, but to imply that they are all a bunch of bums with no money is a total misrepresentation. The people in the villages around Auroville are the beneficiaries of the work going on within the community, 30€ is average wage, while in Pondicherry 100 rupees a day is common for labour.
The majority of Auroville's members are not white foreigners, they are Indian, and as the politician in the clip pointed out, the local police are a bit complacent and corrupt and perhaps have a vested interest in the continuation of some unsavory activities. The Aurovilians are not the most friendly people on the planet and need a change in attitude, I agree, Utopian socialism without a strong charismatic leader breeds anarchy. Sri Aurobindo and the Mother tried to share a concept of self-evolution that will embrace our inner light and strength that we all have within us and that raises us above the lower vital egoistical desires.
Perhaps you, Rachel Wright, reporter of bbc, may also not have noticed that the entrance to the Repos beach says “Auroville and Guest only”: virtually any foreigner can enter to eat and rent a cottage there, and little boys and girls do not wander there by themselves.
Almuñecar , Spain