The spiritual gift of India to the world has already begun. India's spirituality is entering Europe and America in an ever increasing measure. That movement will grow; amid the disasters of the time more and more eyes are turning towards her with hope and there is even an increasing resort not only to her teachings, but to her psychic and spiritual practice. -- Sri Aurobindo (from the message broadcast on the eve of August 15, 1947)

Savitri Era of those who adore, Om Sri Aurobindo and The Mother.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Shame on you, Rachel Wright

Home > Response to BBC broadcast - Aravinda & Jasmin Maheshwari
Saturday, May 24 th 2008 To the BBC

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


Home > Response to BBC broadcast - Bryan Walton
May 28 2008 To BBC

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.

Bryan Walton
Wisconsin , USA

Home > Response to BBC broadcast - Donald Anello
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/from_our_own_correspondent/7417864.stm
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/newsnight/7413982.stm
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.

Donald Anello
Almuñecar , Spain

Sunday, June 29, 2008

We cannot be taken for a ride by Utopian dreams that undermines our nation’s sovereignty


DRAVIDA PERAVAI 29 Jun 08 AUROVILLE RENAMED AUROVILLAGE
By nandhivarman Categories: Open Debate Tags: , , , STORY OF DECEIT: ANOTHER “VATICAN” AUROVILLE STATE HERE?
France was another great imperial power who decolonized after the Second World War although her reasons and methods were quite different from Britain. “Whereas the British realized the colonies were beginning to become a burden the French believed they had to re-assert their national prestige by keeping control of their colonies. This may explain why the French experience of decolonization was so different to Britain. French decolonization was bloody and bitter whereas Britain was quite peaceful and quite painless. France fought two costly and bloody wars over her colonies. The first of these was in Indo-China, which had been under French rule since the 19th Century. During the Second World War Indo-China was invaded and occupied by the Japanese. Vietminh led by Ho Chi Minh fought a guerrilla war against the Japanese. At the end of the Second World War the French intended to retake control of Indo-China but before they could the Vietminh declared independence. Fighting broke out in 1946 and continued for eight years before the French suffered a massive defeat at Dien Bien Phu. This was the decisive point of the war with an armistice being signed soon after. France had lost much in the war including 91,000 men and their colony”.

“France’s African Empire started to decolonize after the humiliating defeat at Dien Bien Phu as riots spread across the French African states. France realized she could not hold her empire together anymore and begun decolonizing. All the French African colonies were granted their independence between 1956 and 1960 with the exception Algeria. Algeria held a unique place within the French Empire as it had been formally integrated into France thus making it not a colony but a part of France itself”.

“An armed rebellion led by the F.L.N. (Front d’Liberation National) in 1954 led to bloody civil war in Algeria. In 1958 General de Gaulle was persuaded to come out of retirement to end the conflict in Algeria. Charles De Gaulle realized that France could not win the war and that it would be a major strain on the economy to continue it. He begun talks for independence and he and the F.L.N. leader signed a settlement in 1962”.

French dream to colonize Pondicherry:

History of French in India is a monumental work written by Colonel G.B.Malleson, which narrates the events that lead to the founding of Pondicherry in 1674 to the capture of that place in 1761. In the reign of Louis XII, in the year 1503, two ships of the merchants of Rouen took to seas and were never heard thereof. This marks the first French attempt to set foot on Indian soil. Though many had the urge nothing concrete emerged. On June 1 1604 “a company was established under Kings letters patent, granting it exclusive trade for 15 years.” This also failed to take of due to faction feuds among the founders. 7 years later Louis XIII tried again in vain to activate the company. During 1615 two merchants sought transfer of the company to them, which was stiffly opposed by the company. Hence as compromise formula the King created a coalition of both sides and conferred on July 2, 1615 letters patent. The next year two ships set to sail to India. Commodore de Nets was in charge of the big vessel and Captain Antoine Beaulieu of the smaller vessel. The Dutch crew in Beaulieu’s ship obeying the diktats of their government left the vessel of Beaulieu. And Beaulieu had to dispose the ship and join the vessel of Commodore de Nets. In spite of all such travails the venture was profitable. So the company launched 3 more vessels on trip to India. “Montmorenci” with 162 men, 22 guns with 450-ton capacity, L’Esperance with 117 men, 26 guns and 400-ton capacity, “L’Hermitage” with 30 men, 8 guns and with 75-ton capacity, were placed under Beaulieu’s chief command. In that trip the Dutch sank L’Hermitage. Next 20 years no further efforts to reach east were undertaken. In 1642 a new company “La Compagnie des Indes with Richelieu was launched but before ships could set to sail he passed away. A resting place mid way to Indes became their passion. The first French vessel to Madagascar reached its shores in summer of 1642.The local people resisted French settlers. The company had to incur heavy losses in combating local people and ultimately gave up its claims to Madagascar in 1672.

In 1664 French “Compagnie des Indes” with a capital of 15,000,000 livres was formed. A charter by the Government granted the company exclusive rights for 50 years to trade with India with total exemption from taxation. Government also agreed to reimburse all losses if any. They first went for Madagascar. On March 7, 1665 with four ships and 520 men. They changed its name to Isle Dauphin. Earlier Portuguese had called it Saint Lawrence. The local revolt against French occupation continued and culminated in the fierce massacre of almost all within the walls of Fort Dauphine.

These abortive attempts gradually led to French setting foot on Indian soil and making it a colony of France.

Reason for India becoming a destination:

Why do all colonialists set their eye on India? It is needless here to narrate how French obtained a foothold on Indian soil and how they later became rulers. It is vital to know why India was colonized, be it by the British, French and the Portuguese?

“The East India Company was founded in 1600 to sell British woolen cloth to India. Their ships arrived in Surat in 1608 with vast quantities of broadcloth but the trade soon faltered and died out. What changed their fortunes was the discovery of cotton, which was completely unknown in the west,” says Ms. Crill who had coauthored a book Trade, Temple and Court: Indian Textiles from Tapi Collections.

Another author of the same book Ms.Ruth Barnes states that “Textile trade surfaces repeatedly in the social and economic histories of these times. For centuries textiles were crucial currency in the Indian Ocean trade. If you wanted a piece of the spice trade in the 14 th century, you did not have a chance unless you showed up in the Eastern Indonesia with high quality textiles.” Well these textile scholars have stated one reason for India being a popular destination for colonialists. Colonialists came to market their products but were drawn towards buying Indian fabrics. “ Millions of Indian cotton arrived in England at that time, so much so that the wool and linen weavers began to protest and a law prohibiting Indian textiles was passed in 1700” says Rosemary Crill of the V&A Museum, London in her book.

Decolonization of French India:

Let me quote verbatim the last rituals performed for decolonizing Pondicherry as written in the book Decolonization of French India, since I do not want to be drawn in controversies by writing a new version myself.
“The procedure incorporated into the joint communiqué, which was simultaneously published from New Delhi and Paris, ran as follows Desirous of reaching a final settlement on the question of the French establishments in India, The government of India and the Government of the French Republic through their representatives in Delhi has engaged in negotiations. As a result of these negotiations the two governments have agreement on the following procedure. All elected members of the representative assembly and the Municipal Councils of the establishments will be met at a Congress on October 18 in the settlement of Pondicherry to consider the joint proposals of the two governments for a final settlement of the future of the settlements and record their decision on these proposals as an expression of the wishes of the people”.

“An arête of the Commissaire de la Pepublique was published on 11 October in the Journal official of Pondicherry with a view to acquainting the people the conditions of the consultation. The Pondicherry Government issued summons to the elected municipal members of the south Indian settlements and the Representative assembly to meet at Kizhur about 10 miles on the border of west of Pondicherry on 18 October at 10 o’clock to decide the future of the French settlements in India”.

“The members of the four settlements whose election was valid up to 1 st January 1954 had been asked to vote on that day either for the continuation of French rule in these settlements or for merger of these settlements with the Indian Union. The importance of the Congress and the necessity of the members to attend the Congress were expressed in a circular, which was signed by the Secretary General for French India and dispatched to the elected members accompanied by the topographical map of the place where the congress was to be held together with the admission card. There was a proposal to hold the congress at karaikal, but that was set aside. Kizhur, a tiny hamlet situated in Indian Territory was finally chosen in order to avoid the disturbances, which the presence of Goubert and Muthupillai might have provoked if the congress had been held at Pondicherry. Balasubramanian, President of the Representative Assembly acted as presiding officer of the Congress. Out of 178, 170 members voted overwhelmingly in favour of the merger with Indian Union and 8 voted against. The results were declared in the presence of Pierre Landy and Kewal Singh. The period of suspense was over”.

“The usual scene of excitement tension and violence, which had tainted previous elections in French India, was totally absent here in this hamlet. It was so to speak a parody of consultation. France had to agree to this as a sop to satisfy her constitutional requirements and India had to accept this verdict given by the members of the municipal councils and representative assembly whose elections she had protested as irregular. The signing of the treaty at New Delhi on 21 October followed this. The remaining 10 days witnessed the French India authorities make hectic preparations for total withdrawal from Pondicherry and Karaikal. As fixed earlier Escargueil left Pondicherry for France on 31 st October handing over charge to Pierre Landy. The French national flag was removed from the top of the Governors house in the evening of the same day. On 1 November of 1954 at 6.45 in the morning a document of transfer was signed between Pierre Landy representing France and Kewal Singh, Indian Consul general and Indian Commissioner designate in the official residence of the former. In Karaikal too Boucheney aided by Duvauchelle, an Officer of the foreign department who had recently arrived here, handed over power to the India administration”

“Immediately after this the Indian national flag was unfurled over the government house to the tumultuous ovation of thousands of people who had gathered there marking the close of seven-year tortuous negotiations. Throughout the day there was jubilation everywhere in Pondicherry, In Karaikal, in Mahe and in Yenam and the rest of India in this hour of joy. As a result of the historic decision taken at kizhur more than 3 lakh people rejoined their mother country India at the dawn of 1 November thereby ending 240-year-old French rule on the four settlements of South India”.

The people of India welcomed the residents of the erstwhile French settlements into the larger fold of Indian citizenship. “A part of India separated from the motherland is coming back to us on its own freewill” Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and President Rajendra Prasad said “we shall be equal partners in a common endeavor to work for the progress and prosperity of India” The congress of Kizhur facilitated the dissolution of French colonial rule in the French pockets, but French sovereignty over them continued legally till dejure transfer had taken place in 1962.

FRENCH AND FRENCH CITIZENS IN INDIA PRESENT STATUS:

The colonial rule created a new class of citizens, Indian born yet French citizens by option. These Indians have roots in Pondicherry but have their work and homes in France. For those left in the soil of Pondicherry France has constitutional arrangements to look after the interests of Indian born French citizens. This arrangement is unique and deserves close appraisal.

The notification issued by the Rastrapathi Bhavan recently had stated that hereafter the Ministry of Non Resident Indians will be named as Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs in English and Pravasi Bharatiya Karya Mantralaya in Hindi. But within our country we have residing Non Resident French citizens but who Indians by birth but French citizens are by option. It will be interesting to compare with what French does for Overseas French affairs. When French left their former colonies, they left large sections who opted to become French citizens. There are more than 20 million French citizens living abroad in various former French colonies including Pondicherry, which is a Union Territory under Indian Union.

One hundred and fifty five delegates are elected by direct universal suffrage by the French communities abroad for a period of 6 years and this body is presided by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of France. French citizens in America elect 32 delegates and from Africa 47 seats thus the total of “A series of constituencies” is 79. In “B series” there are 76 seats and the break up is 52 seats from Europe and from Asia-Oceania and the Orient 24. Within these 24 seats two are chosen from Pondicherry. Half of the Electoral College is renewed every 3rd year.
All former colonies are divided into 52 electoral districts, with one or more delegates per district. A country may have several electoral districts, just as an electoral district may cover several countries.
French people residing abroad through their 155 representatives elect twelve Senators to French Parliament. They get elected one-third at a time for 8 years in 2004 and for 7 years in 2007 and for 6 years from 2010.Twelve personalities appointed by the French Minister of Foreign Affairs for six-year terms “by reason of their competence in matters concerning the general interests of France abroad”. They are renewed one-half at a time every three years.

The Constitution of 27 October 1946 (IVth Republic) stipulated that the new Parliament would comprise a National Assembly and a “Council of the Republic” (as the Senate was called until 195 within which “the French of the Exterior” would be represented. This may be like our lower and upper houses in Parliament. The National Assembly pondered and decided how to effect this representation. It decreed, in a resolution dated 13 December 1946, that three “Councillor of the Republic” seats (out of 320) would go to personalities representing Non Resident French citizens living in Europe, America and Asia-Oceania-Orient respectively.

For more than two decade the following associations were looking after the interests of Non Resident French citizens in Paris. They are the Union of French Chambers of Commerce Abroad, the French Overseas Teachers Association, the Non-Resident French War Veterans Federation, and the Overseas French Union (Union des Français de l´étranger, UFE), founded in 1927. These four bodies mooted a suggestion for creation of a “high council” by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The then Prime Minister, Robert Schuman, and his Foreign Minister, Georges Bidault signed a Decree setting up the High Council for French People residing abroad. on 7 July 1948.
The first High Council was composed of 55 members: 8 ex officio members (the three Senator-Councillors of the Republic, the president and director of the UFE, the presidents of the Chambers of Commerce, of the Teachers Association and of the War Veterans Federation, 42 elected officials, and 5 members nominated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.”.
The first CSFE elections of 1950 were held in seventy countries of Europe, America, Asia and Oceania, according to a protocol defined in a Ministerial Decree dated 10 December 1949 and signed by Robert Schuman..

Article 24 of the Constitution of 25 September 1958 states, “French nationals settled outside France shall be represented in the Senate.” Two Executive Orders were issued, on 15 November 1958 and 4 February 1959 respectively, for organizing this representation and providing the CSFE with new status. The CSFE, while retaining its advisory role, became the sole Electoral College for electing Senators from abroad.

Their numbers increased from three to six, two representing Europe and America, one representing Asia-Oceania and three representing Africa. It was thus divided into three sections for the Senatorial elections of 23 April 1959. The CSFE had 84 elected members but it became clear that Europe and America were under-represented in comparison with Africa. The number of Senators was therefore brought up to nine for 1962 elections.

After the creation of the Democratic Association of French Citizens Abroad (Association Démocratique des Français à l´Etranger - ADFE) in 1980, the CSFE was reconstituted in 1982. The Act of 7 June 1982 paved way for the election by universal suffrage of Delegates to the CSFE, which (with the exception of twenty-one members chosen for their competence but not having Senatorial voting rights) was no longer a body of appointed personalities. And the election of twelve Senators thereafter is only by the elected members of the CSFE.

The AFE is entrusted by law with the task of advising the Cabinet. The Minister of Foreign Affairs defines the objectives and priorities of the assembly chaired by him. The Senators place before the Senate, the National Assembly and the Economic and Social Council the propositions, motions, resolutions and wishes expressed by their electors. The twelve Senators, ex officio members of the AFE, can introduce Bills or legislative amendments reflecting the hopes and needs of French people living around the world.

British left India satisfied with getting 2 nominated M.P Seats in the Loksabha for Anglo-Indians. France did not plead for seats in the legislature for Franco-Indians. It worked out the above stated arrangements to manage the Indian born French nationals.

Problems galore left by colonial legacy:

In the colonies, decades, in some countries centuries of colonial rule had resulted in major changes. In many cases, the borders of the colonies had been unilaterally drawn by Colonial powers with little regard for ethnicity and history. The border disputes India has with its neighbours is a left over of the colonial legacy. The contiguity of Pondicherry is missing and the enclave territories separated by miles scattered as dots remain in Indian map, which is also an issue of the colonial legacy and poses problem for gaining statehood to be on par with other Indian states.

We in India are still facing the issues left by the colonial legacy. Let us see the experience of Singapore and Malaysia and the issues which will be of importance too from our standpoint. Lee Kuan Yew of Singapore stated once that “ empires never last forever, that either the master and subject races finally merged to a unified society or the empire ends with subject races clashes violently and finally emerging as separate nation and entity.” Ironically, his statement can equally be applied to the independent country of Malaysia where race and racial issues are still a sensitive and election issue. Ethnocentrism was and is still not something that can ever be stamped out.

The Kingdom at a Crossroads written by Marijke van der Meer tells the story of Surinam. In the late 18th century the British swapped their South American colony – now known as Surinam – for Manhattan, and then controlled by The Netherlands. For many years the Dutch reckoned they had the better of the of the deal, after all the British lost Manhattan quite quickly, while Surinam only gained its independence in on November 25 1975.

Professor Oostindie opines that there was not enough time to find solutions too many of Surinam’s long standing issues. “The Dutch government did whatever was necessary to accomplish independence,” he says, “basically this was done by not solving several problems such as the border dispute with Guyana. They offered more development aid than had been conceived of before and they said that all Surinamers, even five years after independence, would be eligible for Dutch nationality, stimulating an exodus to The Netherlands. Today there are just over 400,000 people in Surinam but there are 300,000 people of Surinamese descent in The Netherlands. The whole demographic growth of this nation has been in The Netherlands rather than Surinam. The offer of French citizenship to people of Pondicherry origin by the French created a similar exodus which needs a comparative study.


AUROVILLE INTERNATIONAL CITY

By historical accident India became a colony. It won independence. In British India, all became Indian citizens. But in French India, we still have French citizens of course Indian born. No one will find fault with this accidental occurrence of history. But they are not voting in Indian elections, but are electing Representatives to work under Foreign Ministry of French Parliament. Even this if we have to brush aside as accident of history, there is no need for international city. While the Mother of Ashram was alive lot of people donated their properties all over the India. She only registered a Trust in India’s Vanur Taluk, since there were no Trust laws in French India. Later after French India merged with Indian Union, she registered Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust, inclusive of properties in and around Pondicherry. But all the properties throughout India were with Sri Aurobindo Society, a Marwari dominated society, under whose control Auroville was initiated, which ended in mismanagement and take over by Government of India. The Mother of Ashram hails from France and learnt occultism in Egypt. We have strong reservations about her international city concept. We link that dream to the other legacies left over by colonial rule, like French nationality which participates in French elections. Having lost French India, through her, France could have thought of bringing French men to reside in an international city. To practice yoga, many ashrams exist in India. Even along the East Coast Road, builders are planning New Cities, to meet the housing demand of growing population. This international city does not belong to that type of cities. Those cities are open to anyone who buys property there. But here they don’t admit Tamils as residents, allow mostly foreigners as residents, thereby sustaining the suspicion that this is another colony of the west in our midst.

POLITICS OF ANARCHY:

What political organization do you want for Auroville? To this question Mirra Alfasa replies: An amusing definition occurs to me: A divine anarchy. But the world will not understand. Men must be conscious of their psychic being and organize themselves spontaneously, without fixed rules and laws- that is the ideal. (Source: Draft II of a working paper on an international organization for Auroville September 2001)

Mirra Alfasa, as you said world in your time may not understand the DIVINE ANARCHY let loose by you, but in present day even a LKG child will understand that you are against the laws of the land and want to create a lawless society.

RE-COLONIZATION

A global campaign to raise $ 1 million or 5 crores by Mother’s birthday on 21 st February 2004. (From 1 st January to November 2003 $ 550.000 has been donated) This is twice the amount Land Fund usually receives in a year. An excellent boost for Land Fund, and the equivalent of about 65 acres of precious land for Auroville. (Source: Land Fund News Letter number 31 November- December 2003)

If $ 550,000 dollars can buy 65 acres what price is for 1 acre, and whether that price goes to the actual owner?

A SEPARATE CURRENCY

The mere idea of a separate currency for a community within India is the first step to establish a city state like Vatican here. Out of 191 member states of the world in United Nations, Vatican has opted out to remain outside the purview of UN, in spite of enjoying a status of a separate country. Similarly Aurovillians want to keep Auroville outside India and its constitution. THE FIRST STEP TO INTRODUCE AUROSE, a legal tender for Auroville is in place. (Source: Auroville News April 7 th 2001)

Who is the Finance Minister of this new state, not born out of Tamil extremism but a product of Auro extremism?

EMBASSY IN DELHI:

The newly yet to be independent country or a princely state or a colony of Kashmir Maharaja Hari Singh’s son Karan Singh intends to open an embassy in the National capital of Delhi. “There is a possible opening for an Auroville “embassy” in Delhi through the possible help from Indian Habitat Centre.” (Source: Auroville News Feb 19 th 2000)

Before attaining freedom from India Auro extremists want an embassy. Will government of India allow Nagaland and other claimants of separate nations to open an embassy in Delhi?

All these questions need a national debate. Let Aurobindo Ashram and Matrimandir along with followers of Aurobindo become one entity, one unit, one Trust or one Ashram, and let them live as Ashramites preaching their philosophy like other Ashrams in India. They can build ashrams from Kashmir, where Dr.Karan Singh will willingly donate his palace, to Kanyakumari. No one will object that. But the International City concept creates suspicion that it contains seeds like Vatican type state, and this should not be allowed, that too under a Government of India organization, answerable to Indian Parliament in letter and spirit. We cannot be taken for a ride by Utopian dreams that undermines our nation’s sovereignty. It was a dream to house 50,000 but after 40 years only 1619 people reside. Hence international city is dead, why does Indian Government sustain a dead city concept. Let Auro village become Auroashram.

N. Nandhivarman General Secretary Dravida Peravai AUOVILLE UNDER SCANNER

Saturday, June 28, 2008

The thing that makes blogging so interesting is the whole aspect of interactivity

Monday, November 22, 2004 Blog Rules Dædalux

Since I'm new to blogging, and not entirely sure how to go about it, I figure I might as well lay out some groundrules. I know there are no 'rules' per se - that I'm free to write anything I want, but I still think some set of general guidelines might be useful. The whole point is not to restrict my blogging, but to focus my efforts and make it all worthwhile.

Rule#1 - Write regularly. I know that's obvious - and easier said than done. Still, I'll try to at least start a draft whenever I can, even if I don't have the time to complete it and post right away. As long as I have a general idea started, I can always go back and finish it when I do have the time.

Rule#2 - Be selective about what gets written. It'd be easy to simply write about the mundane details of my day, but I don't expect I'd benefit from recording useless trivia and I'm sure nobody else would want to read about that stuff either. It's not that I have to always write deep meaningful stuff, but it'd be better if I could focus on just one topic at a time, and try to pick things that might have at least some small significance or interest to myself (and hopefully others).

Rule#3 - Read other blogs, and post comments. If I just wanted to keep a diary, I wouldn't do it on the internet. The thing that makes blogging so interesting is the whole aspect of interactivity. Whenever I post, I always spend a few minutes reading through random blogs or checking back on a few of my favorites. Every once in a while I read something that really sparks my interest or sets me to thinking in a new way. No simple diary can do that. That's enough rules to start with. Perhaps I'll add more rules as I discover them.
posted by Dædalux at 4:44 PM

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Give writing the highest priority What Stops you from Writing? Written by tejvan from Net Writing on July 21, 2007 9 Comments

Most bloggers know the importance of writing, but, to actually write as much as we would like can be difficult. It is not just about writing for our own blog; we should also try to occasionally write for other blogs or ezines. The more we can write, the more we can help our blog to grow. These are some of the common Stumbling blocks to writing and what we can do to overcome them:

1. Procrastination. Procrastination is easy on the internet. We have countless RSS feeds to read, forums to visit, blogs to comment on, youtube videos to watch…, the list is endless. If we are not careful hours can pass by and we haven’t actually achieved anything. If you find yourself procrastinating, you are not alone, but you do need to try and keep it under control.

Sri Aurobindo Public School, Sai Road, Baddi requires Teachers


Sri Aurobindo Public School Sai Road, Baddi (40 Kms from Panchkula) Tel: 01795-245259, 09218566809 (A Co-Ed, English medium, Secondary School affiliated to CBSE)
Requires Teachers
TGT (01) To teach English & Social Science Minimum Qualification BA, Bed
Primary Teachers (02) To teach all subjects Minimum Qualification BA, Bed
Nursery Teachers (02) Qualification: Nursery Trained
Librarian (01) Qualification: B.Lib.
Fluency in English and basic skills in computers is essential. Candidate from Baddi, Nalagarh, Pinjore and adjoining Ares preferable. School bus facility is available.
Walk in interview wat the school site on 01st July' 08 (Tuesday) from 09.30 hours onwards.
Job Ad publication date: 25 Jun 2008 Job Advertisements on CareerAge.com are sourced from various employers and media.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Sri Aurobindo, a linguist, a scholar, poet and yogi, had knowledge of Sanskrit and Vedic languages

Epic India A New Arts & Culture Magazine
A New Arts Magazine Publisher: Ashok Banker Editor: Richard Marcus
EPIC INDIA WANTS YOU! Do You Write About The Arts? Are You Tired Of The Conventional? Think And Write OutsideThe Box? Epic India May be "Write" For You.

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Sri Aurobindo Or The Yogi Of The Life Divine- 4th part: Sanatan Dharma To Life Divine
Aju Mukhopadhyay 17 June 2008, 10:18 Continued from Part Three


Hinduism and Indian Spiritualism
By the word Hindu the Persians in ancient age meant the inhabitants on the other shore of the great river Sindhu. There was no religion as such. There is no one book like Bible, Koran or Guru Granth Sahib which defines Hinduism. It was the religion or spiritual practices of the Aryan people but it contained large numbers of sects with different faiths, both theistic and non-theistic. What has at later times been termed as Hinduism is an amalgam of many religious rites and faiths. Hindu religion in not one but many as the Hindu Gods are not one but many. Many but behind the many there is one immanent divine being. Behind all the religions of the world there is one original eternal religion directly received from the divine. It is the Sanatan Dharma. Originating in the Vedas, Rig Veda in particular, its spiritual aim is the attainment of divine life on earth. Beyond all materialism and illusionism the flow of spiritualism has been constant; it is the perennial source of Indian life...

Vedic Culture and Sanatan Dharma
Sri Aurobindo believes that it will conquer and help in the establishment of a gnostic society to lay the foundation of the divine life on earth. There exist the ritualistic and linguistic explanations of the Veda by Sayana and Yaska. Based on them, Wesern scholarship began interpreting the oldest scripture in harmony with the then scientific theories. They were bold and speculative, ingenious and conscientious, but ill-fitted to understand the method of the old mystic poets, Sri Aurobindo opined. They found it half-superstitious, half- poetic allegory of Nature with an important astronomical element in it. They found it barbaric. The proud conqueror of the physical world, the then European scholars, thought that they belonged to the Aryan race which was at the same level of the Greeks, Celts and Germans. They perceived that the Aryan race were northern barbarians who broke in from colder climes to old and rich Mediterranean Europe and Dravidian India. Their explanation of Vedic culture and creation was mainly based on that, Sri Aurobindo wrote.

Some indigenous Vedic study was made by B. G. Tilak, T. Paramasiva Aiyar and Swami Dayananda Saraswati. The latter brought out the truth that Vedic religious teaching is monotheistic, gods are different names and powers of the same One divine entity. Sri Aurobindo congratulated him for discovering the keys of the Vedic door that time had closed. Swami Vivekananda confirmed the monotheistic approach of the Vedas in his lectures throughout the world.

Sri Aurobindo, a linguist, well versed in half a dozen of Indian and as many European languages, a scholar, poet and yogi, with knowledge of Sanskrit and Vedic languages, began studying Veda, Rig Veda in particular, during his mature years in Pondicherry. He observed, ‘It certainly seems to me that the original connection between the Dravidian and Aryan tongues was far closer and more extensive than is usually supposed and the possibility suggests itself that they may even have been two divergent families derived from one lost primitive tongue.’ 6

He said that there is no definite clue to suggest that Aryans invaded India. They lived here and may be in nearby countries. The whole of India was composed of almost the same people though some foreign admixture was there. He found that every element of the Vedic text was bound up together and any incoherent handling of them would shatter the whole fabric of their sense and thought. He had the vision of Vedic words, their meaning and their projections in the future. He considered it as the prehistoric wisdom of the great Indian seers.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Auroville Foundation must publish its residents list in its website

DRAVIDA PERAVAI 26 Jun 08 AUROVILLE FOR 1619 PEOPLE IGNORING LOCAL TAMILS
post info By nandhivarman Categories: Uncategorized
BEFORE PREACHING HUMAN UNITY DR.KARAN SINGH USHER UNITY AMONG 1619 AUROVILLE RESIDENTS and 1282 ASHRAM INMATES

First time in its history Auroville Foundation had realized that it is answerable to Indian public and is a Government of India organization and not one run by a neo-east India company. Under Right to Information Act they had partially provided the information sought, for which we thank the Secretary Mr.Ramasamy I.A.S, whose continuance irritates the whites conspiring to remove him. The rule by in-charge, who it seems, had amassed income beyond known sources of income dancing to the tune of the neo-colonialists suits vested interests who try always to clip the wings of clean officials.

Auroville Foundation in its reply No AF/G/4-A/2054 dated 23rd June 2008 states that “most of the areas of Auroville area lies in Villupuram District of Tamil nadu and comprises the Panchayats of Irumbai and Bommayarpalayam. Small area of this Auroville lands are in Kottakuppam, Rayapudukuppam, Mathur Panchayats and Alankuppam within the Union Territory of Pondicherry”

Thanks for the information given by Auroville Foundation. But we want to give additional information to Indian Government and Indian public. The villagers of Irumbai, Bommayarpalayam, Kottakuppam, Rayapudukuppam and Mathur Panchayats coming under Tamil Nadu Government had given representations to the District Collector of Villupuram District of Tamilnadu protesting the action of Tamilnadu Government giving in long lease government puramboke lands of these villages to Auroville Foundation. These representations are numerous signed by most of the villagers. For example to cite few representations, we would recall the memorandums dated 5.08.1998, 11.02.2002 and 20.10.2002. Not only memorandums, a peaceful Protest March also took place and in end a Memorandum was given to the famous Secretary-in-charge of Auroville Foundation. A copy of that memorandum was given to the District Collector. On that basis a tri-partite talks took place between the villagers and Auroville Foundation in the presence of Vanur Taluk Tahsildar, which ended in reaching no agreement. This is history of the continuing struggle of local Tamil people. Meanwhile Supreme Court Advocate Dr.L.M.Singhvi M.P writes a letter to then Chief Minister of Tamilnadu Selvi J.Jayalalitha on 16th February 2002. In his letter it is said:

Dear Dr. Jayalalitha

I would like to call on you, inter alia, with regard to the project of Auroville, which has rendered great service to the neighbouring villages of the Villupuram District of Tamilnadu.

The Auroville project has received an accolade and endorsement from UNESCO. It aims at Education for Human Unity. It has a spiritual dimension and provides for unprecedented experiments and innovations in science of consciousness and pedagogy, which have a national and international importance. A large number of children in Villupuram District will also be receiving quality education under the project.

Auroville Foundation enshrines the vision of Aurobindo, which was elaborated by the Mother as a concept of collective yoga. That vision is embodied in the Master Plan of Auroville, which had now been prepared and approved in consonance with the mandate of the Auroville Foundation Act 1988. The Master Plan was prepared with the active participation of Ministry of Urban Development, Government of India and has already been adopted and approved under the provisions of the Auroville Foundation Act. I am sending herewith a copy of the Master plan for your ready reference. I would request you to consider promulgating the Auroville Master plan and entrust the task of implementing all follow-up liaison measures to a designated officer of the Government of Tamilnadu.

As a Member of the Governing Board of the Auroville Foundation, I feel that this Master Plan will provide an excellent example of development and will benefit the entire bio-region in and around Auroville.

The development of Auroville, however, requires protection of the area from potential speculators, who want to take undue advantage of the ecological development made by Auroville. In order to achieve that objective the Tamilnadu Government has been approached by the Auroville Foundation for protection and help. It has been suggested that the Tamilnadu Government could issue an order in favour of Auroville Foundation similar to the one that had been issued, no one may develop, buy or sell any area, which falls within the Master Plan of Auroville, unless the Auroville Foundation gives a No Objection Certificate.

It would be gracious of you to extend your whole hearted support to the Auroville Project and its development which would be crucial at this juncture.

I would like to call on you personally to congratulate you and to explain the representation made by Auroville in the afternoon of March 2nd or March 3rd , if any of these dates is convenient to you.

I would also like you to visit Auroville whenever you can.

Yours sincerely
L.M.Singhvi

Addressed to: Dr. J. Jayalalitha, Poes Gaerdden, Chennai [as spelt in his letter]

In the party letter head of ALL INDIA ANNA DRAVIDA MUNNETRA KAZHAGAM dated 1st March 2002 J.JAYALALITHA, General Secretary A.I.A.D.M.K party, Chief Minister Designate of Tamilnadu, 81/80 Poes Garden, Chennai 600086 replies:

Dear Dr. L.M. Singhvi

I received your letter dated 16.02.2002 and thank you very much for the kind sentiments expressed therein.

I wish to inform you that I am in total agreement with you on the need to preserve the ecological balance attained in Auroville over the years, through its diverse and sustained efforts in fields such as development, environment, education and spirituality. I assure you that I will give my serious consideration to the request you made in this regard.

However, I think I may have to deny the pleasure of meeting you on March 2nd or 3rd in view of other occupations. I am sure we will be able to meet later. With kind regards, I remain. Yours sincerely J.Jayalalithaa

Addressed to : Dr.L.M. Singhvi M.P Senior Advocate, Supreme Court of India, Formerly India’s High Commissioner in U.K. 18 Willingdon Crescent, New Delhi.

BIG NAMES AND REPUTED MEN ARE ADVOCATING THE AUROVILLE CAUSE BUT THERE IS NO MAHATHMA GANDHI TO SPEAK FOR THE TAMIL VILLAGERS. In whole of India only Mehta Patkar comes to memory, when it matters fighting for displaced people. In big dams though people are displaced, the benefits reach millions of people who get water and electricity out of such projects. But from Auroville project is anyone in nearby villages benefited? Take for example the condition imposed on villagers that they should get No Objection Certificate from Auroville Foundation if they want to sell their lands. The fundamental right is curtailed to benefit a single buyer, who can dictate the price. And while an area develops people living there for centuries in poverty get a centuries chance to get a good price for their lands to redeem their families from the clutches of poverty. This chance is curtailed by the neo-colony set up here in Tamil soil.

Dr. Kalaignar M.Karunanithi, current Chief Minister of Tamilnadu is a vociferous champion of State Autonomy. I would like to recall the State Autonomy Conference held at Annanagar of Chennai in 1970, wherein Punjab Chief Minister Gurnam Singh participated, in which I as Student DMK leader along with 4 other party functionaries of Puducherry handed over the State Autonomy Torch in the hands of Kalaignar.Kalaignar. He must know how East India Company obtained concessions from Indian Maharajas, who were blissfully unaware what future holds for their lands.

It may sound harsh statement. But I am duty bound to explain the reasons to Indian public.

To my question on how many Tamils are given citizenship in Auroville, or if this usage is not to your liking, how many Tamils are made Aurovillians, i.e. residents, the answer given by the Auroville Foundation is: “There is no separate enumeration of Tamil people of Auroville. Out of total 1619 Aurovillians, 472 are Indians” is the reply. Going through the information provided,

The approximate nationality wise break up is as follows : Americans 71, Argentinean 9, Australian 13, Austrian 9, 1 Bangladesh , Belgians 22, Brazilians 5, British 52, Canadian 27, Columbian 2, Dutch 72, Ethiopian 1, French 278, German 219, Hungarian 3, Israeli 6, Hungarians 3, Italians 79, Japanese 4, Kazak 1, Korean 11, Lithuanian 2,Moroccan 1, New Zealand 1, Russian 38, Ukrainian 21, Spanish 31, Srilankan 4, Sweden 11, Swiss 45, Tibet 7, Tunisia 1, Finnish 1, Bulgarian 1 Ethiopian 1, Irish 1. The Indians as per the statistics given are 472. [This will be corrected and updated soon]

1. Indian voter lists are available freely in internet. There never exists secrecy. Similarly instead of politicians like me seeking information under Right to Information Act, the Auroville Foundation must publish its residents list in its websites. It need not shy or avoid transparency. We have nothing against all foreigners staying there; our Tamil soil nourished in universal out look for centuries by our poets and philosophers considers humanity as one. “All country is our country, all men are our kinsmen” said our Great Poet Kaniyan Poongunran 2000 years ago. But we have strong reservations about some people sneaking into Tamil soil to make our sons of soil as second class citizens. The foreigners, few with criminal background, wanted in other countries, land here from countries with which India has no extradition treaty. They assume Indian pseudonym and their original names not known. Further Interpol red alerts or warnings are not updated in our CBI websites, neither the local police are aware of such Interpol warnings. The open admission by the BBC fame Mr.Carel Theime, of Auroville Working Committee that they just sent out only and one and only peadophile with a honourable farewell instead of handing over to Police thereby giving breathing time of few more years to Mr. Didier Kieme to continue his atrocities against children of Pondicherry till he was nabbed 4 more years after being sent out by Auriville, necessitated us, to campaign for publishing the original lists of Auroville residents with their nationality. It will help Intelligence Bureau to scan the list or it will help CBI to track down wanted criminals. Other foreigners who have clean records and original passports, who are really doing good to Tamil people, need not have any phobia about our campaign.

2. The admission by Auroville Foundation that it has only 472 Indians as its residents raised serious questions. The Aurobindo Ashram issues a Prosperity card to its inmates, which are more or less its membership list. As per 1999 list available with us the Ashram inmates are 1282 people. These 1282 people, if we take all of them as Aurobindo’s disciples in general, must have sought admission to become residents of Auroville. Naturally, Auroville is a dream of a French woman, they worship as their Mother, and Aurobindo Ashram inmates must have sought residence in Auroville. If they had sought, was it accepted or vetoed. If vetoed who vetoed it, and for what reason? Is Auroville exclusively a town for foreigners who are disciples of Aurobindo? Does it have place for Indian followers of Aurobindo or not? These questions the big names that associate with Ashram and Auroville must ponder and introspect.

3. Auroville has 1619 residents and Aurobindo Ashram has 1282 inmates. Is it written by Brahma in the head of Tamil people that they should become refugees in their own soil, parting their traditional lands, so that 3000 people can set up a colony in their midst ? They speak about human unity, and how can human unity be achieved by keeping away local Tamil people. Mother Theresa helped all the poor, why not such noble spirits exist in the Super minds of Aurobindonians? I have repeatedly charged that All Mutts in India are doing charity and only one ashram that does no charity is Aurobindo Ashram. Like Pakistan occupied Kashmir, the Ex-Kashmiri Maharaja ruled Auroville and like Indian side Kashmir, the Indian followers led by notorious egoist Mr.Manoj Das Gupta controlling the areas in Pondicherry, which they still proudly proclaim as white town, always feeling that colonialist are superior to Indians. Why this division? The Aurobindo-Mirra Alfasa samathi with Aurobindo Ashram, The Matrimandir with Auroville. After all both belongs to the followers of Aurobindo. I am not his follower. I am the follower of Aringnar Anna, wanting to establish Aringnar Anna Rationalist University under Aringnar Anna Foundation. I will not aspire anything within Aurobindo circle. But as rationalist, I could not see why there exists two Trusts one Government controlled Auroville Foundation and one Aurobindo Ashram Trust headed by the President’s chair that is kept vacant.

If only foreigners understand Aurobindo’s philosophy, as it appears out of 1619 Auroville residents except 472 Indians, majority being foreigners, why not set up international city in a foreign country, than in a remote Tamil village ?

4. The Chairman of the Governing Board of Auroville Foundation Dr.Karan Singh, who hails from Kashmir owns Kashmiri Palace and he recently appeared in television and told that the rent he is getting is not lucrative. Dr.Karan Singh, my humble request to you, is please donate your Kasmir Palace to Auroville Foundation, set up an University there to propagate the philosophy of Aurobindo Ghosh, and people say you are a great scholar in that subject and can become the Vice Chancellor of that University. Instead of uprooting Tamil people from their traditional soil, go to your own soil where terrorism had wiped out all human unity from the minds of people filled with hatred towards each other; preach the gospel of human unity unmindful of terrorism. Mahatma Gandhi visited riot affected regions preaching the message of love and human unity. Why not you, after adoring so many posts under Government of India, lucky in a way from rest of the Maharajas who faded into oblivion with the abolition of privy purses by the Iron lady Indira Gandhi, spend rest of your like in your Kashmir teaching Aurobindo’s Human Unity concept, as you try to do here in a remote village called Auroville? A city which was originally planned for 50,000 people has only 1619 residents. It is less than miniature village. Hence I won’t hereafter call it international city, it is an international village, where so many trusts, sub trusts, show case their achievements with grandiose phrases and get all exemptions under the Sun in India, making us think it is tax haven that is why it attracts foreigners. We all know that only pirates searching for loot in mid seas and new lands were the early settlers in all colonies of the colonial era, subjugating indigenous people. Hence, sorry if we are suspicious about the real intention of the foreign settlers in our vicinity. We are cautious that history should not repeat. Should we remain nincompoops just because Dr.Karan Singh, who had not rehabilitated even his Kashmiri Pundits in Auroville, gives a clean chit to all Trusts, which are out of control by the Government created Auroville Foundation.

5. The larger question before Aurobindo’s followers is: The heirs of Mahatma Gandhi did not reap political benefits but other Gandhi’s, not his kith and kin, enjoyed uninterrupted power. Similarly the blood relatives of Aurobindo Ghosh were denied admission in Aurobindo Ashram, and they fought legal battles over Tampering of Aurobindo’s works by two Americans. It is a curse in India that all movements of great leaders and philosophers are hijacked by others who nourish their dynasties. I am not a warrior of your cause. All great names, who had filled their brains with every verse of Aurobindo, fight the colonial mind and their commercial trusts hidden under the guise of Auroville Foundation, masking their material aspirations under a spiritual camouflage. Liberate the Aurobindo ashram from the clutches of mismanagement and egoist life long Trustees, make it a place that treats Tamils too as human beings before they preach human unity to hoodwink the donors and world.

N. Nandhivarman General Secretary Dravida Peravai

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Auroville is an easy target for misuse by adventurers and tourists seeking to have fun at low cost

Home > Response to BBC broadcast - Zackaria Moursi
May 27 th 2008 To BBC
As someone who has spent a year working in Auroville, I would like to comment on your Newsnight documentary of May 21st. Viewers who do not know Auroville, upon watching the documentary, may be led to think: "Ah, here again is one of those weird sects, deluded by some ideal or the other, but only living in dissolution and perversion. Allow me to point out a few aspects that may have escaped your short-time reporter on her visit to Auroville:

1) The community of Auroville is not a sect, nor even a homogeneous group; it is mostly a mix of individuals from the four corners of the world who came to Auroville at different points in time, each with their own background, situation, hopes and plans. One third of the current population are Indians, they are probably the most homogeneous part of the community.

2) Most Aurovilians were drawn to an Ideal for whom they were ready to cut with past existences and often to leave their families behind. In the beginning, life in Auroville was extremely harsh. Most Aurovilians today have to work hard to cope with the challenges of creating a new existence in a new environment. The Auroville Beach is a thin strip, about 1 km long and 200 meters wide, and is by no means representative for Auroville. Auroville is rather composed of 95 residential settlements scattered over an area of 20 km2.

Most Aurovilians cannot afford the tourist attractions of their own township. It is only in recent years that tourism in Auroville has taken large proportions, and it has been a mixed blessing for the township. Though tourism is a welcome source of income, it often distracts the residents from their main goal of inner work and growth, and it brings with it the kind of problems you have mentioned in your documentary.

3) One of the tenants of Auroville has always been to live according to inner guidance and truth and not according to laws and regulations. The community has, therefore, no law enforcement and no police of its own. Though Auroville has a special status within India , it is on Indian soil, so naturally law and order are in the hands of the Indian authorities. There is little Aurovilians can do to check and control the intentions or the behaviour of the tourists.

The factors I have mentioned all combine to make Auroville an easy target for misuse by adventurers and tourists seeking to have fun at low cost. Encouraged by the hospitality and mildness of the Tamil people, by the beauty and achievements of Auroville and by the relatively low prices, tourists arrive at Auroville, who know or care very little about its ideals. The incidents you have reported are indeed very sad and run against the very grain of Auroville. I hope your documentary will prompt more vigilance and determination to put an end to such misuse.

As an admirer of BBC programming, I would like to express the wish that you may take up Auroville again in a documentary that looks more in depth at Auroville and its origins. Auroville is one of the greatest and most successful experiments in intentional living, and as such deserves such an attention. Such a documentary would be of particular interest to the British viewers when they know that Aldous Huxley recommended Sri Aurobindo for the Nobel prize in 1948, and that Sri Aurobindo spent his childhood in England and was a graduate of Cambridge. Romain Rolland described him as the "most complete synthesis of the genius of Asia and Europe that has hitherto been achieved".

It would be great if in a next documentary your reporter would interview some of the pioneers and true workers of Auroville who have dedicated decades of their lives trying to prepare a better world, the "Life Divine" of Sri Aurobindo. Your reporter would quickly see the failings and mistakes of the community, those that the Aurovilians themselves freely acknowledge. But maybe instead of blaming the Aurovilians for the things they have left undone, your reporter would have a word of recognition and encouragement for what has been achieved and done. Zackaria Moursi, Ph D Nile University , Cairo , Egypt
Home > Response to BBC broadcast - J Zackaria Moursi

Monday, June 23, 2008

One crucial assumption is that, in a free market milieu, initial conditions are the same for each participant and opportunities are equal

Front Page > Opinion > The Telegraph, Monday , June 23 , 2008
THE TIME BOMB -
When opportunities are not equal in a free market world
Ashok Mitra

It was the second half of 1991. Dizzy, exciting days, the country had just entered the phase of economic liberalization. There Is No Alternative, announced those holding the reins of administration. There Is No Alternative, echoed the media. The duty chart was sans ambiguity; everyone in the nation had to live for TINA — and die for it as well.
Was the point of dying for TINA just rhetoric? One remembers a bright young thing, freshly back home with a sizzling PhD from Tufts or Brown, who had joined at the time the editorial desk of a major newspaper. She was in her proselytising best. Economic neo-liberalism, she was sanguine, is the same as optimizing efficiency; if you want to survive in the harsh world of global competition, you must try, relentlessly, to prove your superiority over others, you must stay ahead of the rest of the crowd; if you fail in that and fall behind, you are inefficient; once you turn out to be inefficient, you deserve to be weeded out; not to mince words, in case you fail to make the grade, you have no right to exist; once the market rejects you, it is sayonara time, you better die.
Say not your struggle not availeth. The bright young thing’s labours have not been in vain; the education she tried so hard to impart has finally sunk into the psyche of the new generation. Take the instance of the girl, in the fifth year of her class at one of the Indian institutes of technology, who hanged herself the other day. She had flunked two subjects and took little time to make up her mind: she had lost in the battle of efficiency, she therefore had no right to live on. The girl wrote a note of apology to her parents, not so much for ending her life, but for her inability to make it in the concourse of global competition.
For some, her self-destruction was in the genre of an ordinary event. The market buffs will not think twice about it: she was a sorry case, that was that. The global market is a Darwinian precinct: only the fittest survive here; those who do not, simply drop out of the picture. In the countries of advanced capitalism, such as in the United States of America or western Europe, firms which cannot stand the heat of competition go out of the kitchen. Their sponsors either merge their enterprise with a relatively successful firm and are satisfied at playing the role of a minor partner; else they take a junior, non-descript job in a flourishing corporate entity and fade away in the anonymity of suburban living; quietly mowing their lawns on weekends.

Nascent capitalism is a different kind of proposition. It is also, more often than not, predatory capitalism, snatching opportunities from unwary neighbours. Much more killing is the tension which is its joint product. It must have been dinned all the while into the ears of that IIT girl that there was no escape, she was in an either/or situation: either she had to be a topper or it was kaput.
The present whereabouts of the bright young journalist who, 17 years ago, wrote that ferocious piece recommending death to the inefficient, are not known. Maybe she has meanwhile discovered, in some modest measure, the quality of mercy, maybe she remains an unreconstructed crusader for the free market. It is pointless to target her though. The young lady was pledged to a dogma, and perhaps still is. Dogma is quintessential faith. Faith in turn has its own rationale — and its own assumptions.
One crucial assumption is that, in a free market milieu, initial conditions are the same for each participant and opportunities are equal. Is not this hypothesis shot full of holes? Consider the recent decision a particular Indian institute of management, sponsored jointly by the Union and state governments, and set up with public funds, to charge an entrance fee of Rs 12.5 lakh from every candidate for admission to its MBA course. To perform extraordinarily well in CAT — national level admission test for IIMs — in the view of the institute’s governing body, was not enough; even those applicants placed at the very top of the list of successful candidates would have to shell out the indicated kind of money before they could join the pristine course. No less than the ministry of human resource development has failed to nudge the institute’s authorities into reconsidering the matter. Their point of view could not be more clear-cut: in a free market economy, they are entitled to charge what the market will bear, there are enough candidates who will not think twice before shelling out twelve-and-a-half lakh of rupees to get admission to the IIM course, for once they complete the course, the prospects of money-making are mind-boggling, twelve-and-a-half lakh of rupees is pifflingly small beer.
An uncomfortable question sticks its head in. What about that important condition governing a free market mechanism: equality of opportunities and of initial endowments? Is the condition being satisfied in the IIM case? It is possible for offspring from a poor household to be as bright and brilliant — and therefore as competent — as children from a very rich family. But the parents of the former would never be able to put together the sum of twelve-and-a-half lakh of rupees to enable their ward to gain entry into the sanctum of the IIM campus; even the friendly neighbourhood bank will be of no help in the absence of adequate collateral. The short-of-funds youngsters, disappointment writ large on their faces, look around for modest jobs, either in the government or elsewhere, fetching perhaps barely fifteen thousand rupees or thereabouts a month. The offspring from the rich household, on the other hand, would, on completion of the management course, be golden cargo; the ‘campus selection’ pageantry would present this youngster with the prize gift of multiple choices. The choice would be duly made. The IIM directors would call a press conference to announce to the public that this student of theirs has been hired by an international investment group for an annual compensation package of a cool one million US dollars. The winner would take all, and entirely because she or he has a background of wealth and affluence.

There are ways and ways of summing up such goings-on. One approach would be to treat the phenomenon as an inevitable concomitant of globalized development and leave it at that. There can however be a qualitatively different point of view. The technology or management student either from poor circumstances or of poor merit, ending his or her life after being checkmated by the vagaries of the free competition game, could be an isolated event. There might be far uglier, more worrying manifestations of the frustrations of the bumped-off-from-the-opportunities crowd. Hundreds and hundreds of embittered young people, whom the wagon-coach of competition has left behind, might refuse to submit meekly to fate; they could be material for a fearsome incendiary device, which, were it to explode, might cause wholesale rack and ruin to the social rubric.
Do the directors of the IIMs ever stop to think whether their press conferences, blaring the vulgar tiding of how much more luscious the future of a small bunch of already luscious specimens of society was going to be, could not actually be the agent provocateur to set off the incendiary device?

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Over-zealous press attention of the bonfire on Auroville's 40th birthday

Home > Journals & Media > Journals > Auroville Today > Current issue Archive copies Auroville Experience May 2008 Managing the media
- Robert
On Auroville's 40th birthday more than a hundred photographers and twelve TV and film crews attended the bonfire. Facilitating the incoming numbers of media-persons visiting Auroville is the challenge for the Auroville OutreachMedia team.


Mauna has been with the team from the beginning: “OutreachMedia (then still simply called ‘Outreach') was formed more than ten years ago at the request of many residents to regulate the ‘nuisance' of the Press,” she says. “At that time filmcrews just wandered around. They would enter communities and put their cameras and microphones under the nose of everyone. Many people did not like this. The journalists were curious about Auroville, but did not know where to start.”
The OutreachMediateam. From left to right: Tim, Cecilia, Robert, Ann, and Mauna. (Not in photo: Fabienne, Tapas Bhatt and Vinodhini)

The OutreachMedia team is composed of Aurovilians who are multi-lingual and multi-cultural; some have a media-background in journalism or public relations, like Ann, Cecilia, Tapas, Tim and Robert, but there is also a lawyer in the team, Vinodhini. At the moment OutreachMedia is answerable to Auroville's Working Committee.
“OutreachMedia provide factual information on all aspects of Auroville. We try to ensure that the ideals of Auroville are respected by the visiting media, as The Mother has clearly expressed that there should be no publicity,” says coordinator Fabienne. “We receive many requests from national TV channels wanting to promote Auroville for tourism. It is not always easy to convince them that the township is not a holiday spot or for day trippers!”
For print media journalists, the first step is to contact OutreachMedia. Nowadays this mostly happens through email. The team provides information to the journalist on the steps to be taken and connects them with the key people in the fields of the journalist's interest. For television or film crew the situation is more complex. While the Indian crew only need filming permission from the Auroville Foundation (which goes through OutreachMedia), foreign filmmakers, in addition, need to follow the procedures required by the Government of India to film in India. In addition they need to provide a full synopsis of their film, obtain a recommendation from the Indian Embassy in their country, with full details of the filming crew, and submit this to the Indian Government, through the Auroville Foundation.
On the day before Auroville's birthday, an early press team arrives to document preparations at the Amphitheatre

OutreachMedia not only facilitates the logistics of the arrival and stay of the journalists and film makers, but also assists in shaping the film's scenario and introducing the crew to relevant parties. Because of financial constraints, crews rarely come beforehand to prepare the ground. Outreach-Media's logistical support helps the team to start shooting from day one, accompanied by a member of the team who shows them around. Aurovilians, OutreachMedia notices, feel more confident to talk about their work or personal experience knowing OutreachMedia has done some pre-screening.
But the services from Outreach-Media do not come for free. “We must keep the service unit rolling,” says co-coordinator Cecilia. “We have expenses, that's why we ask a contribution from the journalists. Of course we try not to charge poor film students for example, who may have no production company or television-stations behind them.”
A contribution is also being asked when magazines ask for photographs in high resolution. With Auroville's professional photographers, the team wants to set up a databank of images. “It is only fair that they also are being paid for their work.”
Another question that constantly comes up is how to protect Auroville's integrity while being open to media. Cecelia says: “We think there need to be some guidelines that would regulate the service we are offering. The question is how we can do that without being perceived as ‘censors' by the outside media.”
Sometimes OutreachMedia has to manage the chaos from over-zealous press attention. Fabienne gives the example of the bonfire on Auroville's 40th birthday that was such an occasion. “To meet the demand for filming and photographing the event, and to prevent disturbance to the thousands of visitors attending the ceremony, we arranged a high, partitioned section in the amphitheatre. And this was much appreciated by the press though, it was perceived to be restrictive by Auroville's professional photographers.”
Recently the team held their first meeting for the Tamil Press. A PowerPoint presentation by governing board member Ameeta Mehra was shown and the journalists were informed about the ‘why' of Auroville. A panel of Aurovilians was available, each member a specialist on topics such as village relations, governance, education, economics, town planning and land purchase. Fabienne says: “It was quite successful and for days after the meeting there was a stream of positive reporting about Auroville in the local papers.”
Mauna says that after all these years she still enjoys showing the press-people around. “You work for five or seven days very closely together with visiting journalists and film-makers and this creates a bond. Sometimes years later you still receive emails, interesting articles or a photo.
“But the work is not always easy. For instance when a journalist, seeing all this gold on the Matrimandir, or the many photos of the Mother and Sri Aurobindo all over Auroville, asks how he can explain to his readers that Auroville is not a sect. Answering such a question needs some insight and definitely sharpens the mind.”
Robert
Photo credit: Photo Giorgio Home > Journals & Media > Journals > Auroville Today > Managing the media Current issue Archive copies The Auroville Experience

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Bikaner Museum online exhibition on Aurangzeb

from Aslam Durani <aslamdurani@gmail.com> date18 June 2008 02:32 subject Aurangzeb, as he was according to Mughal Records, Dear Brother/Sister, Salaam 'Alaikum

I would like to share with you - Aurangzeb, as he was according to Mughal Records - based on Historical Research and Documents provided by the Bikaner Museum, Rajasthan, India. Kindly view online exhibition at http://according-to-mughal-records.blogspot.com/ You are welcome to share this with your friends and associates. Aslam Durani

Friday, June 13, 2008

There is absolutely no beach in Pondicherry

Dear Tusar M, As proposed, I am giving below the two pieces I wished to, as a reply to the article in New York Times and to the Tourism move by the greedy Government, at the cost of environment and ecology. For your publication suitably if you feel. Good wishes, Aju Mukhopadhyay

Friday, 13 June, 2008
From the road it seems that the sea has gone further down. No one can easily approach the sea
Ode to the Sea and Beach of Pondicherry By Aju Mukhopadhyay

The Coastline Aju Mukhopadhyay From Pondicherry Environment by (c)Aju Mukhopadhyay, 2007 3:39 PM

Many thanks Tusar M, There is absolutely no beach in Pondicherry - towards Auroville there is something but for the Govt activity in the port area the whole sea front is now dangerous. The beach - raised makeshift beach like thing is dangerous with notice that no one should try to swim for really some have been drowned. The sea beach and walking Mother with Pranab Bhattacharya is the cover picture of my book - a record for what has been lost. There is little chance for its recovery, more may go unless Nature herself decides otherwise. However, let us see if people respond. Good wishes, Aju M

Tamil culture is very much discriminated against in Auroville

Friday, June 13, 2008 பப்ளிக் ஆன் AUROVILLE
My blog
www.nandhivarman.wordpress.com Received the following comments: 2 Responses to “GOVERNMENT OF INDIA MUST RE-EVALUATE AUROVILLE”

sampradayak Says: June 11, 2008 at 11:48 am e You are so right! Auroville is a neo-colonialist village occupied by the foreigners who enslaved the local Tamil populations! Every foreigner has a personal Tamil amma or gardener now. But the French woman Mira Richard who founded Auroville said that there must be no personal servants. 95% of Matrimandir was build by the hands of hired Tamil workers from villages. But Mira Richard said that Matrimandir must be built by Aurovillians. Not by hired labor. Bharath Nivas, Pavilion of India, was to showcase the best of India culture. The Central Gov. spends crores of rupees each year on it.

At the cost of Indian tax-payer the French and Germans do their salsa, jazz and western ballet/theater shows&workshops.The French Aurovillians occupied Pavilion of India. There are almost no programs about Indian culture. But even these rare Indian cultural programs mostly are staged by foreigners who can pay the rent! SriAurobindo auditorium rent fee for showing French and German films is 10 times more than the rent fee for Indian cultural programs!!!!!!

joywave77 Says: June 11, 2008 at 3:42 pm e it’s a bit more complicated, there are progs about Indian culture, -what progs, eh? are they the best of India culture? no, 1 french told me frankly - they don’t want the best, they allow only the worst (uncultured locals, awkward oldies, graceless v.i.p.’s from delhi), to show that indian culture is junk!

My blog in www.nandhivarman.rediffland.com received this comment. Savitri Era If this is she of whom the world has heard, Wonder no more at any happy change. Savitri Era of those who adore, Om Sri Aurobindo and The Mother. Thursday, June 12, 2008

Savitri Era Party welcomes N. Nandhivarman's 100 Questions N. Nandhivarman, General Secretary, Dravida Peravai, in his article, "AUROVILLE’s MATRIMANDIR: AN EYE OPENER," has promised that he will raise "100 Questions for generating awareness about the happenings in Auroville and to ensure Government of India intervenes to effect amendment to Act and initiate corrective measures." [7:06 AM & 12:22 PM] Savitri Era Party welcomes this. [TNM]

balachander cv said...11:16 AM 7/Jun/08 It is true. Tamil culture is very much discriminated against in Auroville. Proof of it is for example this. The Central Government gives generous grants to maintain the Bharat Nivas complex, and to conduct activities in Sri Aurobindo auditorium. Jazz, salsa and hip-hop workshops? In Bharat Nivas, pavlion of India, only 5% of activities have some connections with Indian culture. But even in these 5% mostly foreigners are allowed to perform Indian cultural shows! As per Bharat Nivas rates, for showing a French movie, the French managers of aurofilm pay rs.400.For organising bharathanatyam programmes it costs rs.4000 -10 times more than for showing a French movie! Is Auroville is still a French colony?

mallikacute Says: June 12, 2008 at 4:33 am e Large amounts were stolen by the former treasurer of Matrimandir: a French man who calls himself “Divakar”. The scam was very easy to discover as Divakar, contrary to India’s laws, didnot keep the bills for most expenses. No bills! A former Police Liason officer of Auroville publicly accused this French man of siphoning of huge amounts, and called for a thorough investigation of Divakar’s criminal activity. The donors to Matrimandir were not informed that the crores were stolen! Divakar, who never pays the Indian income tax, does not have a job, officially “no income”, now enjoys a very rich lifestyle, often travels around the globe, stays in 5-star hotels, buys very costly gifts for his friends and girlfriends. How? Leave a Reply
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