Auroville: a universal city
Auroville is a planned universal township for up to 50,000 people under development in south east India, located close to the Coromandel Coast some 10 kilometres north of Pondicherry and 150 kms south of Chennai.
Aspects of Auroville can be found in other communities and projects around the world, but Auroville is the world's first and only internationally-recognised centre for research in human unity, which is also concerned with - and practically researching into - humanity’s future cultural, environmental, social and spiritual needs. Its global importance is emphasised by the fact that it has been endorsed by UNESCO, and enjoys the full support and encouragement of the Government of India, its host nation, who have approved its Master Plan. Auroville is a planned universal township for up to 50,000 people under development in south east India, located close to the Coromandel Coast some 10 kilometres north of Pondicherry and 150 kms south of Chennai.
The concept of a universal / international township devoted to an experiment in human unity originally sprang from the writings of India's great philosopher-yogi Sri Aurobindo. However, it was his French-born spiritual co-worker Mirra Alfassa, known as The Mother, who first gave it more concrete form, by naming it 'Auroville' and stating:
"Auroville wants to be a universal town where men and women of all countries are able to live in peace and progressive harmony, above all creeds, all politics and all nationalities. The purpose of Auroville is to realise human unity."
This was the first public statement on Auroville, given out in 1965. Next, in 1966, the concept of Auroville was put before the General Assembly of UNESCO by the Indian Government, and was unanimously endorsed. Two years later, on 28th February 1968, youth representing 124 nations and all the Indian States came together to inaugurate the township and receive its Charter.
At the same time UNESCO repeated its unanimous endorsement of the project, and did so again in 1970 and 1983.
In 1988 the project was given special status by the Government of India, when the ‘Auroville Foundation’ was created by an Act of Parliament. There are three separate but interacting bodies which make up the Foundation - a Governing Board with Secretary resident in Auroville, an International Advisory Council and a Residents Assembly, the latter comprising all Aurovilians on the Master List of residents aged 18 or over.
The site chosen for Auroville was a severely eroded plateau extending eastwards to the sea. An early priority for the project was the environmental regeneration and reafforestation of the area, which in the late 1960s had been officially described in a Government report as being in "an advanced state of desertification." Tens of thousands of trees and shrubs were planted (to date over 2 million) and erosion control begun, with the result that the area now has a green and widely forested landscape. Alongside this work, emphasis has always been placed on development using non-polluting appropriate technology and sustainable energy generating systems.
For further information on Auroville please visit the website www.auroville.org
Last Updated (Wednesday, 07 October 2009 18:26)