The Auroville-City of Dawn, tucked away in the Tamil Nadu State of India, is an experimental international community. The township was founded by human unity, spiritualism, sustainable living, harmony, and peace. While some view the experimental township as a Utopia made into reality, others think it to be akin to a cult. The township has attracted a large foreign population and is a major tourist destination in India.
5. Description and History -
Auroville (City of Dawn) is an experimental and universal township situated in the state of Tamil Nadu, near Pondicherry in India. The township was intended to host up to 50,000 inhabitants from all over the world. Currently, the settlement is home to nearly 2,500 people, mostly Indians, French, Germans, and Italians. The township aims at human unity, where people from different places live in peace and harmony and devoid of nationality, religion, caste or politics.
The township started with a vision by Mirra Alfassa, also known as Mother. Mother was an ally of Sri Aurobindo, with whom she collaborated in the quest for spirituality and higher consciousness. She envisioned a township founded on human unity regardless of color, gender, nationality, religion, or race. The township was designed by Roger Anger, a French architect and started in 1968 with the approval of India's government and UNESCO. UNESCO has facilitated the township's protection since its inauguration.
4. Global Recognition-
Auroville is recognized as the only internationally approved and continuing experiment in human unity, diversity, and transformation of consciousness. At the township's inauguration, 124 nations were represented by delegates. The township is also renowned for its efforts in environmental sustainability through green practices. Auroville is recognized as a blueprint for the future of humanity.
3. Unique Ways of Life -
The residents of Auroville live a basic life and collectively contribute to the township's sustenance. No single individual owns anything in the township, which has been working towards a cashless economy. Politics and religion are not practiced, rather, the inhabitants engage in meditation and spiritualism. The residents live as part of community and practice organic living.
2. Economy and Governance -
The inhabitants of Auroville engage in a variety of economic activities such as agriculture, Information & Technology, education, and commerce. The township's economic projects provide employment for inhabitants of the surrounding villages. The Auroville Foundation owns most assets of the township.
The Township is governed by three bodies. The Governing Board which is the highest authority and the International Advisory Council have their members chosen by the government. The third body, the Resident's Assembly, is made up of all the official residents of the community.
1. Threats and Criticisms-
Auroville has not yet realized its vision of human unity, as tensions exist between Indians and a large number of foreigners. Management of the community has been a source of conflict between the Sri Aurobindo Society and the government. The vision for the community to be devoid of politics and greed has subsequently been compromised.
The township has been criticized for being a form of self-indulgent escapism, where people uproot their existing lives to move to the community.