Auroville – City of Dawn
„There should be somewhere on earth a place which no nation could claim as its own, where all human beings of goodwill who have a sincere aspiration, could live freely as citizens of the world and obey one single authority, that of the supreme Truth; a place of peace, concorn and harmony, (…)“ starts a manifesto „A Dream“ written in 1954 by „The Mother“, a disciple of Sri Aurobindo, who was the first Indian leader to ask for absolute independence and later withdrew from politics completely focusing on yoga.
Twelve years later, the idea was endorsed by UNESCO and two years after that the inauguration of Auroville, „a universal town where men and women of all countries are able to live in peace and progressive harmony“ took place with a presence of youth representing 124 countries and 23 Indian states. Ten square kilometers of land undergoing a vast desertification nearby a former French colony of Pondicherry were purchased for purposes of this experimental town that has functioned as a separate community where people live free refraining even from religions ever since.
The original plan by a French architect Roger Anger, thought for 50,000 people and spread over 25 square kilometers, is slowly being materialized. A nearly thirty meters high golden globe called Matrimandir is surrounded by twelve gardens characterizing different states of consciousness. The construction of this center and the soul of the community, counting almost 3000 people from over 50 countries, started 1971 and took 37 years to complete.
Using money from the Government of India, multiple NGOs and its citizens, Auroville is self-sufficient in severals levels education, with six schools providing education for both residents and people from neighbouring villages, including evening classes for workers. Same applies for a medical care equipped with pharmacy, labs, X-ray and other facilities. The city also employs over four thousands local citizens.
There is no individual authority, all Aurovilians have a vote on ad-hoc Residents Assembly Meetings, basic administrative needs are handled by time to time volunteers. This is probably how The Mother, who was born in the late 19th centrury as Mirra Alfassa in Paris and could enjoy only five years after her project came to life, would imagine the city to evolve into. Once a deserted area is nowadays full of lush greenery and looking up to a bright future.
Would you be more interested in the ideas behind the township, feel free to watch this nearly an hour long documentary City of the Dawn.