Auroville is a 12 square KM Universal/International township near Pondicherry, South India and is an interesting experiment in Human Unity. There are currently around 2300 residents from more than 50 countries living here but only 40% of them are Indians.
Here, the land belongs to nobody, there is no religion/political systems, there is supposed to be no monetary exchanges (but there is), work is more of an endeavor to advance human consciousness than maximize profits, and there are no salaries based on designations. All Auroville residents are volunteers and receive a fixed monthly allowance of around Rs. 10,000 using which they can pay for food, provisions, electricity, etc.
Living here is not inexpensive as volunteers need to build their own homes in a short period after they arrive. Since land belongs to no one, they cannot sell their houses if they choose to relocate elsewhere. Many residents may have other sources of income which they use for expenditure as profits from commercial units located within Auroville goes to the Central Fund. Some basic facilities like education, basic health care, culture & sports activities are free of cost (for the residents).
In Auroville schools, a student can achieve 12th Std level educational qualification without writing/passing a single exam! But other forms of traditional education options are also available here and in neighboring Pondy.
What I love about Auroville is their contribution towards research and implementation of Sustainable Living principles/methodologies in their day to day life. Some of which are,
- Solar panels power most houses in Auroville. Solar water heating systems, wind mills, solar kitchens, and biogas systems are wide spread.
- Organic food is grown in various farms around Auroville and many experiments in organic farming have been encouraged.
- Alternative health care systems like Homeopathy, Ayurveda, Acupuncture, Reiki, etc. are actively practiced.
- More than two million native trees have been grown on 2890 acres around Auroville. They have also built multiple water storage reservoirs in that area.
I learned something about Auroville and their excellent initiatives (commercial and cultural) during the recent ‘Auroville in Chennai’ festival. I have written about some of them: Sadhana Forest, Tsunamika Doll/Upasana, One Asia Project, Medical Clowning, etc. I’ll write about a few more in the near future – stay tuned!
To me, Auroville represents an Ideal in Sustainable Living. An ideal I am trying to achieve living in a city. I am surprised on how much I didn’t know about an interesting experiment going on right in my neighborhood!
Further Information: Auroville.org.
Auroville is a concept that inspires me. I hope it will inspire you too.