Puducherry

Aurovillians recall creation of city

As a golden bonfire glow and the first rays of the sun lit up the Matrimandir, Aurovillians and scores of visitors went back in time on Wednesday in remembrance of the day 50 years ago when Mirra Alfassa, The Mother to her followers and spiritual collaborator of Sri Aurobindo, founded Auroville as a universal township and an experiment in human unity in diversity.

On the inaugural day five decades ago on February 28, 1968, around 5,000 people assembled near a banyan tree at the centre of what was then proposed site for the City of Dawn. Youth representatives of 124 nations, including all the States of India, gently placed a handful of soil from their homeland on a raised, lotus-shaped marble urn. From here would rise the gold disc encrusted Matrimandir as not a magnificent symbol of the spirit of Auroville but a place revered as the soul of the township.

Aurovillians recall creation of city

Tribute paid

Recreating that moment of magic, youth volunteers carrying water from 300 places across the globe circled the Matrimandir. Aurovillians and visitors paid tribute in meditative silence as instrumental music played softly in the background.

The water would later be mixed together in a symbolic reiteration of the The Mother’s vision of a place on earth that no nation could claim as its own and where men and women would live in peace and progressive harmony above all creeds, all politics and all nationalities.

Auroville is now home to about 2,500 members from 50 countries who live and work as one community in an ever-evolving experiment.

The universal township employs nearly 5,000 local people from the 13 adjoining villages — an estimated 23% of the budget (general) is earmarked for village development and 28% of the educational budget is allocated to village education.

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Printable version | Apr 17, 2021 9:18:53 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/puducherry/aurovillians-recall-creation-of-city/article22905988.ece

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