History & Culture

‘Auroville is not a ready-made Utopia’

“Auroville was created, eyes wide open,” says Anu Majumdar, “In the midst of this human landscape, it continues to hold not just hope, but an affirmation that a different existence is possible...” The dancer, choreographer, poet and author’s latest book, Auroville: A city for the future (published by Harper Collins) was just launched at the Unity pavilion in Auroville. As a resident of the experimental community, Majumdar says, “It is not a ready-made utopia but a change that must come about through a shift in consciousness that can enable human unity beyond race, religious, economic, egoistic or other divisions. Auroville is a place to work towards this change, at a small but universal scale.”

How does Majumdar visualise the evolution of Auroville in the next 25 years? She says that it needs to become the city it was meant to be in order to enable the different parts of its experiment that are material and physical as well as spiritual. She points out, “Even as a city, it offers a different kind paradigm. At a time when most of the world’s population is veering towards cities, there is growing burden where even medium cities tend to bulge and sprawl bringing with them all the attendant difficulties of planning, mobility, crime, poverty and so on. Interestingly, Auroville was envisioned as a planned and sustainable micropolis which may have a lot to offer – I go into this at length in the book.”

    ‘Auroville is not a ready-made Utopia’

    According to her, there are about 2,700 people from about 52 nations living in the community, which was established 50 years ago. Although this has made for a very solid diversity, it needs many more people to be able grow further and make the next step as a planned, sustainable city.

    Majumdar who grew up in Auroville, and has lived there since 1979, is of the opinion that it sits on a tremendously creative spring for which she is deeply grateful. “It has offered me so many levels of inspiration and the freedom to explore different mediums.”

    She talks about how, from a vast barren land, Auroville has today created lush flora and fauna. Environmental work has been its most visible achievement, bringing a deeper sense of respect for nature and a natural responsibility to keep nurturing it. Does the author perceive it as a place of refuge?

    “In Auroville, the sense of refuge probably grows as an inner freedom matures. It is a place for change. One has to be ready for many inner and outer challenges and transformations, both tough and miraculous.”

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    Printable version | Aug 2, 2021 12:59:36 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/society/history-and-culture/all-about-the-new-book-by-anu-majumdar/article19769351.ece

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