VILLUPURAM: The Auroville international township is all set to celebrate its golden jubilee, with the country’s prime minister watching.In the year 1964, the then executive president of Sri Aurobindo society in Puducherry, Mirra Alfassa coined the idea of setting up an international township, during an annual conference. The idea was to build a universal town, where people of all countries were welcome as equals.
Nealry twenty square kilometers land was selected for the project, close to Kuyilapalayam, Bhoomiyarpalayam, Periyamudaliyarchavady, Idiyanchavady, Kottakarai villages in Villupuram and Alankuppam in Puducherry region.
On February 28, 1968, the foundation was laid for the township. Sand from various countries was brought and kept in an urn at the township. The urn is now in the middle of the amphitheatre near Matrimandir, a globe shaped mediation center in Auroville. ‘Auroville’ in French, is a mixture of two words - ‘Aurore’ meaning dawn and ‘ville’ meaning city. First four letters also goes by the letters of Aurobindo’s name.
In 1980, Indian government passed Auroville emergency provision act, when a dispute arose between the Sri Aurobindo society and residents of the township. Now, the Auroville Foundation, which was formed after 1988, maintains the township.
Currently, over 2,500 persons from France, Germany, England, America, Canada, Russia and Spain live here along with Indians. Interestingly, the Aurovillians do not use currency inside the township. Instead, they are given account numbers connected to their central account and transactions are done via an ‘aurocard’, which works like a debit card.
Residents contribute to the foundation every month and also provide manpower for various works. Guests also pay a fee as contribution for the township’s maintenance. Aurovillians can also get support from the foundation, for their monthly expense and basic needs outside the township. Auroville also has small scale industries in the township to raise a central fund for the township’s upkeep. Hand-made papers and incense sticks, are some of the popular products from here.
Run for joy
A marathon named ‘run for joy’ was held on the 2nd Sunday of this month as part of foundation day celebration. On Wednesday, people will gather at amphitheatre before sunrise and meditate near a bonfire