AUROVILLE UNDER SCANNER

OPEN DEBATE ON AUROVILLE : TIME FOR INTROSPECTION

 

You remain in ivory towers and have no touch with ground realities, I am sorry to point out. Let me quote from The First Post, the online daily magazine dated 24th May 2008 published in United Kingdom.

 

My Bizarre childhood in Auroville

 

The New Age commune revealed on TV is guiltier of child neglect than abuse, says Loic Rich.

 

“I was not surprised by the allegations of child abuse at Auroville – a progressive European community in India- that BBC news team made this week. As a 9 year old boy I lived there for three months in 1982. The place is a religious sect which shows up the arrogance, naivety and denial of liberal middle class values. It puts children in serious danger.

 

A town of great temple like structures set among palm trees in Tamilnadu region of south –east India, Auroville promotes a humanist philosophy, elements of Indian mysticism and a US frontier –style attitude. This either wore you down or toughened you up.

 

Adults work in construction, farming or even a newspaper, parenting is pretty low priority. Anyone could be a guardian, and children were left to run from the age of six. My own mother left me and my 7 year old sister to fend ourselves and disappeared to a remote section of the community to be with her lover. We had somewhere to sleep, a well managed primary school, and day trips on week ends. At meals time children ate by themselves, with a set of unwritten rules-if you got your hands on sweets you shared them with the group, else you ate outside.

 

Adults seemed to be there to provide for us, but with complete emotional disengagement. When the infection from a blister spread throughout my arm and I sought my mother for help, she just dismissed me as an attention seeker and I had to cycle to the doctor on my own. He rushed me to a hospital that had run out of anesthetic. I remember being held down by six medics while one made an incision with a scalpel and another squeezed the poison out of my arm.

 

I learned to fit in with the other children and we became emotionally dependent on each other, a kind of family, with the older children looking after the younger ones. Sex was a hot topic of discussion. Being only 9 I knew little of the facts of life, until they were graphically, alarmingly described by my Auroville peers. I heard of acts between fellow pupils, acts with children from the surrounding Tamil villages, and even what I would now regard as serious child abuse by adults.

 

Indeed, my sister twice had to fend off an attempted attack by an adult who persistently tried to get her to accept a lift home on his bicycle.

 

There were terrifying incidents of indecent exposure. We children rationalized the alleged abuse as something-along with snakes, monsoons and scorpions- that you just had to deal with in Auroville.

 

The solidarity among us was part Lord of the Files, part Jonestown cult. Together we shared a hatred for local Tamil children, who would apparently engage in sex for as little as five rupees, and those who had been excluded from school for various misdemeanors. I suffered this fate myself when I was wrongfully convicted of stealing a purse by a self appointed council of children. I was banned from the primary school, no longer welcome in my lodgings, distrusted even by the adults and sent to live in an isolated hut on stilts in a wood. I found the solitude strengthening, I made friends with two other exotically named outcasts-Gandalf and Mooney. Despite the horrors, there was something hopeful and well meaning about the place.

 

After my mother separated from her partner and fell ill we returned to the UK. Naïve young people come to Auroville searching for spiritual contentment. Although it espouses a seemingly charitable philosophy of living in harmony with Nature and your neighbors, and although it attracts support of the United Nations and Indian Government, the community fails in its most basic purpose. Auroville just does not know how to care for the people who come there.”

 

Courtesy: THE FIRST POST.

 

This is the first confession which spontaneously came out from a British in the aftermath of BBC news night.

 

Adecom Network, an non-governmental organization based in Puducherry in its Report on Women and Child Trafficking in Pondicherry released in 13th February 2003 .Adecom is a social voluntary organization registered in 1991, which stands for Animation, Development, Employment and Communication. Instead of quoting the full report let me quote the paragraph wherein Auroville finds mentions.

 

“Places like Auroville woman were exploited by the tourist people. They keep the woman for housemaids and using for indulging in sex activities also for a minimum salary. Some of the older tourists in the age of 60 or more marry very young girls in the age of 16 to 20. Because of poverty the young girls accept for marriage and lose their future. The foreigners called as Aurovillians take more advantage on widows for sexual abuse. Some women become drug addicts and underwent treatment too. In Auroville they have nice buildings for childcare and hostel for boys. In these places the boys were misused by the foreigners. For any awareness creation or rehabilitation the Foundation does not allow outsiders or sectors to their place. The information we collected is that Auroville itself did not take any effort to reduce the above mentioned problems.”

 

Courtesy: Report on Women and Child Trafficking in Pondicherry by Adecom.

 

 

The language of the report may not be scholarly but it conveys the message. This is published in Tamil in book form by an NGO from Bangalore known as Equations.

 

These will not be sufficient to convince our Dr.Karan Singh, who always thinks that curbing such crimes or weeding out weeds are not his job, and his duty is to ensure all such crimes should not tarnish the image of the institution. He is furious with the BBC reporter, conveniently forgetting that when his views were sought there was no response from his side, and after repeated attempts, emails to his official and personal ID did not bring the replies sought, it is reliably learnt. Ample opportunity was given to the self appointed spokesperson of the Auroville Foundation Mr.Carel Theime, and we leave it to those who saw the BBC to arrive at their own conclusion, when he said Didier Kiem was asked to leave, when he was suspected to be a peadophile. No other peadophile, he asserted. The question that haunted the minds of the viewers is instead of handing over to Police, why such pedophiles were just sent out?

 

Let me quote a letter in verbatim,[ the signed copies are available], a letter written by Mr.C.Balakrishnan, Joint Secretary [P] Tel: 3381096 Letter marked as Confidential/Most immediate Ref : No.F-27-39/2003-UU dated 30th June 2003, addressed to Dr.Kireet Joshi Chairman Auroville Foundation 36 Tuglabad Institutional Area , Near Batra Hospital, MB Road New Delhi.

 

Dear Dr.Kireet Joshi

 

It has brought to the notice of this Ministry that the Ashram inmates of Auroville Foundation, Pondicherry including foreigners are corresponding with the Ministries/Department of GOI directly to elicit favorable decisions.

 

It has also been brought to our notice that in the absence of Secretary Auroville Foundation, the Ashram inmates, especially foreigners are indulging in undesirable activities including acquisition of BENAMI private properties around the Ashram taking up commercial ventures, involvement of ANTI SOCIAL ACTIVITIES INCLUDING CRIMINAL GANG ACTIVITIES.etc.

 

Further it had been suggested that with a significant number of inmates being foreigners, there is an urgent need to fill up the post of Secretary to ensure proper monitoring of foreigners and their activities.

 

I shall be grateful if you could kindly look into these serious issues for immediate action and take appropriate security measures under intimation to this Ministry, while giving permission to foreigners in Auroville Foundation.

 

With Regards

Yours sincerely

C.Balakrishnan

 

I hope that Dr.Karan Singh will now feel relieved that such complaints had been aired even during his predecessor’s time, and his tenure is not the starting point of such crimes.

 

The BBC carried my interview, where I told “Till one gets exposed they shield them, and once exposed send them out. These people come to Pondicherry and continue there abuse against children. I had to take it up at national level”. In order to throw more light on this statement let me quote in verbatim a letter written by then Defense Minister of India, Comrade George Fernandes. {Ref: D.O No.99/RMR/VIP/868 dated 26th October 1999 addressed to Home Minister L.K.Advani.

 

“Dear Lalji

 

Enclosed herewith in its original a letter from Mr.N.Nandhivarman, General Secretary of the Dravida Peravai along with the enclosures attached thereto. As you can see the letter is addressed to you and has been sent to me only to forward to you.

 

The documents sent by him provide evidence of the practice of pedophilia in Pondicherry.It also appears that the law enforcement authorities have turned a blind eye to what is happening.

 

I hope you will direct the concerned authorities to take necessary action against all those involved in this crime against our children.

 

With Kind Regards

Yours sincerely

George Fernandes

 

HOME MINISTER REPLY:

 

Ref: No.U-677/HMP/99 dated 29th October 1999

 

Dear Shri Fernandesji

 

I am in receipt of your D.O. letter No: 99/RMR/VIP/868 dated 26th October 1999 enclosing therewith a letter addressed to you by Shri.N.Nandhivarman, General Secretary Dravida Peravai, 28, Romain Rolland Street, Pondicherry regarding alleged practice of pedophilia in Pondicherry.

 

I am having the matter looked into.

 

With Regards

Yours sincerely

L.K.Advani.

 

These letters prove my statement I took the issue up to national level culminating in the arrest of Didier Kiem in 2002, a man honorably sent out of Auroville without being handed over to Police, finally got the punishment.

 

In blogs so many people have started to debate about the happenings in Auroville, in response to my blogs. Let me quote a few here.

 

  1. sampradayak Says:

You are so right!
Auroville is a neo-colonialist village occupied by the foreigners who enslaved the local Tamil populations!

Every foreigner has a personal Tamil amma or gardener now.
But the French woman Mira Richard who founded Auroville said that there must be no personal servants.

95% of Matrimandir was build by the hands of hired Tamil workers from villages.
But Mira Richard said that Matrimandir must be built by Aurovillians. Not by hired labor.

Bharath Nivas, Pavilion of India, was to showcase the best of India culture. The Central Gov. spends crores of rupees each year on it.
At the cost of Indian tax-payer the French and Germans do their salsa, jazz and western ballet/theater shows&workshops.
The French Aurovillians occupied Pavilion of India. There are almost no programs about Indian culture. But even these rare Indian cultural programs mostly are staged by foreigners who can pay the rent! SriAurobindo auditorium rent fee for showing French and German films is 10 times more than the rent fee for Indian cultural programs!!!!!!

  1. joywave77 Says:

It’s a bit more complicated, there are progs about Indian culture, -what progs, eh? Are they the best of India culture? no, 1 French told me frankly – they don’t want the best, they allow only the worst (uncultured locals, awkward oldies, graceless v.i.p.’s from Delhi), to show that Indian culture is junk!

 balachander cv said…

11:16 AM | 7/Jun/08 | |

 

It is true. Tamil culture is very much discriminated against in Auroville. Proof of it is for example this. The Central Government gives generous grants to maintain the Bharat Nivas complex, and to conduct activities in Sri Aurobindo auditorium. Jazz, salsa and hip-hop workshops? In Bharat Nivas, pavlion of India, only 5% of activities have some connections with Indian culture. But even in these 5% mostly foreigners are allowed to perform Indian cultural shows! As per Bharat Nivas rates, for showing a French movie, the French managers of aurofilm pay rs.400.For organising bharathanatyam programmes it costs rs.4000 -10 times more than for showing a French movie!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Is Auroville is still a French colony????????????

 

2 thoughts on “AUROVILLE UNDER SCANNER

  1. elodiepoirier

    Auroville is the International town. There are many French people that live there. They also need some entertainment, they want to watch French films that show life in France, our life, our cities, our people, adventures, philosophy, art, economy, intimate life, rich people, cars, also crimes like bank robbers, drug traffikers, prostututes, corruption, mafia, and horrible scenes. The French children must know this because they go to Europe when they grow up, and they never come back. Why do they need the Indian culture?

    Films are provided free of charge to Aurofilm by Aliance Francaise in Puducherry. But the French government doesnot provide grants to pay for screening of these films. What to do?

    In this situation one of ways is to subsidise the screening of French films from the rent amounts received from the Indian cultural events in Sri Aurobindo Auditorium. The French people are not so rich in Auroville, they can’t pay for cinema.

  2. adaure

    Dravida.

    I have lived around ten years in the Ashram and Auroville in the 70/80 periode. I thing, you are very far from the truth, the real picture, is ten time worst to what any can imagine. I really feel sorry for the tamil people, who have offered their land and work force. It’s time that an international inquiery should be made, whith an internet site for every one to lodge complains. As for pedophylia; i remember that for years this french man who was living in aspiration. He was giving monney to a certain number of tamil kids of the village, for spacial favours!… That went on for years. As for the ashram, some ten years ago, the Lok Saba had ask for an investigation on the ashram. The ashramite, were accused of slavery, (not because they were paying poorly the tamil workers!) but because they were anslaving their own young people… And of sexual misconduct; all the tamil waitress, becoming pregnant… We could go on for hours about Auroville and the Ashram… When the person that has been in charge of the Matrimandir finances for more than 30 years, was ask about account, he said he had none!… Dear Dravida, personnaly hope that india, and even more, that the tamil people will take over. Mother said that the first aurovillans, were the tamil born on that land… Could you do worth to what thoose people have made of Auroville! I left Auroville in the early 80th seeing clearly it’s dark future. When i came back years later, it was even worth to what i had predicted…
    So dear Dravida, it’s a difficult work you have undertaken, but unless, the gouvernement do not take the step (and can it? You have to remember, that all the big people of india, has a member of it’s family connected to the asram, ( and at list one kids having grown and study in the ashram school! And what about the legendary indian corruption?) and so to Auroville! Now the only way, is to pass true the UNESCO, or other world institutions. But i think taht a good talk to UNESCO (they still give there credit to Auroville, and i think if you tell them that you will associate Auroville bad image, with the Unesco’s, that might make them change. THERE SHOULD BE AN INTERNATIONAL INVESTIGATION MADE… and complain lodge…

    adaure!…

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