“A Handful of Earth”, Anu Shares the Mother’s Vision
Auroville was inaugurated across a barren and arid plateau in 1968. Over this terrain a city was started for the transformation of life and humankind, with a plan that looked like no other on Earth, soon to be known as the Galaxy plan. “I tell people that the creation of a city such as Auroville has more weight in the history of the earth than all the groupings of the world,” the Mother would say.
Human Unity is a challenging aim in today’s world, but the deep red earth of Auroville, is penetrated by a Dream and waits to fulfill her destiny. By 1969 communities had started, saplings planted and wells dug while a town planning study was underway to help raise funds in order to buy land and start the city that the Mother and Sri Aurobindo had set in motion since 1931.
On May 31, 1969, the Mother would recount: “Two nights ago, I spent more than three hours with Sri Aurobindo, and I showed him all that was going to descend for Auroville… I was explaining to him as if on a table, in front of a large landscape… of what was going to be done. I was moving people and things… and he was very interested, laying broad laws of organization…It was a harmony, a conscious harmony behind things…
“ALL THAT IS NEEDED IS A HANDFUL OF EARTH… A LITTLE SOIL TO LET IT GROW….”
Clearly, Auroville was not going to be one more city, to perpetuate the sameness of human life and human fallibility, but a place where the Consciousness would find an anchor in all facets of the emerging city.
The Mother had waited three years till she was satisfied with the plan that the architect, Roger Anger, brought to her in January 1968. A few months later in April, she would define the city plan and its purpose: The Divine Plan manifested through Human Unity.
Auroville is a magnificent challenge and an experiment to build a future for humanity. As the architect would say: “This shows how inadequate the standard techniques and vocabulary of Town Planning can be. But this inadequacy should not exempt it from carrying out a research on the principles of organization and working of its urban spaces and environment… its philosophical and humanitarian purpose, as well as the will to fit the architecture to the framework of life… and exigencies of change.”
Fortunately, many handfuls of earth have come to Auroville in the last five decades through countless donations, small and large. These gifts of generosity have enabled the Matrimandir and the Peace Area, some growth in each the four Zones and the Greenbelt and the greening of the land. But, there is still a long way to go, as very little of the envisioned city is in place. The situation is particularly urgent as land prices keep escalating and developers buy up land within the Master Plan limits of the city and greenbelt.
On priority are lands bordering the Matrimandir area and missing parcels along the Crown, as these are key elements of the city plan. Significant land pockets remain to be acquired in the four zones as well. Without them the city remains difficult to plan and realize practically and harmoniously, together with the necessary urban, environmental, energy and mobility guidelines. Similarly, adequate land is needed for the Greenbelt to form a stable agricultural base, create a sustainable environmental ring around the town and build collaborations with the bio region.
The land Auroville holds in trust under the Auroville Foundation is for the Divine’s work: to fulfil the Charter through a planned city for generations to come. It must therefore be protected by right land use in accordance with the Auroville Master Plan and, with the help of statutory State protection as Tamil Nadu has, with great generosity, enabled this experiment for the world on its land.
Land has always come to Auroville as a gift from donors committed to help the Dream manifest.
Every contribution that comes is precious and has our deepest gratitude.