Auroville seems to be a great place for kids to grow up. The education is quite radical… no exams or qualifications until the age of 16, then it’s your choice if you want exams! We were speaking recently to someone educated in Auroville who has a PhD, so I guess it can work! There’s loads of freedom, and the youths seem to have a remarkable amount of self-disclipline. We’ll be visiting the schools during the week, I’m really keen to learn more about this.
We recently went to the youth centre, which the kids put together themselves. They said that they didn’t like their parents’ work ethic so they built their own youth centre to hang out in… with no sense of irony. However, it appears that they may have cheated a little and used some cheap labour from the local Indian villages. But this is a widespread issue which doesn’t just apply to the kids… more on this later.
They even have a grant from Auroville which pays for a maid! But they do work hard as well, and the community has an incredible vibrancy and identity. We also went to a pizza evening they organise every Saturday night which helps pay for their ongoing projects.
Auroville can take itself very seriously and until you tap into the youth culture, it seems rather lacking in fun and energy. There seems to be a bit of a firm establishment which is rather serious. This is most pronounced around the Matrimandir where the peace and serenity nazis make sure silence is aggressively maintained. So it was nice to see a fundraising evening for a project in Africa involving much dancing and merriment. It looked like Auroville really appreciated this evening!
Today we went to an event for women from the local villages who Auroville has been helping. It involved endless talking, and I left when I was ordered to take photos of things I had no interest in. The women were fantastic though… always great to be around the amazing energy of Indian women.