Last updated: 12 Aug, 2022

Frequently asked questions on society

Q. How do people come to Auroville? 
A. Mostly, people hear about Auroville through friends or by way of press articles, videos, films or TV programmes in their country of origin. They then usually write for more information, or come for a visit. If they are convinced that it is a project they want to be directly involved in and contribute to, they then contact the Entry Group and begin the process of joining. 

Q. Can anyone join Auroville? 
A. Yes, provided they come with the right motivation. There is no discrimination against applicants on the basis of nationality, race, creed, class, religious background or other criteria. All initial applicants are treated equally. However, if in course of discussions with the Entry Group, or resulting from subsequently observed attitude or behaviour, it becomes apparent that someone is not yet suited for life in Auroville, they will usually be asked to wait for some time. Should this occur, they can re-apply at a later date when they are more ready for or suited to the Auroville adventure. 

Q. What is Auroville's relationship with the local villages? 
A. Mostly it is of a practical nature, based on work done by and with the villagers within Auroville. There are at least 8000 villagers coming to work every day for Auroville's structures, units, buildings, etc. On the whole, there is a good relationship, with a lot of mutual respect. Auroville is inextricably involved with the villages and knows that it cannot come up independently of them even if it wished to, which is definitely not the case. Meanwhile, an understanding of Auroville is steadily growing, especially among the younger generation.  Many activities are nowadays in common between Aurovilians and Villagers, namely Mohanam, Village Action, Thamarai, Bamboo Centre, and others.

Q. How do you resolve 'differences' or clashes within the community? 
A. Many internal problems are handled by the Executive Council, but there are also a number of people skilled in conflict resolution who can be called in when necessary. For differences affecting local villagers, there is a 'Village Liaison Group'. Mostly it is friends or neighbours who involve themselves in minor issues and try to settle them in an amicable way. The use of law courts or referral to other outsiders is considered unacceptable and to be avoided if possible. 

Q. Are there rich and poor Aurovilians? 
A. Yes, but this should not be seen as necessarily a bad thing or a problem needing to be solved. 

Q. Is Auroville sometimes accused of being neo-colonialist? 
A. Very rarely; mostly by Westerners who know little about Auroville and how it functions, and equally little about the colonial era. 

Q. Do you all get on well together? 
A. On the whole, yes, but of course we have our differences from time to time, just like human beings anywhere. We try to avoid letting any issue seriously divide us, and take conscious steps to resolve them amicably when they arise, by way of 'conflict resolution' specialists or a collective meeting. The 'glue' which ultimately binds us all together and helps us over-ride such differences is always our shared aspiration to realize the ideal of Auroville together. Meanwhile, a good dose of humour helps us to get along as well. 

 Q. Do you run yoga courses in Auroville? 
A. In Auroville, the word 'yoga' invariably refers to Sri Aurobindo's Integral Yoga. On this particular yoga, occasional courses or classes are given at Savitri Bhavan in the centre of the township. As for 'hatha yoga', regular classes are given in places like Quiet , Pitanga Hall, Verite', Arka... which are open to all Aurovilians and Newcomers, plus guests and visitors on payment of a  contribution (subject to number limitations). From time to time more intensive study weeks are organised. 

 Q. Do you have inter-racial problems in Auroville? 
A. No. The few problems which arise from time to time involving Westerners and the local Tamil people have nothing to do with racial differences. They invariably occur on issues that arise within any normal society, such as misunderstanding, land trespass, non-payment of monies due, failure to deliver goods or do work correctly, unacceptable behaviour, etc. 

 Q. Do you have any old people in Auroville? 
A. Yes, there are quite a few "aged" Aurovilians, among them the early "Pioneers". They continue to work and be active within the community and are widely respected and appreciated by their fellow Aurovilians. There are 'old people's homes' in Auroville, Arka provides some facilities, and new structures and facilities are being planned.

Q. How do you take care of your terminal cases? 
A. The Auroville Health Centre has an in-patient facility that allows seriously ill or terminal cases to be professionally cared for within the community, though a lot of the caring and help needed is provided by fellow Aurovilians who are friends or who feel drawn to support the person concerned. On the demise of an Aurovilian, every effort is made to keep their remains in Auroville, whether in the form of ashes after a cremation or by way of burial in an area allocated for this purpose in the settlement of Adventure. 

Q. Can one e-mail or use the internet in Auroville ?
A. Yes, there are public facilities in several spots of the city and wireless connections in almost all guest houses, cafeterias and restaurants. 

 Q. Do people marry in Auroville? 
A. Everyone is free in Auroville to follow their own inclinations. Many people come as married couples, of course, but also residents from time to time decide to get married. This is certainly more common among Tamil Aurovilians, whose culture is strongly oriented towards marriage and traditionally places a stigma on any other form of relationship. There are no prescriptions or tendencies as concerns the aspect of marriage and marriage-like relationships.