Kailash Jhavery

Kailash Jhavery passed away at the age of 94.

Kailash was an Ashramite whom the Mother had appointed in the early seventies as secretary of the Sri Aurobindo Society’s UNESCO section in which capacity she wrote a booklet on Cultural Pavilions for the same. It became an important historical document as part of her task was to promote the ideas of Auroville’s International Zone.

She also wrote ‘Auroville and Education’ and other papers, and was quite instrumental for Auroville in the early years. Many long-term residents know her, and Richard Pearson, with whom she often came to the site.

OM~

 

Manoj Das

We would like offer our homage and reminiscences to Shri Manoj Das, a senior sadhak at the Sri Aurobindo Ashram, who passed away on the 27th of April.

Many of us knew Manoj Da through his various talks and personal contacts in Auroville. Manoj Da came to the Ashram in 1963 and since then was teaching at the Ashram School. Behind his calm and sweet presence was a great literary stalwart of modern India. He wrote in English and Odia short stories, articles and novels. In his home state Odisha, his writings became an instrument for many to get connected with the Mother and Sri Aurobindo. A household name there, he is considered a legend of Odia literature. He is also known as one of the greatest story tellers of modern India. Many awards and recognition came his way, including Padma Bhushan and Padma Vibhushan, the highest civilian awards of India. Despite his great achievements he was a sadhak first and foremost. While telling stories he was a child talking to children. The connection was instant and the impact lasted, for many, a lifetime. Auroville held a special meaning for him which brought him regularly here to either give talks or meet friends.

Manoj Da always remained humble, always approachable, always smiling, always ready with a story with a deep message to connect to a higher consciousness. His presence will be deeply missed.

On behalf of all residents of Auroville we offer our homage to the great servitor of the Mother and Sri Aurobindo.

The Working Committee
(Anu, Arun, Chali, Hemant, Partha, Sauro, Srimoyi)

Parvathi Jaiswal

In the very early morning of Friday 23 April, Smti Parvathi Jaiswal, mother of Giridev and Himal, passed away due to a stroke. She was 90 years old and had been living in Ami with her sons and grandchildren, who will sorely miss her.

Parvathi’s remains were buried at Auroville’s burial grounds the same day. Our warmest condolences go out to the family.

OM~

S. Bhavani Shankar

This is to inform the community, that our beloved Manager Mr. S. Bhavani Shankar, a senior Aurovilian, who worked with us from March’1991 to October’2011, has passed away peacefully in his native place Kurnool Dist, Andra Pradesh on Monday 03rd January 2021. He was accompanied by his Son and Daughter.

He was a diploma holder in Mechanical Engineering and worked as a Principal in a Private I.T.I. firm at Kurnool District. He also represented Senior State Volley Ball team of Andra Pradesh. After becoming the devotee of the Mother and Sri Aurobindo, Mr. Bhavani Shankar had come to visit the Ashram during his early days.

After that he joined Auroville in the year 1991 and stayed in Promesse community from his early days till 2011, when first he left Auroville due to elderly age problem. Then he returned back to Auroville after 2 years and started staying in Inspiration Community and stayed there until 2018, when he finally left Auroville again due to his age.

We, the Staff of Auroville Electrical Service, along the whole community of Auroville extend our deepest condolences to the bereaved family members and pray for him and his family members.

REST IN PEACE, SIR.
Auroville Electrical Service

Narayanasamy

This is to inform the community that our friend and brother, Aurovilian Gopal Narayanasamy from Douceur, left his body in the afternoon of 21 October at JIPMER due to a heart attack. He was 57 years old.

Narayanasamy was one of those kids from the villages around us who, at a very early age, roamed Auroville in the seventies, came to the Matrimandir workers’ tea times for a tea and a biscuit, and got to know and charmed many of the pioneers of that time. He came from Alankuppam and started living in Revelation in ’78, lived for some time in Hermitage, helping them plant trees, and was part of the team that created Horizon in 1980. In the beginning of the eighties he was taken up at Matrimandir as ‘helper tractor driver’, of course morphing into a much appreciated full time driver and working for Matrimandir for some ten years. 

After this, he joined Aurelec, where he worked as driver and messenger till the end of the nineties. He was a cheerful, friendly person who had many friends. While living in Douceur, he married his wife Vishva and started a taxi company from home with his own Ambassador car. During all these years, he maintained animated relations with his friends, participated in cycle tours, would organise Kodaikanal camps for Auroville’s school kids and at times came to community meetings as well. He remained a family man, and saw to it that his three daughters married well. In recent years he worked at the Auroville transport service and at La Piscine.

Narayanasamy’s body was taken to his home in Douceur, and buried the next day at Auroville’s burial grounds where, due to Covid19 regulations, only his family and closest friends were present.

Our warmest condolences and strength go out to Vishva, his wife, and their three daughters, Shamba, Vanitha and Nivetha.


Akash Nandkumar

Akash Nandkumar, a gentle soul who always meets everyone with a smile, is no more with us.

He came for Swadharma 5, July-Aug 2018, and after the programme continued to live in Auroville, developing Hempcrete. He was from Kerala, Palakkad, and had done Civil Engineering from Anna University. Hempcrete became his life’s passion and he was working with Auroville Earth Institute (& later with Tom Mo) and pioneering a difficult research and development work. During the lockdown, everything had practically slowed down or shut and his work too was not happening much. He had many personal struggles like everyone else and yet was finding his way through. It seems the difficulties were mounting, and on the 13th of October he chose to leave his body. He was 27 years old.

On 15 October, there was a gathering at the Tibetan Pavilion in his memory.

We will miss him deeply.

May his soul rest in peace and light.

Avinash, Divyanshi, Lalit, Manoj, Siddharth and Valentine (for ACI) & Tom Mo, AVEI Team & friends


Kamla Tewari

Dr. (Major) Kamla Tewari, MBBS, DGO, left her body peacefully on September 29, 2020 at 1830 hrs, surrounded by her loving family.

Kamla was born on 4th April 1927 in Jammu. From a young age, Kamla had made up her mind to study medicine, completing her MBBS degree at Lady Hardinge Medical College in Delhi in 1950. This was also the year she married a young army officer, Krishen Kumar Tewari (later Krishna).

The next few years found her raising three daughters and volunteering her medical expertise at free clinics and welfare centers. Following her father’s guidance, she never charged private fees, in service to our young and developing nation. She and Krishna lived by this ethos all their lives.

Her life changed dramatically in November 1962, when Krishna was taken prisoner of war on the Himalayan heights during the short but brutal India-China war. With three children, and no income (Krishna’s salary stopped the day he went missing in action) and determined to support herself and her daughters, she joined the Indian Army as a doctor. Her fourth daughter was born in 1965, and in the next many years she and Krishna juggled their military postings with their family life. They were both posted in Calcutta, in 1971, when India and Pakistan went to war over what became independent Bangladesh. This war awakened in both a deeper quest; a moment when they discovered Sri Aurobindo’s world view. Visiting Pondicherry with their daughters, they were present on 21st February 1972 for the foundation of the Matrimandir and Mother’s birthday. On the 22nd of February Krishna, Kamla and the girls were given a personal Darshan by Mother in her room. This moment had life altering consequences for all.

Upon retirement from the army in 1976, they moved first to Pondicherry, and then to Auromodel where Krishna started a farm while building their house. Kamla worked at the Sri Aurobindo Ashram dispensary in Pondicherry, and the rural Health Center in Aspiration, abutting Kuilapalayam, which The Mother had  started. Her presence energised the Health Centre, and for years she ran an active maternity and birth control clinic, helping to deliver close to a thousand babies. She thought nothing of hopping upon the back of cycles or motorcycles in response to midnight calls to help deliveries, both at the Health Centre and at remote Auroville settlements, working sometimes with only the illumination of kerosene lamps.

While a qualified Allopath and gynaecologist, Kamla’s preference was for homeopathy and her practice expanded to include what she called the Multipurpose Health Centre located in Certitude and later Bharat Nivas. Many Aurovilians and villagers lined up for her treatment, not least because her deeply intuitive therapeutic approach included a warm and sympathetic listening ear. In the early years, Aurovilians will recall a seemingly driverless peach coloured Jonga hurtling down the dirt tracks of Auroville, her diminutive figure wrestling the controls behind the wheel!

Kamla lived through many momentous events and broke many barriers. She did not let herself be limited by the opportunities available to women, qualifying as a doctor at a time when few women chose that route, and making her husband-to-be wait while she finished her medical studies. She was an accomplished sportswoman, horse rider, hiker, and swimmer, and won prizes for her prowess on the shooting range.

The house Krishna and Kamla built in Auromodel in 1980, Aurogriha, was where she chose to leave her body surrounded by her family, having dedicated nearly half her life to Auroville.

Kamla’s beloved life partner of nearly 66 years, Krishna, departed in 2016, at the same age, 93, as she is now. She leaves four loving daughters: Uma, Deepti, Abha and Shubha, sons-in-law Yogesh, Arjun, Claude and Narayanan, and grandchildren: Rohan, Ruchir, Smiti, Achala and Kabir. Much of her family have dedicated their lives to Auroville in no small measure influenced by her deep ethos of service, her indomitable courage and can-do spirit that triumphed over every obstacle.

She leaves a legacy of many lives touched and changed forever by her love, patience, and ability to deal with anything that came her way with unflappable presence of mind.



Dr. Kapila Vatsyayan

Dr. Kapila Vatsyayan, leading scholar of Indian culture, art and art history, and Padma Vibhushan awardee, passed away on September 16, 2020 at her Delhi home, at the age of 91. She was a member of the Governing Board of the Auroville Foundation from 1991 till 1999, and was, as India’s Representative to UNESCO’s Executive Board, one of the moving forces behind the celebration in October 2008 of Auroville’s 40th anniversary at UNESCO’s headquarters in Paris.

Kapila Vatsyayan was known as the Great Dame of Indian Arts. Her life was marked by the exploration and promotion of virtually every dimension of India’s rich and varied culture. She was not only an internationally celebrated scholar but an institution builder, laying the foundations for a sustained and deep-going study of the intricacies of India’s artistic traditions.

“In the passing of Dr. Kapila Vatsyayan the nation has lost a woman of great learning and erudition,” wrote Dr. Karan Singh in his eulogy. “Over six decades she has made a significant contribution not only to the administration of the H.R.D. Ministry but to public life and scholarship in general. A prolific author, her work on the Gita Govinda and the Thanjavur temple inscriptions is well known, as is her role in setting up the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts, including a special manuscript section to which she contributed a large number from her personal collection. She had a close connection with the India International Centre, serving it as Vice-President for five years and for another five years as President. She nurtured the Asia Project which I had started and expanded its scope which resulted in a number of significant international seminars and publications.”

Her interpretation of arts, culture and literature and Indian Thought, which she shared with thinkers and practitioners in the world of arts, science and philosophy, was phenomenal. She left behind a vast corpus of writings, such as Plural Cultures and Monolithic Structures: Comprehending India, Dance in Indian Painting and The Indian Arts, Their Ideational Background and Principles of Forms.

In recent years she was very preoccupied with questions of ecology. She wanted to highlight how cultures of Asia revered nature as a mother, a source of nurture rather than a dark force to be conquered and harnessed to human greed. She was always interested in climate change and was convinced that India could be an example to the world if only it could return to its traditional reverence for nature and the view that all links in the ecological chain are equally indispensable to saving our fragile planet.

Many Aurovilians, whose lives she touched upon briefly but very profoundly as a Governing Board Member in the early years of the Auroville Foundation, will always be indebted to her. A number of Auroville residents joined the virtual Peace Meeting in memory of Dr Kapila Vatsyayan, on Saturday 19 September 2020, at her residence in New Delhi.

Vijayamala

This is to inform that on Tuesday 26 May, Ms Vijayamala Ganapatarao, a long-term volunteer at New Creation’s Creche and Boarding School, passed away due to heart attack at Jipmer at the age of 51.

Mala came from the Sri Aurobindo Ashram in 2000 and has been living and working in New Creation, co-running the Boarding School with MarieBabu ever since. Always smiling, she was a gentle, kind person who became a beloved member of the NC family. Her gift was art which she shared with countless children as well as at various Auroville events, exhibitions and marathons. She also taught New Creation’s children French, Hindi, painting, drawing, stitching and other artistic activities.

As her health became an issue. Mala spent more time doing her own craft, working from home, but would still assist and help the children as much as possible with their daily homework and art.

Mala will be deeply missed by all New Creation’s family members, young and old.

Her remains were buried at Auroville’s burial grounds in the evening of May 26th

OM~


We here particularly confirm that her passing is NOT due to Covid-19.

Roma Hira

In the later afternoon of 25 April, our good friend and sister Roma Hira (of Roma’s Kitchen) peacefully left her body at her home in Dana due to renal failure with which she had been struggling since a while. She would have turned 73 in September this year.

Hailing from Calcutta, Roma first visited Pondicherry in 1975. This was a seminal moment which cemented her connection and commitment to Sri Aurobindo’s world view. Thereafter, she became a very good friend of Auroville, offering support and material encouragement at a moment when Auroville was going through hard times.

In 1980, in an attempt to improve Auroville’s image in India, a multiple city tour of what was called the Auroville Today Exhibition was arranged by JRD Tata. And Roma was the point person for its Calcutta leg, hosting many of the Aurovilians at her flat. Her Calcutta house subsequently became the pied-à-terre for Aurovilians travelling to Calcutta.

In those early years, Roma used her dynamism and her many connections in the Indian commercial and administrative world to help Auroville’s fledgling commercial units with their marketing and clientele. It was in the mid ’80’s that Roma moved permanently to Auroville and soon after settled into her home in Dana while continuing her work with Auroville’s commercial units, which activity she never stopped. In the first years she was involved in Aurelec’s purchasing department, after which she skillfully functioned as Maroma’s manager for years. She officially joined as Aurovilian in 1992.

Roma was a foodie – she was a chef par excellence- and she liked nothing better than to feed people. To start with she coordinated the food arrangements for seminars and meetings that Auroville hosted (such as the Peace Trees seminars). And people will remember the meticulous planning and rigorous hygiene standards she brought to these events.

Her dream was to have her own restaurant and this was fulfilled when she took charge of what came to be famously known as Roma’s Kitchen in Auromodèle, a place with a reputation for serving gourmet Indian food. Roma’s Kitchen has been featured in magazines and has had a well-deserved recognition for food quality. Over the years, it has hosted and catered to all the important visitors to Auroville.

We let her go with our heartfelt respect and appreciation, knowing that now is her time to receive well-earned sustenance of the highest order. Farewell, dear Roma.

OM~

Roma’s remains were cremated in the morning of Sunday 26 April at Auroville’s mandappam.


We here particularly confirm that her passing is NOT due to Covid-19.