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Dany Foureau

In the early morning of Thursday 4 February, our dear friend and sister Dany Foureau unexpectedly passed away due to sudden cardiac arrest in her room in the Mukti Complex near AV Health Centre. She had been complaining about back pain after lifting a possibly too heavy load a week ago. She was 60 years old.

Dany, who hails from France, had a long history with Auroville, which started out with the small community of friends in the Ardèche in the early seventies, where she stayed as a young girl rebelliously having left her parental home. Like several other members of that community, Dany came to Auroville in 1980, starting out in Forecomers. One of the things she did at the time was working with Otto in Kottakarai Bakery. She then moved to Revelation where she ran a small vegetable market. Dany did whatever was needed in front of her, without much ado and gave it her all. In due time she met an Indian man with whom she married and the couple left for France around 1984. Some 5 years later she returned, with toddler son Salia, and worked for New Creation’s Kindergarten while staying in NC Field.

Several years later she left again, to return for good in 2014, on her own, her son being well established with family and two children. By now being well versed in geriatric care, she joined the Auroville Health Service team, training new worker therapists and shortly taking over the AVHS coordination. There then followed a good year of maintaining the Auromode Apartments guest service’s night shift during which time she already frequented the AV Integrated Animal Care Centre (IACC) in daytime. In 2017 she left Auromode and took up full time work at IACC while living in Prayatna (as caretaker of the newcomer accommodation there) and later on moved to Mukti. It was at IACC that Dany came into her full element, joining the then team consisting of Kannan, Rita and Lorraine, and giving all her energy and passion to the hundreds of dogs in the centre’s care. The IACC, situated behind Buddha Garden, takes care of vaccinations (anti rabies and distemper/parvo) & treatments & sterilisations.

Dany’s love and care for the hundreds of dogs, her persistent overseeing and hands-on participation in all aspects of the work, day-in day-out and at times almost single-handedly, aggravated by the unfortunate habit of heavy smoking, may eventually have been too much for her.

Our love and condolences go out to her son Salia and her two grandchildren, as well as to her IACC colleagues, and Vijaya, Kathrin and other good friends.

Farewell, dear Dany. Thank you for your persistent coming back to be part of Mother’s experiment. We will meet again…

OM~

Matthias

In the morning of 30 January, our dear friend and longtime brother Matthias Achenbach passed away in his room at Mahalakshmi Home, ending a year-long process with cancer metastases in lungs and brain. He had just celebrated his 74th birthday a good week ago with all his close friends attending.

Having completed his studies in Physics and Pedagogy at Frankfurt’s Main University, Matthias started out as an electro-mechanic in Frankfurt to then pretty soon create his own ‘Achenbach Sprachlehranlagen’ company which manufactured language laboratories for Lufthansa, Bosch, Siemens etc.

In his own words: “Very early I developed a fetish for all things technical and I liked to play guitar and double-bass and joined a pop-band and later a jazz-band, where I fell in love with the singer and she became my first wife. Then I became a private and commercial pilot, and started my first own company producing language-laboratories.
In 1977, when I had just become 30 years of age, I travelled for the first time to India with a German jazz band (Barrelhouse Jazzband from Frankfurt – they still play!). I very much liked it there and inquired how one could live there. We were playing for the German Cultural Institutes and it happened just then, that they needed a new Regional Engineer for South Asia. I immediately applied for the job and by end 1977 I was posted to New Delhi with the Goethe Institute (Max Mueller Bhavan) for the next 5 years.”

While stationed in Delhi, Matthias with his (second) wife Marusch got to know about Auroville and at times Aurovilians would stay in their house. The result was that the pair joined Auroville on 28 February 1984, and soon Matthias gravitated towards Aurelec where computers were made. Having worked there several years, he formed his own ‘Altecs Energy Systems’, which produced solar-charge-controllers, PL-lamps and inverters enabling more than 100 totally self-sufficient solar houses in Auroville. The unit manufactured its own Inverters from 80VA to 5kVA and installed solar-pumps in and around Auroville. For this, he thoroughly taught and trained a large team of young aspiring Tamils who still see him as their guru. On top of that, Matthias built the multi-storey Altecs building in Auroshilpam where he lived with Dodo, as well as the Kailash Youth complex on the Crown Road. He later moved to Hope.

Naturally, being the open, good willing and authentic person he was, Matthias has been approached till the very end for his knowledge and expertise in electronic and other matters, and which he always readily shared. In the beginning of 2020 his physical problems started, and after a first operation he quietly moved to Mahalakshmi Home where he was warmly received. Very often surrounded by close friends, with whom he had good communications and understanding and who helped him prepare for this challenging phase of his life, he was clear-headed, ready and faithful to go.

Thank you for having been with us, Matthias, you definitely left a footprint and will so often be remembered. Our warmest condolences go out to Marusch, Dodo and Ingrida, as well as to his sister and brothers in Germany, and all his other close friends. He’s now in the Light.

OM~

Peter Kuhrt / Stream

This is to inform the community that our old friend and pioneer-brother Peter Kuhrt  – also known as Stream –  passed away on 28 January in a Munich hospital due to heart failure. He was 76.

Peter came to Auroville with the Caravan of 1969, together with Michel Klostermann, Christl, Joachim and Dorothee Hach. The group of Munich friends had read about the inauguration of Auroville in a German magazine and decided then and there to come. They had written to the Sri Aurobindo Society but never received an answer, so they just started off in an old VW bus, driving overland for 6 weeks and reaching Pondy in November 1969. In due time the group was assigned some accommodation in Auroville’s Aspiration.

Originally born in East-Prussia, Peter had grown up and studied in Germany. In Auroville he stayed for quite a few years in Aspiration, doing garden work, working at the then AuroPolyester unit, and growing more into his passion of painting. Later on, he lived for some time in the Pump House and in Existence (naming it ‘Edge of Existence’).

Residents who know him from that time remember him as a quiet, interiorised person, very gentle and kind-hearted. They observed that the intensity of his inner life came through in his art, and that he, as an artist, saw himself in a state of transition, without thinking to have “already arrived”. He considered such thinking as the greatest danger to creativity, to the gift of his life which he so abundantly had received with great gratitude. That he took on the name ‘Stream’ may have to do with this transitory stance.

After some ten years he left, feeling unsupported and insecure, realising that Auroville at that stage was not a place for artists. Friends who knew him in his later years in Germany, tell us that he lived his life as an artist to the bone – no cell phone and internet, utmost simplicity and only concerned with painting – which was his yoga. A strong yoga which carried him throughout. He was a true and faithful soul and Aurovilian until his last breath.

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.

Hervé


At around noontime of Friday 14 August, our dear friend and brother, long-term Aurovilian Hervé Millet left his body, quietly and faithfully, at Marika Home at the age of 75, due to complications of cancer which he had been battling since several years.

Hervé was one of the French pioneers, a Breton, who joined the caravan that left Paris in 1974 for the over-land travel to Auroville. From the moment of arrival at the end of that year, he wholeheartedly plunged into a long range of work activities and services which characterised him throughout his life in Auroville. It started with construction work with Pierre Elouard, building the houses in Auromodèle, during which time he was also active at the then emerging Pour Tous service in Aspiration. During Auroville’s survival struggles of those years, Hervé was jailed twice, along with others, both in Tindivanam and Villupuram.

When things got quieter, Hervé got into planting trees in Révélation, looked after SAIIER’s transport, worked at Maroma, and spent several years active at Mira Aditi’s in Karnataka, and later on with Satprem in the Nilgiris.

After an intensive time in the mountains, he returned to Auroville in the mid-nineties where he was welcomed by the Auroville Press team and, soon after that, participated in the creation of Auroville Papers of which he later became executive. It was here that he found his true element, doing all kinds of experimentations for different kinds of new-look and new-feel papers, with a great variety of leaves, flowers and colours, and became skilled in giving animated paper-making workshops, showing the audience the art and techniques of producing paper. Hervé was never happier than when showing a child how to make paper or help in the unit. He lived in Citadines.

During an interview by the auroville.com team, Hervé said: “Living in Auroville means everything to me, and the Mother takes care of me, she really takes care of me. I feel like I am walking the wire with no net under to catch me, but Mother will not let me fall. When I arrived here, I had no money, and she gave me everything. Everything that I have has been given to me… I give my work to the Mother, and I can’t be disappointed, because she knows what I need.”

In full faith that Hervé is now on the way home, we let go of this energetic, at times tenacious and often passionate man, who was our friend and comrade all these years, steadily working for the Mother, for Auroville, for us all. Thank you, Hervé.

Jay MA~



Giorgio Molinari

Our dear friend and brother, Italian Giorgio Molinari, peacefully left his body at 3.10pm in the afternoon of Monday 10 August at the age of 83 in his Arka apartment, succumbing to the heart problems that have been plaguing him for years.

Born in Milano, Giorgio was involved in photography from early age onwards while also developing interest in oriental philosophy. As a young man during the military service he functioned as ground assistant for aerial photography, after which he wholeheartedly entered the world of advertisement agencies, freelancing for record companies, theatre productions, architectural designs, often working with big names in the field. In 1980 he made an architectural photo study of Chandigarh, from where he visited Auroville, Matrimandir and the first true contact was made.
Then came the ‘Auroville 35 years’ festivity in UNESCO’s Paris centre in 2003, during which he learned more about Auroville and met several Aurovilians. His decision was made. Even though he was stricken with cerebral hemorrhage and right-side paralysis during the very preparations to come here, he managed to fly in October 2004 to Auroville where he could convalesce in Arka. In December 2006 he became Aurovilian.

From the very onset Giorgio was generously involved in the upgrading of Arka’s infra structure and lived there as well. From there he did extensive photo studies of Savitri Bhavan, Matrimandir, and we saw him time and again during our meetings, at special events, in schools and at village occasions, cautiously but persistently negotiating the spaces and making photos wherever he could, always freely giving them to Auroville. He would merrily make marriage photos of friends in the village, providing them with CDs of the footage, and the Eluciole Circus would not be the same without him. In his studio, Giorgio trained various students, and endeavoured to make AVians familiar with his Chronotype© technique.

Several years ago, Giorgio’s beloved sister Graziella, who often came over from Italy and stayed with him in Arka, passed away, and since then Giorgio wasn’t the same anymore. His health withered, and so did his humour and zest of life. He recently offered all his material and equipment to Auroville to constitute ‘Studio Giorgio’, currently temporarily housed in Citadines. The collection will now move to his Arka studio from where ‘Studio Giorgio’ can operate under guidance of his closest collaborator, Piero Cefaloni.

Thank you for having been with us, dear Giorgio, we will remember you through your many exquisite photos and touching images, and for your warm hearted generosity and endearingly grinning smile.

OM~



Giorgio on: Kronotipia©   Chronotype©

Whereas photography’s common characteristic is to fix on film an instant of space-time continuum, most often reproducing on the two-dimensional surface of the final support an image that one thinks to be close to reality and that deeply stimulates those unconscious processes of reconstruction by similitude, constituting the base itself of human visual perception, – Chronotypes© fixes on the film a duration of sizeable importance. The duration is appreciable given a handful of seconds along with a space that is trapped within the two dimensions, through which the subject loses that perspective reference that is usually implicit in what is intended for photography. The reduction of a tri-dimensional subject on a plane that crosses it in a perceivable time, though remaining apparently still, is, I believe, the most adherent representation of that unknowable reality of which we are an inseparable part.  Although it may seem surprising, the result maintains a compliance with reality outside of any subsequent interpretative intervention.