This is the second webinar commemorating Sri Aurobindo’s 150th Birth Anniversary which explores the unique place of his sadhana and associations, Pondicherry and Tamil Nadu, the people he knew from the time of the freedom movement and the work and his influence – in a conversation with longtime Aurovilians Meenakshi & Raman.
From Virudhunagar (Madurai region), Meenakshi came to Auroville in 1976 to lead the Tamil Fund for Rural Development, which undertook projects to bridge Auroville and neighboring villages. She is a professional social worker, researcher, youth counselor and an acclaimed Tamil poet. She initiated the Ilaignarkal Education Centre in Auroville in 1976 to provide education, training and skill development programs for Auroville workers and their wards. She has trained teachers and is a visiting professor at a number of cultural and educational institutions. Meenakshi has edited Auroville Seythimadal, a Tamil monthly, for the last 25 years, published more than 15 books and was honored twice by the Government of Tamil Nadu for her literary work. Recently, she started an English monthly, Vaasal, for articles on Tamil culture, language and history, while continuously researching and publishing material on Sri Aurobindo’s contribution to Tamil Culture and Language. Currently Meenakshi is putting together a team to prepare a bilingual exhibition on the life, work and vision of Sri Aurobindo.
Raman (Arumugam Kothandaraman)
Part of Auroville since his youth, Raman spent the last 40 years working, designing, constructing, film making and farming in and around Auroville. Always a seeker, with a keen interest in Tamil culture and the knowledge of the Siddhas, he started out as a student at Meenakshi’s Ilaignarkal School while working at the Matrimandir Amphitheater, learning, exploring, laboring and, most importantly, enjoying his time working on site, with workers from all over the world. He has worked in Aurofuture under Roger Anger, formed an office with Anupama Kundoo and Dharmesh Jadeja with a focus on sustainable construction, was a member of Auroville’ Working Committee and has been actively involved in the rehabilitation of the Irumbai Temple. Currently he is volunteering at Solar Kitchen to cook lunch for the community and his main interest in life is human unity.