(Disclosure: I volunteered for the Selection Committee, and was not selected. I was nominated for L’Avenir and refused this)
I was naive enough to join the Selection Process Review Group (SPRG) a few months back. This will be a new start, they said. We will run this group democratically, they said. Everything we do will be completely transparent and open, they said, and we will report everything we decide to the community.
Grandstanding began almost from the first meeting. Over the next couple of months, just about everybody who had any experience with the Auroville process (meaning, they had actually worked on one of these groups), dropped out, leaving the process in charge of those with the loudest voices. I was out of station for a while, and when I attempted to rejoin the group, I was asked to wait “until the selection process for L’Avenir was over”. This got me thinking. Was my presence inconvenient, and were the selections to L’Avenir going to be rigged, as usual?
Several factors confirm my suspicion.
Firstly, the process suggested was very convoluted, and was no different from that done earlier. Various groups which were supposed to be concerned with planning had their quotas on the new Selection Committee. It may be argued that a member of the current L’Avenir was needed since that person knew what the job entailed, also and members of the Farm and Forest Groups since they represent a vital land use component, But why members of the ABC, ABS, AVC or the last L’Avenir. Are they more qualified than members of the community at large, or are their any special interests at stake? Why members of the L’Avenir Advisory Board? They are supposed to advise: or are we surrendering our ‘democratic’ rights to Delhi, yet again? Why not just- 15 people from the RA, picked in some transparent fashion? Even picking volunteers at random, picking names out of a hat, would be less biased than this procedure.
Secondly, the SPRG report itself was available only on request. Why wasn’t this document discussed and debated on AVNet? Incidentally, The SPRG minutes have stopped appearing in the N & N, leaving us wondering why the group that advocated honesty openness and transparency has fallen into the same hole.
Thirdly, the discussions that happened on the SPRG report were conveyed to to community as a series of cartoons: cute, but leaving nothing to really react to.
Finally, the RAS proposed that the Selection Committee proceedings be shown on closed circuit TV to anybody who was interested. This would have ensured that behind the scenes slander without any accountability, would not take place. A little bird has told me that 3 of the new SC members have already objected vehemently to this, and the rest maintain an eerie silence.
So I guess the fix is really in.
posted with permission from the Author.