The stance of those opposed to the development, Ms. Jagadeesh added, clashes sharply with the Mother’s vision for a model city of the future that would be replicated around the world.
"We are here for human unity, but also to build a city," she said.
The proponents of the development plan, which ultimately envisions a high-density, self-sustained city with a bustling economy and experimental architecture, deride the Auroville of today as an eco-village where a visitor can get a good cappuccino but not the change in consciousness its founder hoped for.
"It’s not just a city plan, it’s meant to hold an experiment," said Shrimoyi Rosegger, a resident who approves of the development and has a deep faith in the transformative power of the Mother’s plan. "We believe it is an intelligence which is beyond us," she added, "that if we follow her guidelines, something will be revealed to us."
Leaning against a motorcycle outside the community’s free clothing store and food co-op, Auroson Bystrom, 51, among the first children born in Auroville, said he opposes Ms. Ravi’s plans, but thinks the intense debate has energized the community.