Mirambika Free Progress School (Mirambika) is a unique 34 year old school based on the integral education philosophy of Sri Aurobindo and his co-worker, the Mother. Its students are helped and encouraged by volunteer teachers (the school is an experimental free progress integral education learning facility for such volunteers residing in the Sri Aurobindo Ashram Delhi) and parents to simultaneously develop their physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual aspects. The school is controlled and managed by the Sri Aurobindo Education Society, Delhi (SAES). Being a radical alternative school, the school limits admission to under 18 students per class and only committed parents choose it for their children over other traditional schools. Therefore, the school had only 170 students in ongoing academic year.
Since 1991, Mirambika had been running in an ecosystem (specially designed building in 4.84 acre, space & facilities – blessed by the Mother) which was meant for free progress integral education. Its classrooms had no doors; light & air filled every nook & corner of the school, and the open sky was visible from almost everywhere. Children experienced the weather out in the open, had free access to trees, a 5 acre playground, gymnasium, meditation hall, art, craft & music rooms, dining hall, etc. Peacocks, birds & squirrels strutted in & out of the school. A pair of resident geese and many rabbits went around the banyan tree & the neem grove undisturbed by the children. Some turtles in the pond held the children in trance. The idea was to let children experience the Nature and learn through it. Simultaneously, the children learnt Yoga, Sanskrit, Singing, Music, Dance, Pottery, recited & memorized shlokas from the Gita, staged plays in many languages, solved Sudoku puzzles, did mental Mathematics, made scientific models, meditated and played to their heart’s content.
In early 2014, the Sri Aurobindo Ashram Delhi Branch founder’s unmarried son Shri Anil Kumar Jauhar died and his position including the chairmanship of SAES was taken over by his nephew Shri Pranjal Jauhar.
On 14/4/2015, Mirambika was uprooted & clandestinely moved from its thriving ecosystem into the residential Ashram premises. On 1/7/2015, Mirambika was moved from the residential Ashram premises into an incomplete and unsafe building atop a commercial kitchen and bakery and beside a commercial store & bank. In effect, Mirambika moved from its 9.84 open ecosystem to a claustrophobic total ground area of 0.4 acre with a total floor area of 12,000 sq ft as opposed to 130,000 sq ft in the pre 14/4/2015 location.
The reason given by SAES for the 14/4/2015 shift was a perceived threat from the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) to take back the 9.84 acre land from SAES in case Mirambika continued to run from there. Concerned parents made efforts with DDA and found that the said threat was non-existent.
The real reason for SAES to shift Mirambika on 14/4/2015 was its application pending before the AICTE seeking approval to establish an engineering college in the ecosystem (building, land & facilities) used by Mirambika children since 1991. (DDA has opposed the said engineering college through a show cause notice to SAES. DDA’s internal legal opinion leading up to the said notice is in favor of the continuance of Mirambika from the said ecosystem.) For the related AICTE inspection, SAES vacated the said ecosystem by sending the Mirambika children out on a picnic. Neither Sri Aurobindo nor the Mother were in favor of degree / diploma giving standardized college or professional education. SAES aims and objectives – as devised by its founder, the legendary Sri Surendra Nath Jauhar, do not support the same. He as well as his son Anil Kumar Jauhar believed in free progress integral education to be innocent child-centric, not tuned for being imparted to conditioned adults.
The 14/4/2015 and 1/7/2015 shifts and circumstances mentioned above have traumatized the children & parents alike and led to an attrition of students from the school (SAES has encouraged their illegal mid-session admission into The Mother’s International School – a regular school controlled by it) and their numbers are down to about 150 today.
Parents opposing the above (in court and or through peaceful sit in relay fast near the school gate) have been told by SAES to take their children away. Long standing parent volunteers helping children at the school have been fired by SAES just for opposing the above. To force the opposing parents to surrender, SAES is threatening to withdraw the Ashram resident volunteer teachers and close the school down.
Thus, Mirambika, a unique 34 year old school based on the integral education philosophy of Sri Aurobindo and his co-worker, the Mother, is slowly but surely fading away. We seek your support for protecting Mirambika and the right of our children to free progress integral education in the ecosystem that SAES proposes to cannibalize for an engineering college. Please add your voice to #SaveMirambika #SaveMirambikaFreeProgressSchool #SaveMySchool on Twitter and share it across other social media like Facebook, your blog, etc. Thank you!