Dear Friends and Well-wishers of Overman Foundation,
Since its inception in March 2010 Overman Foundation has aimed to recognize the invaluable contribution of scholars, writers, researchers and workers of the Aurobindonian movement in various fields. For this purpose, the “Auro-Ratna Award” was initiated to felicitate the ‘true children’ of the Divine, who, as defined by the Mother, are those few who have consecrated all of themselves and all they have — soul, life, work and wealth. In 2010, the recipients of the first “Auro-Ratna Award” were K. D. Sethna alias Amal Kiran, Prof. Arabinda Basu and Jugal Kishore Mukherjee; in 2011 the award was given to Robi Gupta, Dr. Kireet Joshi and Dr. Prithwindra Mukherjee; in 2012 the award was given to Dr. Prema Nandakumar and Shraddhavan of Auroville while in 2013 Dr. Ananda Reddy was the recipient of the award.
Today, on behalf of Overman Foundation, I take the opportunity to announce that the “Auro-Ratna Award” for the year 2014 would be awarded to Shobha Mitra of Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Pondicherry.
Born on 14 December 1933 to Amarendranath and Ashalata Mitra, Shobha Mitra visited Sri Aurobindo Ashram for the first time in August 1942. At the age of seventeen, on Wednesday 15 June 1951 she joined Sri Aurobindo Ashram with her mother. The Mother had arranged for their accommodation at Red House which was located near the Ashram Library. She was given work in the Publication Department under Prithwi Singh Nahar. A year later she was made a permanent inmate of Sri Aurobindo Ashram. She joined the Ashram School when its new session began in December 1952. Following the instruction of the Mother, she opted to study English, French, Philosophy and the works of Sri Aurobindo. She also began to learn music from Dilip Kumar Roy and Sahana Devi. From 1957 she started teaching French in the Ashram School. She was an accomplished dancer and had given several dance-recitals before the Mother. She had also given dance-form to Sri Aurobindo’s The Hour of God in 1964. She also composed the dance-drama The Rhythm Eternal which was staged thrice in May 1967. She has also played a pivotal role in organizing musical programmes of artists like Birendra Kishore Ray Choudhury, Tara Ghoshal, Jyotsna Bole, Chandralekha and Pankaj Kumar Mullick to name a few who visited the Ashram. On 14 December 1965—on Shobha’s birthday—the Mother asked her to start a Music Section in Sri Aurobindo International Centre of Education which she built up from scratch. Inspired by the Mother, she also began to compose music. In 1972, on the occasion of Sri Aurobindo’s Birth Centenary, she conceptualized a special programme titled Sri Aurobindo and the Mother on India and Her Future. In that very year, a long-playing record of her musical compositions titled Loving Homage was brought out by Sri Aurobindo Society. For quite some time she had conducted singing classes in Auroville. Her memorable compositions include titles like Adoration, All We Owe to Thee, Aspiration, Century’s Salutations, Durga Stotra, Esho Gahi Gaan, Invocation to Mother India, Laha Pronam, Our Gratitude, Om Namo Bhagawate, Salutations, Towards a Luminous Future, Vandanam and Vers un avenir lumineux (the last being a musical presentation on the occasion of the unveiling of Sri Aurobindo’s statue at UNESCO, Paris, on 16 September 2009) to name a few.
In 2012 Shobha Mitra’s first book in Bengali Sri Mayer Dibya Sannidhye was published. The English translation of the aforesaid book, Living in the Presence, was published in 2013. In that very year she received the prestigious “Sri Aurobindo Puraskar” from Sri Aurobindo Bhavan, Kolkata.
Shobha Mitra’s world revolves around two names: Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. Some time ago she has started working on a project called “MA”, that is, “Musical Archives” which would house songs composed on Sri Aurobindo and the Mother in various regional and foreign languages.
It will be our privilege to felicitate Shobha Mitra whom the late M.P. Pandit had called “a worthy child of the Mother” with the “Auro-Ratna Award”, named after Sri Aurobindo, for her contribution in the field of music.
With warm regards,
Founder and Chairman,