Satish Kumar

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Satish Kumar
Vandana Shiva, Samdong Rinpoche, and Satish Kumar.jpg
Vandana Shiva, Samdhong Rinpoche, and Satish Kumar, 2007, Dehradun
Born (1936-08-09) August 9, 1936 (age 77)
Sri Dungargarh, Rajastan, India[1]
Residence Hartland, Devon, England, United Kingdom
Occupation Editor
Organization Resurgence & Ecologist
Known for Founder, Schumacher College & The Small School
Movement Nuclear disarmament;
Environmental
Board member of
Our Future Planet;
RSPCA[2]
Partner(s) June Mitchell
Children Mukti Kumar Mitchell
Awards Honorary Doctorate in Education, Plymouth University; Honorary Doctorate in Literature, University of Lancaster; Jamnalal Bajaj International Award[2]

Satish Kumar (b. August 9, 1936)[1] is an Indian activist and editor. He has been a Jain monk, nuclear disarmament advocate, pacifist,[3] and is the current editor of Resurgence & Ecologist magazine. Now living in England, Kumar is founder and Director of Programmes of the Schumacher College international centre for ecological studies, and of The Small School. His most notable accomplishment is a peace walk with a companion to the capitals of four of the nuclear-armed countries - Washington, London, Paris and Moscow, a trip of over 8,000 miles.[4] He insists that reverence for nature should be at the heart of every political and social debate. Defending criticism that his goals are unrealistic, he has said,

Look at what realists have done for us. They have led us to war and climate change, poverty on an unimaginable scale, and wholesale ecological destruction. Half of humanity goes to bed hungry because of all the realistic leaders in the world. I tell people who call me "unrealistic" to show me what their realism has done. Realism is an outdated, overplayed and wholly exaggerated concept.[5]

Early life[edit]

Kumar was born in Sri Dungargarh, Rajastan, India. At the age of 9, he left his family and became a Jain monk.[6] At 18, after reading a book by Mahatma Gandhi, he ran away from the mendicant order, to become a student of Vinoba Bhave, an eminent disciple of Gandhi and his nonviolence and land reform ideas.[7]

Peace walk[edit]

Inspired by Bertrand Russell's civil disobedience against the atomic bomb, in 1962 Kumar and his friend E P Menon decided to dedicate themselves to undertaking a peace walk from India to the four capitals of the nuclear world: Moscow, Paris, London and the U.S. and decided to carry no money on their trip. They called it a 'Pilgrimage for peace'.

They began their walk in Bangalore. There, Vinoba Bhave gave the young men two 'gifts'. One was to be penniless wherever they walked. The other was to be vegetarian. They first travelled through Pakistan, where they met great kindness from a country with a huge historic conflict and antipathy towards India. They continued through Armenia, Georgia, the Caucasus Mountains, and the Khyber Pass. They visited Moscow, Paris, London, and Washington, D.C.. Travelling by foot and carrying no money, Kumar and his companion would stay with anyone who offered them food or shelter.

While on their way to Moscow they met two women outside a tea factory. After explaining what they were doing one of the women gave them four tea bags, one to be delivered to each of the leaders of the four nuclear powers and to also deliver a message, "when you think you need to press the button, stop for a minute and have a fresh cup of tea". This further inspired their journey and became in part the reason for it. They eventually delivered 'peace tea' to the leaders of four of the nuclear powers. The journey is chronicled in Kumar's book, No Destination.

Professional career[edit]

Editor[edit]

Kumar is editor of Resurgence & Ecologist (combining the former Resurgence magazine, which had been described as the artistic and spiritual voice of the green movement, with The Ecologist). He contributed an essay to The Society for Curious Thought entitled "Focus on Food".[8] He has also been a contributor to the BBC's "Thought for the Day" strand on the Today programme, and also appeared on Desert Island Discs. Kumar was interviewed by Richard Dawkins in his 'Slaves to Superstition' episode investigating the prevalence of unscientific beliefs in modern society.

We Are One[edit]

Kumar was one of the contributors for writing the book, We Are One: A Celebration of Tribal Peoples, released in October 2009.[9] The book explores the culture of peoples around the world, portraying both its diversity and the threats it faces. It contains a collection of statements from tribal people, photographs, and essays from international authors, campaigners, politicians, philosophers, poets, artists, journalists, anthropologists, environmentalists and photojournalists. The royalties from the sale of this book go to the indigenous rights organization, Survival International.[10]

Family life[edit]

Kumar settled in England in 1973. He lives a simple life in Hartland, Devon, with his partner June Mitchell and son Mukti Kumar Mitchell.[11]

Books[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Kumar, Satish. 2000. "Path without destination: The long walk of a gentle hero", Belief.net. Accessed: July 20, 2012.
  2. ^ a b "About Satish", Resurgence. Accessed: June 16, 2012.
  3. ^ Cullen, Tom A. (1969-05-19). "Indian Pacifist Preaches Guerrilla War on Violence". Star-Banner (Ocala, Florida, United States: Halifax Media Group). p. 8. ISSN 0163-3201. 
  4. ^ Vidal, John (2008-01-16). "Soul man". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 2010-05-23. 
  5. ^ Sica, Giulio (2008-01-16). "What part does spirituality play in the green movement?". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 2010-05-23. 
  6. ^ Kumar 2000, pp. 18–19
  7. ^ "Walking the World for Peace," Context Institute. Accessed: September 15, 2012.
  8. ^ "‘Focus on Food’". 
  9. ^ "‘We Are One: a celebration of tribal peoples’ published this autumn". Survival International. 2009-10-16. Retrieved 2009-11-25. 
  10. ^ "We Are One". Survival International. Retrieved 2014-02-09. 
  11. ^ "It Takes a Genius to be Simple". Ascent Magazine. Retrieved 23 May 2010. 

External links[edit]