Our latest interview is with the legendary peace activist and environmentalist, Satish Kumar. Satish has been a Jain monk, nuclear disarmament advocate, pacifist and is the current editor Resurgence and Ecologist magazine. He became internationally famous with his peace walk in the 1960s. Now living in England, Kumar is founder and Director of Programmes of the Schumacher International centre for ecological studies. The author of seven acclaimed books, his latest being ‘Soil, Soul and Society’.
Satish will be talking at 5pm, Friday August 5th, Toft Gate Barn Cafe.
All ticket sales from this event will be donated to the Jo Cox Memorial Fund (or if this fund is closed by then to its nominated charities), in remembrance of the life, ideals and work of a wonderful Yorkshirewoman who was so tragically taken from us.
Here is Satish’s Q and A:
1. What is your earliest memory of the natural world?
When I was a young boy, age 5 – 9, my mother used to take me to our farm on foot. On the way she would talk to me about the beauty of deserts, the great power of honey bees and the trees being our teachers. I remember the monsoon skies particularly in the evenings with dark clouds and lightening. Hearing the thunder I used to get frightened but my mother would say it is a message from heavens that much wanted rain is about to come and nourish the soil.
2. Did you always want to be a writer?
I wrote my first essay when I was 15 which was never published. I always enjoyed keeping a diary at that time but my first essay was published when I was 20. I was thrilled. It was in a weekly paper and I wrote about work as service and as practice for inner refinement. My first book was published when I was 28.
3. Who were the authors or who inspired you to start writing?
My greatest inspiration in those days when I was beginning to write was the great Indian poet Rabindranath Tagore. Although I did not speak or read Bengali I very much enjoyed his writings in Hindi translation. Tagore remains to be my greatest inspiration even today.
4. Do you have a favourite place or landscape?
My favourite landscape and greatest love is Dartmoor. One reason I decided to settle in Devon is because of Dartmoor. I made a film for BBC2 about it called Earth Pilgrim. Walking on Dartmoor is a pilgrimage to wild nature.
5. How do you feel about the state of the natural world today?
It breaks my heart to see soil poisoned with chemicals, rivers polluted with effluent, plastic thrown into oceans, rainforests decimated and animals put in factory farms.
6. Do you have a motto?
My motto is ‘we are all related’.
7. What are you working on at the moment?
I am working on a new book, the working title of which is Elegant Simplicity.
8. What are your three ‘desert island’ reads and why?
My three desert island reads are Siddhartha, Small is Beautiful and Bhagavad Gita.