Eating is an agricultural act - Wendell Berry

Saturday, July 10, 2010

paise se...pyar se...

the goodfather - jayeshbhai patel - litters his speeches with pithy powerful sayings. one of them which struck home is "पैसे से प्रोजेक्ट बढता है, प्यार से परिवार" (paise se project badtha hai, pyaar se parivaar) - with money one can grow projects, with love one grows a family.

a powerfully inspiring person - jayeshbhai - has it in his genes. his father is the inspirational ishwarkaka.

on our ahemdabad trip, he took us on a personal tour of the sabarmati ashram and over 90 minutes we got a close look into gandhiji's time at the ashram (he left in 1932 on the dandi salt march never to return again).
till today, the ashram has strong remnants of the works initiated by gandhiji and is not a glassed off museum/memorial. this by itself is such a strong statement of what gandhiji stood for.
here is his work desk - still maintained as he used it.

this profound 'circle of life' by vinobha bhave - adorns the wall.

another sacred place is the prayer ground...very powerful indeed.
jayeshbhai promptly grabs couple of handfuls of sand and asks us to spread it over our land - "the dalai lama took a handful when he came here", he proclaims with childlike enthusiasm.

back to jayeshbhai. words will fail to express what you can see and hear for yourself.

his characteristic approach is via stories - of simplicity, compassion, passion, karuna and the like.
the trees of sabarmati ashram is one such tale of shri totaram.
a convicted murderer housed in the sabarmati jail, hears about gandhi and the neighbouring ashram comes for penitence (?!). inspite of widespread doubts among the other ashramites, gandhi welcomes totaram with affection and hands him the role of the sabarmati ashram gardener. totaramji's unstinting devotion and dedication is now there for all to see. the trees of the sabarmati ashram remain robust, resplendent and full of vigour.
such a simple act of compassion and what a splendid outcome.
over the last 5+ years of my interactions with jayeshbhai, i have never ceased to be amazed by the aura of love that he radiates.

and over the time we spent in gujarat, it is just amazing to see the lasting impression of gandhi in india. simply remarkable....

a must visit place - sabarmati ashram - and a must meet person - jayeshbhai.


Krupakar said...

It is real moving to see this, SKD. Jayeshbhai is good with aphorisms.

You know, just the other day I saw a video on the Timbaktu Collective from which it was evident that their work is also inspired by Gandhiji. Last week, I was at a book signing by Mr Alan Nazareth on his new book on Gandhi, at which he spoke so passionately about Gandhiji. And now this.

At one side, it is amazing to see such wonderful initiatives (including your own) taking up where he left off. On the other hand, I wonder how the rest of the country (including me) has pretty much deserted all his principles. How did that happen? Once you see a living example like that who is still inspiring people around the world just through his history a century later, how did a whole country forget his ways the moment he was out the door? Isn't it natural to expect that some of his instructions should have got set in stone instead of just his busts?
Last year, I volunteered a bit for an NGO- for the initial few days it felt so odd and uneasy and a bit foolish to be volunteering- a natural consequence of a lifetime of not doing anything for anyone, I guess. Why didn't that spirit of volunteering that he engendered get institutionalized in our country, in our schooling? That should have been our living heritage, one would have hoped, than countless books, films and shraddanjalis.

Sorry for the long and dramatic rant on your space, and this is not a new question either, just that I can't seem to figure out where we dropped the ball. Do let me know what you think.

csm said...

hey krups - it is true that our generation has lost its connect with gandhi. and by our generation, i squarely lay it on the doorsteps of our own peers (the 30s to 40s). with all our education and opportunities, we have not been able to look beyond the blinkers that the market lays on us...

i think we lost our way (gandhiji's ideas) during the 15+ years of nehruvian rule. by plumping his cards with the industrial development model, he abandoned the gandhi model and we are where are - at a crossroad where all the paved expressways are leading to potential disaster. but there is a small kucchha road which is reasonably well trodden. having taken a few steps down that, i can vouch for its sturdiness.

volunteering with NGOs is like a conscience laundry service. we cannot do that on one hand and live the conventional life on the other. there is a serious conflict of interest.

love to have this come onto this space.

lets see if others take up answering your question.

Anonymous said...

The other day I saw this woman wearing a t-shirt saying "women love shiny things". I think it is not just women, humans in general love bright shiny things. And that's one of the reasons why consumption has become the dominant model. Everywhere. Following the Gandhian path requires getting rid of our magpie nature, which is very difficult to do, especially when everyone around is celebrating magpie-dom.

I also think we are a bit like beavers, constantly needing to build things. But unlike beavers, the things we build are not degraded by nature. They stay around for a long time, and the mess we have built up is on the verge of killing of the planet. Our success as a species is based on our building skills, but it has become a runaway trait, making our story very similar to the dinosaur one.

The Gandhian path moves one away from the building and accumulation cycle. Which is a great step. But at this point in history, it is not enough, because we need to figure out ways to degrade all the plastic and disney and silicon we have built and accumulated over the years.

Paradoxically, the biggest asset we can bring to bear on this is again our building skills. For instance, the use of plastic for roads, turning it into petrol, making flour mills and sugarcane presses using old scooters etc. Oil touching 300$ a barrel would get more of this rolling, and also make more people interested in the Gandhian path.

kpt said...

Current world order’s ‘maximisation of potential and profits’ must take the blame for krupakar’s earlier question of 'How did that happen?' It has changed the definition of achievement from spiritual to material. Has conditioned us to respect nothing but money and things that money can buy. Has thrown contentment out of the window. All this will impede the growth rush.

One option is to alight and find the different path a few have taken. Our only hope is the power of individual action.

Our skill to say ‘enough’ has to kick in at a personal level before we begin to reuse our waste creatively as a species.

Kishore said...

I certainly agree that we have lost the way as a society.

At the risk of stoking a fire, i wanted to continue the thread. So let us start by looking around you. What is the topic of conversation, a bigger dwelling, bigger paycheck or promotion, etc. Even children are pressured to be "first" in everything except as a human being.

When you start seeing that the whole world is not about you, then you start thinking about others and the world around us. Then, we get a momentary spark. For many of us, that is all it is a moment of angst, a twinge of regret but no action based upon it. So, I believe that when you have something to share, then you have to think as to how you can share it and then comes the change in your life if you act upon it.

Other wise, I see sudden bursts of passionate rhetoric but no real action (I am afraid talk does not cut it).

There are many individuals like Sriram and Karpagam making an effort to bring about a positive change. the question is how can we help or support this?

A inspirational book for consideration is listed below

Prophets Of New India: 20 Stories Of Extraordinary Men And Women Who Have Changed Thousands Of Lives -
A Compilation Of The Men And Women Of The Year From The Week, (eds. ), 0670057916

csm said...

at the risk of being insensitive and incendiary, i also wonder what it takes for those who have an idea of the path (and are not plain rhetoric) - for example, i would like to believe that some of the readers of this blog 'know' - to follow the path.
i was telling someone that it is unbelievable/unpardonable that these 'knowers' are dilly-dallying.

Anonymous said...

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