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Satish Kumar at his home in Devon

Satish Kumar is an Indian, currently living in England, who has been a Jain monk and a nuclear disarmament advocate, and is the current editor of Resurgence, 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.[1] 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 Realism is an outdated, overplayed and wholly exaggerated concept." [2]



Kumar was born on June 3, Madurai.[3] At the age of 9 he left his family and became a monk and disciple of Acharya Tulsi.[4] At 18, after reading a book by Gandhi (despite the fact that reading was forbidden for the monks), he ran away from the mendicant order, to become a disciple of Vinoba Bhave who was an eminent disciple of Gandhi and his nonviolence and land reform ideas.

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 4 of the nuclear powers. The journey is chronicled in Satish's book, Path Without Destination. Satish is now editor of Resurgence magazine [1] (a post he succeeded from its founder John Papworth), which has been described as the artistic and spiritual voice of the green movement.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.

He settled in England in 1973 and lives in Hartland, Devon, with his partner June Mitchell and son Mukti Kumar Mitchell, where he continues to have an impact on the lives of many.

Satish Kumar was one of the contributors for writing the book, We Are One: A Celebration of Tribal Peoples, released in October 2009.[5] 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.[6]


See also


  • Kumar, Satish (1992), No Destination: An Autobiography, Green Books, ISBN 1-870-09889-7 

Books by Satish Kumar

  • The Buddha and the Terrorist: The Story of Angulimala
  • Images of Earth & Spirit A Resurgence Art Anthology (editor)
  • You Are Therefore I Am - A Declaration of Dependence
  • Only Connect: Soil, Soul, Society
  • No Destination: an autobiography
  • Spiritual Compass: The Three Qualities of Life

External links



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