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Satish Kumar : Recipient of Padma Shri

Satish Kumar (born 9 August 1936) is an Indian British activist and editor. He has been a Jain monk, nuclear disarmament advocate, pacifist, 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 the completion, together with a companion, E. P. Menon, of a peace walk of over 8,000 miles in 1973–4, from New Delhi toMoscow, Paris, London, and Washington, D.C., the capitals of the world's earliest nucleararmed countries. 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 Realism is an outdated, overplayed and wholly exaggerated concept Kumar was born in Sri Dungargarh, Rajasthan, India. At the age of 9, he left his family and became a Jain monk. 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. 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 Washington D.C. and decided to carry no money on their trip. They called it a 'Pilgrimage for peace'. 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. Leaving Pakistan via the Khyber Pass, they continued through Afghanistan, Iran, Armenia,Georgia, and the Caucasus Mountains. They visited Moscow, Paris, London, and Washington, D.C. Travelling on 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.


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