Saturday, November 28, 2009

Earth Pilgrim

Last night we sat around the campfire (an in-door campfire - it's fuh-reezing here at night) to listen to one of our teachers, Satish Kumar, tell the story of how he and a friend walked from the grave of Gandhi in India to Moscow to Paris to London to D.C. and Jfks grave to protest nuclear weapons. It was 8000 miles, it took them 2.5 years and 8 pairs of shoes. This was 1962, the height of the cold war. And they left without a rupee in their pocket. 

Their first border was to cross over into Pakistan, a country with which India had had 3 wars. When they go to the border, a concerned friend met them there and pleaded with them, "please at least take these sacks of food I've prepared for you. The pakistanis will not feed and shelter you because you are Indian." Satish said that he equated the food with "beautiful delicious packets of mistrust" for if he were to go to a pakistan with his own food, it would be a sign that he did not trust the goodness of he Pakistani people to feed him as a guest. His friend cried and told satish he feared he would not ever see him again.

Within 5 minutes of crossing over into Pakistan, a pakistani man approached him and said "I've been looking for you every day! I heard about your journey on the radio and I too believe in stopping all this nonsense war." the man took them in immediately for the night and fed them and introduced them to many others who gave them food and shelter along the way. 

His story is truly amazing (especially because they entered the Russian border in the midst of winter, Napoleon-style and almost had to stop because of the cold.)

He's written a book about it called No Destination. He is a riveting story teller and I'm sure that translates into his writing, if anyone is interested in hearing more about this fascinating man.

1 comment:

leighbert said...

^The book...fascinating.