Monthly Archives: July 2021

Rediscovering Tagore – I

…amidst India’s elusive quest for Vishvaguru

Has strident nationalism alongside toxic consumerism become the bane of humanity, much as Tagore cautioned? Are we likely to wake up to Tagore’s far reaching ideas and actions nearly a hundred years later as humanity faces an unprecedented civilizational crises and an imminent threat of extinction?

“The current spate of events of terrorism and the attempt to throttle it, lead us to a challenging juncture in human history. We in a linear extrapolation of our popular behavior cannot accept that we have reached a blind alley in our quest to discover the ultimate reality of our existence. That the response to terrorism, for instance, has to be to dissolve its basis and not its overt manifestations. Technology and the market alone have no answers, this is a reality; deeper inroads into the human consciousness and the laws of nature hold the key to solving many of our problems.” (1)

  • From Agenda For Genuine Progress Sept. 2001 (Link here)

This passage is from an essay I wrote in the aftermath of the 9/11 incident. This was significant as it shattered the myth of American hegemony and marked its rapid psychological meltdown. I refer to that in a subsequent article here a few years later titled The Derailment Of Western Civilization – Does It Need A Bail-Out? There is also by now tell-tale evidence that there was a simultaneous implosion with bombs planted in the basement of the World Trade Center that wrecked the buildings killing thousands of people with the aim of whipping up Islamophobia. This contradicts what was propagated that aircrafts with fully loaded fuel tanks were rammed into the tower by terrorists which alone caused the damage. This also opens up the case for further investigation into whether the entire exercise was a staged event.

Two decades later, we are now faced with a perfect storm of multiple proportions that has pushed us to the brink of human extinction, as we continue to falter with our vain pursuit in the wrong directions – developing solutions that have created many more problems than they solve. In effect, these technological and market-driven solutions merely shift the burden to the future or to distant geographies or to the overall degeneration of the Five Elements – Earth Water Fire Air and Sky that collectively sustain our lives. Much of these deleterious impacts have either not been measured and accounted for or they have been wilfully brushed under the carpets as “negative externalities”. The current Pandrama (or Plandemic as oftly quoted ) must be seen in this light.  

What we are now witnessing is, in effect, a new kind of threat of much humongous proportions with the unfolding Covid-19 saga that some eminent health experts have also called out as “bio-terrorism” (See here and here). 

DR Peter McCullough is one of the most eminent physicians and scientists in the US, and reputed to be the most published cardiologist in history. With a number of others, he devised a treatment protocol for Covid-19, which was shown to be effective in preventing up to 85 per cent of deaths. Having spent the best part of a year seeing all discussion of these treatments suppressed, resisted and censored by the authorities, media and Big Tech, he has come to a shocking conclusion

‘I believe that we’re under the application of a form of bioterrorism that’s worldwide, that appears to have been many years in the planning. The first wave of the bioterrorism was a respiratory virus that spread across the world and affected relatively few people, but generated great fear . . . The entire programme as this bioterrorism Phase 1 was rolled out was really all about keeping the population in fear and in isolation and preparing them to accept the vaccine, which appears to be Phase 2 of a bioterrorism operation.’

At the end of his interview with the German lawyer Reiner Fuellmich, he poses the following question:

‘To me what was masterful is the psychological part of it. How did they pull this off from a mass psychology perspective?’

Of course, the response from those who have spent 15 months letting the Government and media do their thinking will be to dismiss his claims as that of a conspiracy theorist. But those dismissing his words should consider this: by definition, a conspiracy theory is a theory about something that someone believes is going to happen or which has happened. Dr McCullough is not talking about that. He is talking about something that is happening in real time, in plain sight, right in front of your eyes.

This is a new kind of psycho-biological warfare with a suspicious vaccination drive that is being made surreptitiously mandatory by linking it to travel and entry restrictions, school reopenings and food distribution programs. To keep people distracted from finding out the truth, its perpetrators are relentlessly spreading misinformation through a powerful and well-entrenched propaganda machine. 

As we unravel their secretive modus operandi, it is clearly a highly clever attempt to hide the underlying climate and ecological crises made worse by the earlier technological solutions. The thinking behind it is to distract public attention from the penal liabilities of the major polluters and instead make lots of money in the process for vested interests even as they depopulate the world by misleading large numbers of people, who believe in them and compelling others to fall in line.  

Setting aside what the propaganda machine wants us to believe, the climate and ecological crises is a real threat to the survival of human species as for most other plant and animal species. Many even believe we have already crossed multiple thresholds of runaway climate and ecological breakdown and have no chance of surviving beyond a decade. Many others are losing hope even if they believe that the end may not come so soon. But the collective imagination of humanity seems to be enveloped, already, by dark clouds of disillusionment and despair. That itself is a major cause of concern. 

Could there be a silver lining to these dark clouds? What really can save us when all the odds seem to be stacked against? 

As Gus Speth, who helped found the Natural Resources Defense Council and was dean of the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, told a British radio presenter in 2013, there are real issues underlying the climate and ecological crises that we need to address:

“I used to think that top global environmental problems were biodiversity loss, ecosystem collapse, and climate change. I thought that with 30 years of good science we could address these problems, but I was wrong. The top environmental problems are selfishness, greed, and apathy, and to deal with these we need a spiritual and cultural transformation. And we scientists don’t know how to do that.”

This deeper simplicity of the need to embark on a spiritual and cultural transformation brings me to Rabindranath Tagore – the noted poet-philosopher, Nobel laureate and a creative genius of many talents and pursuits. This takes me further to India’s elusive and many would even say delusional quest of Vishvaguru (“teacher to the world”) – global thought leader, given how badly we fare currently on a variety of measures of human development, widespread poverty, glaring inequity and abysmal quality of life for large sections of the Indian society. 

Tagore, notably was called as Bishokobi (poet of the world) and addressed by the moniker Gurudev (a highly revered teacher). Connecting the dots of his life and work nearly a century later with India’s renewed quest of Vishvaguru however, there are certainly many a slip between the cup and the lip. We are yet to discover the deep and profound wisdom of Tagore’s thoughts and actions that would lead India to Vishvaguru. That is because this path is laden with a number of contradictions and misconceptions in the popular imagination. Let us explore them in greater depth and detail.

In this essay I not only analyse the prevailing maladies, but build further on the strong foundations laid by Tagore a century back.  When the usual response to an unprecedented crises is mostly restricted to distress and despair leading to internecine conflicts or to xenophobic urges with localised pamphleteering, I attempt here to synthesise a better alternative that transcends the present, as Tagore envisioned. The seeds that he sowed of Swadeshi Samaj and Visva Bharati a century back, along with his prolific literary and musical works, created a cultural and spiritual transformation in Esatern India – where I grew up and lived in my formative years. They have greatly influenced my thinking and shaped my actions.  Evolving over past 3 decades, as I have continued to nurture, disseminate and interact on these ideas, it now takes the form of GAIA Earth Sansad – a vision of a truly democratic grassroots to global governance based on the LACE-GAIA model that leads us towards a holistic and harmonious world order. 

LACE stands for Localised Abundance and Circular Economy adapted to current and emerging realities is an evolved form of Swadeshi Samaj and Sriniketan. GAIA, which stands for Global Assembly for Indigenous and Autonomous community-states, takes the seed of Visva Bharti to create a grassroots to global governance that is truly democratic founded on the principles of a balanced approach to nationalism and globalism and a deep regard for human dignity, for individual rights and liberty. As Subrata Mukherjee in his remarkable book on Political Ideas of Rabindranath Tagore notes: 

Tagore’s Kobi Kahini (1878).. was a trendsetter for his other works and also for Bengali literature. It was a revolt against the inhuman expansion of European colonialism in general and British exploitation of India in particular. He saw the domineering side of colonialism and its role in deforming civilization. There was also an optimistic side to the book, an aspect that remained integral to his life. He envisioned humanity transcending the present cruel face and reaching a stage of freedom, peace and harmony – themes that remained his core concerns all his life. At the age of 21 he wrote a poem, ‘Nirjharer Swapna Bhango’ outlining in a nutshell the idea of visva Bharati comparing all human beings to the different rivers that eventually flow into the ocean thus explaining that all persons would have a common meeting ground in the future.  (pg 5)

Tagore’s novels and short stories espoused his radical approach to society and human relations. His intense criticism further alienated him from Bengal’s tradition bound community.  Between May 1916 and March 1917 he travelled to Japan for four months and then to the US. Like Johann Wolfgang von Goethe  (1749-1832), he too became a lone exponent of cosmopolitanism and world culture. In 1918 he articulated the idea of an international university at Shantiniketan and on 22nd December, laid the foundation stone of Visva Bharati. (pg 79)

It was no small credit to Tagore that he comprehended the causes of India’s underdevelopment and tried to work out solutions, nourishing and developing Shantiniketan and Sriniketan as complementary models for others to emulate. (pg 103)

Rediscovering Tagore – II

From Visva Bharti (1921) to Visva Sansad (2021) (concluding part)


For feedback queries and suggestions, contact

Chandra Vikash   I  Convener – GAIA Earth Sansad
e: vishvaguru.bharat21@gmail.com  I b: chandravikash.wordpress.com 
w: www.gaiasansad.org I  t: +91 8595397609

Book Review of The Immortals of Meluha

Reprint from 11years back in March 31st, 2010

What makes a book rise above the ordinary? I’ve often wondered, and realised that what makes for a great book is its timing. That’s a key decision an author has to make. S/he must anticipate what the reader is looking for. The Immortals of Meluha by Amish arrives with that kind of great timing. Even as it’s set in a few thousands years back of history, its immaculate timing makes it very much a contemporary book. Of a phase in the modern civilization, when it is faced with its most dire crises. For a concerned reader, the book raises their hope that like the besieged people of Meluha, a savior is in their way. It seems paradoxical that the meticulous and methodical Meluhans would ever accept Shiva, the charismatic but loafing tribal from another land, as their savior, even if the Meluhan legend said so.Daksha, their king, a highly practical and even docile character believes in him.He tactfully introduces Shiva to his people around the country, so that they are not overawed and raise undue expectations from him. Parvateshwar, the towering army in chief on the other hand is circumspect and wants Shiva to prove his worth. He has seen in his life many aspirants, who turned out to be not the real one, leaving Meluhans dejected.Shiva does that fittingly, passing every battle – small and big – with flourish, leading from the front. He is not held back by the king, who tries to be protective of him. Sati, the king’s daughter who Shiva courts is beautifully portrayed as attractive but a tough lady, who holds Meluhan customs in the highest regard and rises to its defence in the most challenging circumstances. Even as according to a Meluhan custom, she is considered “impure” for her past karma, for having delivered a stillborn child. She won’t bow down to a taliban-like figure, who narrowly interprets a Meluhan law to chastise her for descrating a ritual by her presence. She challenges him for an agni-pareeksha (trial by fire). With tactical advice from Shiva, she is able to defeat the brute and then forgives him his life, when he is all at her mercy.With every such encounter, she feels closer to Shiva. She is carefully guarded and restrained to Shiva’s overtures, for a long time. Till fate brings them together, again and again. She is felled by a deadly attack from the wily and sinister Nagas and is in her death throes, when she is rescued by Shiva’s advice to treat her with a concoction called Somrasa. She finally accepts him. The book also portrays Shiva’s lighter, prankier side in the most entertaining manner and using modern colloquialisms. That adds subtly to his charisma and winsome attitude, that bowls over everyone. The book covers much of its ground in style and panache. And by the time an average reader may get swayed that the battle against the evil is won and it’s all over, comes the twist in the tale. That to me, is brilliantly handled by this debut author. In these last few chapters, the book after a normal take-off, soars high into the realm of the powerful dualities that govern our lives. In the end, the reader is left gasping for the other two books in the trilogy, to come much earlier than the author may have planned for.  …and with deeper insights and nuances for the contemporary human condition.PS: This is my maiden book review. Any omission or oversight in reading the book are mine.:) 

Amish Tripathi@Chandra, thank you so much for this review. We must catch up when I come down to Bangalore. I would love to discuss the philosophy of duality with you – the question which troubles Shiva most – What is evil? That philosophy, which entered my mind during a discussion with my family, was the genesis of the book… Look forward to seeing you on 9th April at Landmark Koramangala store, Bangalore – 6:30 p.m.

Mridu VermaVery interesting. I plan to get my own copy and read. thanks

Chandra Vikash@amish look forward to the launch here. 🙂

“what’s evil?” we all need to ponder and come up with our answers.

what about an essay competition as part of the book campaign – a 300-500 word essay. i shall share some ideas when we meet up.

Chandra Vikashthanks mridu. happy reading.

…i’m eager to learn what my old school friends thinks about – what’s evil? i’m sure there are many interesting perspectives that will emerge.

Prashant GokhaleCV – good review, with your own modern colloquialisms…i am waiting for Amish’s book on the Kindle…

Chandra Vikashthanks prashant. this book is slate-d to be an international bestseller. 🙂

Rahul ShanuNow I’ll have to read this book… Interesting review sir…:)

Chandra Vikash: thanks rahul. hope to catch up with you during the IIM Cal trip in the week of May 20-23.

Amish Tripathi@Prashant, thanks buddy. We should have it up on kindle soon, Insh’allah! The publisher is working on it.
@Chandra, yaar ur being too kind… International bestseller and all to bahut door hai. But thank u all the same! Look forward to meeting u at Bangalore.
@Rahul, would love to hear what u think of the book. Are u still at IIM-C?

Chandra Vikash@amish mark my words – if it gets on e-“slates” like kindle and doesn’t have to be printed on paper. 🙂

my reading of global trends is that irrespective of the much talked about differences – first world and third world, developed developing, religion, cultures and civilizations – in times like these we all look for the trusted savior and the universal truths. all the superficial complexity makes the way for the deeper simplicity. this is where this book fills in.

often the barrier for indian authors is the sheer logistics of moving and storing paper books. that’s likely to be erased by the e-slates.

Rahul Shanu@Amish Sir
Went to Oxford to buy the book yesterday and they were out of stock… looks like ur book is doing great… 🙂 Will sure give my review once I have read it… 🙂

I passed out last year but am still working in Calcutta … 🙂

Sabitha Vuppala: Tried to buy the book at the Pune airport Amish! No luck. Will try at the Hyd one (Landmark)! Fingers crossed!

Amish Tripathi: @Chandra, ur embarassing me man! But thanks once again 4 ur very kind words. Also insh’allah, the digital space will open up the world for all authors.
@Rahul, I’ll inform the publisher about Oxford. And I would love to hear what u think of the book once u’ve read it.
@Sabitha, which is the store at Pune airport? I’ll tell my publisher and distributor.., Thanks

Anu Acharya: Just read a chapter and love it so far….. Amish love your style of writing

Amish Tripathi: @Anu, thank u. Hope u like the book when u read it.

Chandra Vikash: @amish i just read a review of the book, with lots of stereotypes and errors here. with some background in communication science, i understand that such stereotyping reviews can be damaging:

http://www.mouthshut.com/review/Immortals_Of_Meluha___The_-_Amish-188935-1.html

i’ve responded. i shall appeal to all my friends to respond as well.

“Did you read beyond the 100 pages? The review doesn’t suggest so.

If you had, you won’t have to lean on all the stereotypes – such as ’’Holy Book’’, ’’IIM garduate’’ and ’’heavily marketed trailer’’, and re-viewed the book on its own merit as a work of art.

I don’t question your intentions or your intellect in your review. What seems much evident from the review is an attention deficit disorder, which is reaching alarming proportions in our society today.

The book does have a certain slackness in the middle pages (as i experienced too – and hold that it may need sleeker editing in those pages e.g. some of the phrases in the battle scenes get repeated; error on pg. 63 reads ’’Svarna’’ instead of ’’Rajat’’).

So, I was getting carried away to believe like the protagonist Shiva that the Meluha system was so perfect. When I read about the babies being pooled and resorted, I found it unnatural and jarring. At that time, my response was that this was a shadow of the author’s extreme reaction to the ’’Reservation’’ menace in the country.

It was only when the story reaches its climax in the last few chapters, that I realised that the ’’bugs’’ in Meluhan system are a ’’feature’’ of the overall story that the book tells. Without revealing the plot, I must just share what I felt at that time. I felt a little stupid. It dawned upon me, how powerful the story is.

Not to forget, this is a trilogy. The power of author’s imagination and his craft of story telling (even with the serious risk of taking up an easily stereotype-able subject like ’’Shiva’’ and the backdrop of ’’mythology) has just begun to unfold.

Yet, this is a country where similar stereotyping overshadows a creative interpretation of MF Husain’s goddesses and distracts a Sania Mirza from what she does best – and to shed light on her story as an inspiration for women and particularly for the Muslim community, she belongs to.

I’m fearful, yet very hopeful.”

Chandra Vikashanother observation – i visited Sapna Book House on CMH Rd Bangalore y’day, to buy some stationery for my daughter. The cover of the book, there, isn’t as aesthetic – the print quality – as the copy I bought from Landmark@ Forum Mall, 10 days back.

special appeal to iim friends – it will be a travesty, if we didn’t apply our treasured marketing skills and experience to the best, in the era of social networking. 🙂

Anu AcharyaI actually quite liked the book and the style in which Amish delivers the message. Read it in one go yesterday and I even got my 10 year old interested in it by telling her how the book was written. Loved the parallels drawn between today and then, and although a little didactic at times, was thoroughly enjoyable.

I was thinking that a shorter version for kids may be a good idea or a comic series

Amish Tripathi@Chandra, thanks for the feedback on the print quality at Sapna. Will check with the publisher.
@Anu, thanks Anu. Will certainly think about it.Write a comment…

Means and Ends – Reprint of article by Suraj Kumar

The sustainability of the modern means of meeting ends

Written in January 2016

The restaurant is the means, food is the end. The tap is the means, water is the end. The prayer is the means, salvation is the end. The means is what we all seek and tangibly interact with directly. But the end is our real spiritual and material needs.

Just a few hundred years ago, people’s means of meeting their hunger was to grow their own food. So much so, that even after industrialisation started picking up its pace all over the globe, over 72% of India’s working population was still engaged in agriculture by the time of independence. While the end, hunger, remains a permanent feature of life, the means of how we feed ourselves have always changed. In our case, conditions have shifted towards a regressive and worsening situation after industrial civilization started spreading globally.

Industrialisation is only a means to an end. Not the end by itself. Worse, Industrialisation degrades and damages the end (such as rivers, underground water, soils, oceans, climate, human bodies, wildlife and so on). All just to support and upkeep the means – its infrastructure. To build and maintain pipelines and cars and roads, the continuing acts of clearing forests, mining, and pollution must go on. The famed law of thermodynamics, if explained simply, would translate that nothing in nature tends to stay the same over time – everything is constantly falling apart. Or the proverbial, the only thing that is constant is change. So, just to maintain roads and bridges and railway lines, petroleum must be pumped and burnt, some people (whether human or not) must be forced to give up their homes, just so metals can be mined, just so repairs of ailing infrastructure can go on.

Industrialisation and the way of life it has created has resulted in people becoming deeply dependent upon their means while forgetting the ends. That way of life has bred apathy into people’s minds so that they are horizontally competitive as well as hostile towards other living beings, while being vertically obedient to maximize productivity. Most modern kids today don’t even know where their food comes from or where the trash goes and are fast losing their communication skills to addiction to smartphones. The industrializing world has forgotten its original cultures. If it turns out that the means we have adopted can no longer work, how will we find a new way?

Realizing that the means are different from the end can be quite liberating. Or so claim many people who have taken to radically alternate ways of living. These people invite others to come live with them and reap the benefits of the Gift Economy.

Take the case of Manish Jain, an ex-wall street banker, who, having seen the destructive nature of the system, wanted to change it. He attempted working within the system – through UNESCO, Harvard, and World Bank – but he realized that the system is self-serving. It feeds its own logic of unlimited growth at any cost. So he decided to completely walk away and encourage many others to walk away into alternate spaces that thrive upon Gift culture. A fan of Gandhi and Malcolm X, he started Shikshantar Andolan and Swaraj University (Udaipur, Rajasthan). Both are revolutionary schools of thought in their own way, as the ideas of unschooling and self-designed learning are made popular here. What’s Unschooling? Schooling has been central to the creation and maintenance of this world. If this is inherently unsustainable, to change it, we must change our very definition of learning. Unschooling is a movement which seeks to reclaim control of our learning from centralized depersonalized institutions. It opens up new frontiers for who we learn from, how we learn, where we learn, when we learn, what we learn and unlearn. Out of this springs many innovative and diverse systems and practices grounded in a deeper connection with our authentic selves, our communities and the earth. Today, Swaraj University and Shikshantar are home to a thriving community of people, primarily youngsters, questioning everything with joy as they live with a mission to unlearn and find new paths. Many of the students have become grassroots entrepreneurs around organic farming, earth building, waste upcycling, slow food cooking, and such. In his own words “Our ways of seeing, understanding and doing are all still colonized by the Machine which tells us that there is no alternative. The need of the hour is to free our cultural imaginations from trying to simply ‘reform the existing system’ and to re-envision a socio-economic fabric of trust, caring, sharing, and deep listening. “

Manish and his team aren’t the only ones. There are complementing alternate communities, such as that started by Deepak Suchde, an erstwhile businessman from Mumbai now an organic farmer, who is on a mission to take the NatuEco farming method to the world and has set up a NatuEco farming learning and co-living center at Harda, M.P. The 65 year old ever-smiling spiritual seeker describes his journey and convictions thus: “The poverty of the world today is due to spiritual poverty. Through non-violent farming, we can cultivate our character and regain our spiritual connection to mother earth. NatuEco farming, a sound scientific method of non-violent farming perfected by Shri Dabholkar, can free farmers out of poverty by producing abundance. Any city dweller should be able to live a life of comfort, easily earning a professor’s income, and in the process heal the soils”. Prateek, a 28 year old ex-IT industry man from Mumbai, now lives at Deepak’s farm. He describes his experience thus: “Leaving my mainstream life and joining this effort was totally worth it. I haven’t felt more happier and peaceful with my life ever. I will encourage everybody to give this lifestyle a try by attending a NatuEco farming learning session here with us”.

There are also people who have given up their comfortable jobs to work for a cause at the larger level. One such person is Chandra Vikash, an MBA from IIM Calcutta and engineer from IIT Kharagpur. He is on a mission to energise self-reliant local economies with inspirations from this wonderful land’s rich history of sustainable living. “Local is the new global. Real progress implies that we should be able to derive all that we need for our day to day living from a local area not farther than 20kms. For this we must restore the natural balance of water resources(jal), forests (jangal), farming (jameen), people (jan) and livestocks (janwar). From them we get a steady and sustainable supply of raw materials for a rich and prosperous living. Interestingly, once we learn to live locally with abundance, this will free up our time to explore the world. ” beams Chandra. On the flip side, the current monstrous gorging of natural resources by the globally-dependent lifestyle has driven the planet to the brink of disaster in under two centuries and a process that has alarmingly accelerated in past few decades, he cautions. Yet, he believes that restoring the Earth’s natural balance is not about setting the clock back but it’s about looking ahead to a new dawn of healthy and happy living. 

Making grand changes to one’s own life isn’t the only way in which people practically react. Meet Nitin Bharadwaj, an IT professional from Bangalore who is passionate about photography. Having seen the pains of the world as it exists today, he has been growing an online community called “WeFeral.com” which aims to bring awareness to people, through photography and tours, to get reintroduced into nature. He says “This beautiful nature around us is systematically being reduced to leave a big trail of destruction. I have started photography tours around the Jungles of Karnataka in an effort to get people to learn more about Jungles from within the jungles. One needs to enjoy the positive energy that is felt when one is with nature to appreciate it. Every form of life has the right to live. For that, all necessary natural resources are to be available in their consumable form, without pollution!”.

The handful cases presented here may not be representative of the real world’s sample of diverse thoughts to tackle the certain uncertainties about our current way of life. In the author’s own experience, there are thousands of people across the world, fervently debating the end of the world and on ways to save the world. Increasingly, the common sense of many people are beginning to ring the alarm bells, even if only followed by the warnings of scientists across the spectrum – about everything from climate change to peak oil and other forms of depletion and degradation. Many are beginning to walk out and settle into alternate communities to find new paths. Many are beginning to feel uncomfortable etching a life of privilege in the present while leaving and leading one’s own children to suffer in an uncertain future. Clusters of online communities thrive too. One such online community, SULINS (Sustainably Living Indians – http://sulins.org/ ), was a gateway for the author to discover the existence of such real world communities.

Land ownership was the means, care of the earth was the end. But now, every piece of land is owned and controlled on earth and it appears like stewardship of the earth has been completely forgotten. If religion was the means to leading one’s life in a spiritually satisfying way, then it seems that even religions have stopped being instructive and have become irrelevant to how we live our lives today within modern Industrial society: for example, the plumbing, the doctor, the qualifications and brands have become our well known means and pursuits of living a fulfilling life than what the religions preached about rivers, holy cows and holistic health.

We may be used to associating the word “radical” with “nut cases”, but the greek word radic really pertains to roots. Thus, radical organizations, are those which view society in fundamentally different ways by going to the root of the problems. There are roots-oriented,  eco-feminist inspired organisations across the world such as Deep Green Resistance  which have a fundamentally different analysis of the state of the planet. As an environmental organization, DGR incorporates feminism as integral to earth justice and social justice.  They say that the way we treat nature, the poor, women and other members of society, are all related to culture. 

Industrial civilization may not have a name for its culture, but it is existent uniformly in all industrialized nations. That culture enables the system to thrive upon hierarchically maintained violence. DGR claims “Rape is an environmental issue. Militarism is a feminist issue. Environmental destruction is a peace issue.” Now, try wrapping your head around that for a moment. 

In this organization’s view, industry’s violent displacement of habitats and the extraction of resources from the land and living beings (human and non-human), the violent forcing of people to conform to society’s norms (of schooling, of gender identities and roles, of jobs, of status, and so on) keeps people compliant with the abusive. They obediently serve the system while leaving a whole lot of people marginalized and victimized as they get called  “failures” (school systems do this all the time) and “misfits” of various other kinds in society. Prisons are swelling up, the air is growing unbreathable and food security highly debatable. All this is kept in place by a hierarchy – the government, the bosses and management teams, the church missionary conglomerate and the pope, and so on at various levels, including the Man at the head of the family with the wife and children being subservient to him. So, the Deep Green analysis calls for defense of systematic creation of alternate ways of living –  spaces to help heal the living planet and safe spaces for the victims of this society, allowing them to rejoin and help the cause.  Simultaneously, given the urgency of the situation, the Deep Green analysis calls for dismantling of the industrial economy itself –  and the real material power structures and fossil-fuels derived way of life that have been abusing and murdering the natural world.


Most people would describe the system of industrial civilization as being dependent upon fossil fuels. While that is true, it is vital to realize that it is kept in operation by people working in a hierarchical structure of command and control. So, if people refuse to be treated as pawns in this pyramid scheme, if people refuse to sacrifice their own lives for mindless for-profit entities like corporations, if people refuse to waste their present for a mythical future which is full of uncertainties, and if they instead walk away to live a life of dignity, we could have the equivalent of a boycott movement. It could benefit the participants in a huge way by battling for the chance of a leaving a livable planet. While we entertain that line of thought, we must also think about redefining the meaning of the word “violence” itself. Not only because this culture is a violent culture, but also because we want to be non-violent at all possible levels. After all, an Israeli tank marching into a Palestinian neighbourhood is violence as well as a little boy pelting stones back at the tank is also considered violence. How can this be a balanced use of the word “violence”? Perhaps, once we learn what is truly non-violent, then only can we learn to grasp Gandhi’s ideal vision of ahimsa and Bhagat Singh’s scientific sense of action as social justice.

As the madding death march of civilization’s machines leave a trail of victims while taking all that is possible from the living planet that we are merely a part of, there arises a momentum of global consciousness awakening – evident from the uprising everywhere – from Syria to Baltimore. It is any body’s bet whether the participants of the civilized world will wake up to realize what the ends are. It is only a matter of time before we are taught by nature (ie., if we don’t learn it by ourselves) on what the source and end is and what the means are. This simple truth, is one that many indigenous cultures outside civilization have fully known and believed in their bones – people who were here but have been destroyed as their lands were taken away, or those who are still around us in the little remaining wilderness. This truth, is one that  subsistence farmers still know when they  realize how precious the balance of life is and how much has been lost by the corporatization of seeds.

The truth being: Life will always start and end with the earth. The question is whether the industrially civilized humans will want to switch to living along with the earth at its own pace or whether it is more important to be space faring at the cost of destroying our only home. If we don’t get the machinations of the hierarchical industrial civilization to change, industrial civilization appears to be poised to destroy all life on this planet as it converts all real natural wealth into toxic products with horrible shelf lives. The means called money can never be an end by itself and it is becoming evident that even the means is just not worth pursuing given, in a geological blink of an eye, a mere 200 years of industrial civilization, 98% of all old growth forests are gone, 40% of ocean phytoplanktons are down and an extinction event that started with the rise of the first civilizations 10,000 years ago, has now catalysed into an epic world’s sixth largest extinction event. This process of producing more of the means (money) from the ends (nature), will go on, until all life on earth itself ends or unless industrial civilization is forcefully stopped by us. That future is a choice to be made in the present today. 

Most of the people who are concerned by the direction in which the world is headed, got there because something itched them. It could have been that they were very successful in their career and figured that the pressure for success is never ending. It could have been that they watched a very moving video or witnessed something horrific and key to our lives that is ignored by our mainstream consciousness (such as a factory farmed dairy). These encounters leave our souls shaken, leading to a process of questioning and inquiry that results in people revalidating the world. What the dominant culture easily presents to us as truths, starts turning to appear like crude approximations and sometimes deliberate lies. When they realize that the system conspires to resist any change to its mechanical and exploitative ways of working, they take their lives into their own hands and decide to do what they can in their capacity and position. Stitching the big picture together, it seems, nothing short of a global non-cooperation movement and change of consciousness can save us from the converging catastrophes of the 21st century. Everybody, from photographers to volunteer workers to the humans in the CEOs and Netas of today who awaken to this reality, have their roles to play.

The Internet and Books and everything is the means, the end is knowledge. Seeking both the dark and light sides of knowledge with equanimity will lead to a realistic understanding of the world. After feeling the sorrow of all the suffering that this world leaves behind, comes a determination and a change to end that suffering. A much needed change for this hurting planet, our only home. Will you awaken to reality?

About the Author

Suraj kumar is a 35 year old, ex-IT Industry professional who has worked with internet product and services companies like Amazon, Yahoo! and InMobi for the past 13 years. As a corporate insider, he has witnessed how the growth success stories of even the best of the best software companies ultimately came from and rested on a continuous process of “maintaining” (using, repairing and throwing away) computer hardware like servers, routers and so on.

Just like how those companies grew from its hardware base, our civilized world too as a whole grows by exploiting nature in the name of “resources”. Environmental destruction caused by the processes of civilization will eventually take us only to a future where our children cannot even imagine what affluence and wealth means. It is all a matter of When? and not Whether?. Suraj too began to take notice of these issues. Over the past 9 years he has studied several books and applied systems analysis principles to the system of civilization to come to the conclusion that this civilization too will inevitably collapse like all the civilizations before us did given the current circumstances. This lead to a radical change in his outlook of everything slowly as he became an organic farmer, self-healer using a holistic health approach, and an unschooler of his little daughter. “Our only solace is in nature and being dependent directly on mother earth than organizing ourselves based on any kind of ideology other than nature worship”, says Suraj. To Suraj, the larger ethical question is about how are we going to face our children tomorrow with dignity when we are knowingly taking ourselves into such a future by participating in this deathly culture of civilization?

So, he quit his 25 LPA job at InMobi to do what he can do in his capacity. He is also a member of Deep Green Resistance, a worldwide radical environmental organization that calls for biophilic protection of mother earth and non-violent means of resisting the machine’s further destruction of nature. Some of the remedial actions that DGR calls for include eco-restoration of degraded lands using Deep Ecological principles, rethinking agriculture and food, animal rescue and rights activism, preservation of our own cultures and skills, innovating around education and unlearning to see our true spiritual nature. 
To him, the unfolding of these converging catastrophes of life on this planet sounds like about the only thing worth raising awareness about and discussing to seek solutions and partners. His personal action plan is towards setting up a sustainable organization as a platform to propagate awareness of these issues by doing and educating direct action towards sustainably and cultural preservation. He says “Action is the antidote to despair” and believes that we can all take meaningful actions towards stopping the damage to nature and helping her heal in many different ways. He can be contacted over email : suraj@sunson.in. Phone: 8105388118.