What keeps Satish Kumar going?Posted: 12:00 pm 30 May 2012 Category: In the House
50 years ago, you walked 8,000 miles for peace. What are your reflections on that achievement today?
Walking is the best way to make peace with the world. When you are walking you make peace with yourself. When you walk, you are at peace with nature and the environment. When you walk, you cannot carry bombs or guns, or drive a tank.
My walk, and walking itself is a peaceful way of making peace...and it has the advantage of helping us remain healthy! I am 76 and full of health.
You presented tea to the four nuclear powers during your walk. We are curious what was the reaction when you handed this gift over?
Their reaction was how wonderful to have this message. Producing the tea put a smile on everyones face. They offered me a cup of tea everywhere but Paris, where we were arrested! The other powers each said we are for peace and then blamed the others. The British blamed the Russians, the Russians blamed the Americans, and so on.
I advised them to take the first step, I said you set the example first and see if people will follow. You cannot blame others without first setting an example. This is the philosophy set by Mahatma Ghandhi and Vinoba Bhave. They both said "Be the change you wish to see in the world".
How would you describe the UKs relationship with Asia?
The relationship runs at two levels. At a cultural level, there is tremendous synergy. People in the UK receive cultural activities from Asia, films, literature, art, music very well. Politically, the scene is not as encouraging. I would like to see a change in focus in the relationship to reduce the politics and to focus on culture. True understanding could come through this cultural respect.
You have mentioned Mahatma Ghandhi, who inspires you today?
The Dalai Lama is coming to London on the 19 June. And Aung San Su Kyi is a great example of being the change, humble, compassionate, peaceful but resilient.
How do you stay motivated on your darker days?
Darker days are the sign that brighter days are coming. When you have rain, you know that sunshine will follow. When you have night, you know that dawn will follow. Be patient.
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