Soil Soul Society: Satish Kumar Talks at 42 Acres London


42 Acres describes itself as “… a retreat space nestled within a secluded Somerset valley.”  And it has just established a beautiful centre in a deconsecrated church in the heart of Shoreditch, East London. The other night I attended the inaugural talk at their new venue. It was a very intimate gathering and Soil Soul Society was delivered by Satish Kumar, the peace and environment activist whom I have long wanted to meet and hear in person.

Born in Sri Dungargarh, in Rajasthan, Satish became at nine a Jain novitiate then at 18 ran off in search of relevance, becoming a campaigner for land reform. In the 1960s he was inspired by Bertrand Russell in the cause of peace. At 26, he and fellow peace campaigner E P Menon walked 8,000 miles from Delhi to Washington via Moscow, Paris and London (without money, living only by the generosity of strangers) in support of nuclear disarmament. At the end of their journey, they delivered a packet of peace tea to the leaders of the world’s four nuclear powers.

Until retiring recently, Satish was also editor for many years of Resurgence magazine (now Resurgence and Ecologist) and his talk was the first of a new collaboration between 42 Acres and The Resurgence TrustResurgence “… was founded in 1966 by John Papworth, a well-known peace campaigner with connections to the Committee of 100 and the Peace Pledge Union, but rapidly broadened its critique from the nuclear nightmare generated by the Cold War to pollution, intensive farming and food production and the related political problems of centralisation, bigness and the growing separation of economics from ethics.” David Nicholson-Lord)

Soil Soul Society – a new trinity for our time is the title of Satish’s latest book. He talked about the importance of soil – which is fundamental to survival as without it we cannot feed ourselves – and on how it is also important and possible to take up the cause of sustainability in urban areas like London. And of being the change that we want.

As one who is in the process of trying to be the change and in the process of being made to fail (for reasons I won’t go into here) I wanted to know how to overcome this perennial problem, but Satish answered the question before I asked it. He talked of  remaining hopeful and optimistic. I also found the answer in Satish’s book in the form of this poem – a favourite also of Mahatma Gandhi – by Rabindranath Tagore:

Walk Alone, Walk Alone

If no one comes at your call, then walk alone
Walk alone, walk alone, walk alone
If no one comes at your call, then walk alone
If no one speaks, unlucky as you are
if no one speaks,
If everyone looks away,
if everyone fears
If everyone looks away,
if everyone fears
then open your heart,
find words for your thoughts
and speak alone
find words for your thoughts
and speak alone
If no one comes at your call, then walk alone
If anyone, when the path gets tough,
loses the will to go on
If anyone, when the path gets tough,
loses the will to go on
Then bloody your feet with its thorns
and tramp alone
Then bloody your feet with its thorns
and tramp alone
If no one comes at your call, then walk alone
If they offer no light, unlucky as you are,
If they offer no light
If in storm and rain and on dark nights
they shut their doors
If in storm and rain and on dark nights
they shut their doors
then with the lightning
kindle a fire in your ribs
and blaze alone
kindle a fire in your ribs
and blaze alone
If no one comes at your call, then walk alone
Walk alone, walk alone, walk alone
If no one comes at your call, then walk alone

The 42 Acres talk was filmed for the Resurgence Trust and will be added to Resurgence’s You Tube channel. In the meantime, please enjoy the above presentation of Satish talking about Soil Soul Society in Exeter.

About AnnIsikArts

Artist/Writer, Proofreader/Copy Editor
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26 Responses to Soil Soul Society: Satish Kumar Talks at 42 Acres London

  1. Had a few occasions to share this poem. There are many who thinks they (we) are alone.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Bumba says:

    Very fine speech – a bold and clear message from one who apparently walks alone and persists. To be on a good path is reward enough, or so they say. And to be on that path with others is some sort of reward too.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Suzanne says:

    What an inspiring man and the poem really speaks to me right now. I am feeling that walking alone regardless of what others say or think is the way forward at present.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Stunning poem! Needed to hear that today.

    Liked by 1 person

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