The influence of India

As stated elsewhere my parents had a deep love of India – where they spent 2 years working with Quakers in West Bengal in the late 1940’s. I feel as if I was fed on the example of Mahatma Gandhi along with my mother’s milk – so strongly had they adopted his philosophy and life-style at the time of my birth. But it wasn’t only Gandhi who influenced them, but that great genius Rabindranath Tagore – poet, artist, storyteller, musician and social reformer.

Under these influences, it has just seemed to me to be natural to aspire to building much more conscious and creative models for a just and healthy society. In fact, I guess I am still quite surprised when I find that others don’t have this aspiration!

One of the connections between my current work and my life-long interest in communities has been the opportunity to connect with India directly (I carried responsibility for IBLF’s work in that region from 2006-20010). India continues to inspire with its social experiments – one of my favourites is The Barefoot College where women from poor communities in Rajasthan are trained as solar engineers and life in their villages is transformed by the generation of energy from the sun, recycling whatever can be recycled and water harvesting.