Pilgrimage for Peace: The Long March from India to Washington shares extraordinary story of Satish Kumar – the former monk turned environmental activist who walked 8,000 miles without spending any money, and eating only vegetarian food, to bring peace to people and planet.
At the height of the Cold War in the 1960s, Kumar – then aged 25 – and his friend EP Menon began their journey at the grave of Mahatma Gandhi, and ended at the grave of John F Kennedy.
They weathered snow and sandstorms, treacherous mountain passes, hunger, extreme cold, countless psychological and physical hardships, racial aggression and the threat of death by bullets, to deliver their message of peace to the heads of state in the world’s four nuclear power capitals of Moscow, Paris, London and Washington.
‘Our pilgrimage was a journey to make peace among people as well as peace with our precious planet Earth. Although we faced many excruciating challenges and hardships I found it a source of profound inspiration and joy. Crossing the continents over the mountains, across the deserts and through the snow storms was, paradoxically, torturous and terrific at the same time.
‘During the pilgrimage, we delivered packets of humble peace tea to the Kremlin and to the White House with a message from a Georgian woman that a cup of tea is a cup of peace. ‘If you have any crazy thoughts of pressing the nuclear button, please stop for a moment and have a cup of this peace tea,’ we pleaded. ‘That will give you a pause to consider that these weapons of mass destruction will not only kill your enemies but the entire living world.’
When Satish became editor of the UK’s longest-standing green magazine, Resurgence (now called Resurgence & Ecologist) in 1973, he evolved his life’s work as an emissary for peace, environmental sustainability and social justice, which has continued up to the present day.
Over the decades he has authored several books, presented various documentaries including BBC TV’s Earth Pilgrim, and been the guiding spirit behind a number of internationally respected ecological and educational ventures, including Devon’s Schumacher College.
Now at last comes the book illuminating the remarkable odyssey of his youth, which was to ripple his message of peace across the world and shape the rest of his life.
‘This book is exceptional. Do read it for your own inner journey, read it for the gems that are in the milestones, for the signposts to how life can be lived, for the inner fuel when the road is tough. Here you will discover the ways we can free ourselves from fear. This is our job in this present world because, as Satish says: ‘it is the responsibility of every citizen to free themselves from fear, then politicians for peace will emerge.’
DR SCILLA ELWORTHY
Three-time Nobel Peace Prize nominee
With war constantly in the news today, Pilgrimage for Peace is a timely testament which also holds profound implications for our current global crises of disease and climate change.
‘The world is facing two urgent challenges, the Covid crisis and climate catastrophe, which are the result of aggressive and violent human behaviour towards the natural environment. In response to these challenges we need to rise above narrow nationalism and make peace with our precious planet Earth.
‘The story, message and spirit of my 8,000-mile pilgrimage for peace is more relevant today than ever. The whole of humanity must transcend from petty politics and join together to make peace among people and peace with the planet Earth, in order to mitigate climate change and safeguard the world from Covid-19.’
Pilgrimage for Peace: The Long March to Washington will be published in Paperback by Green Books on 13 May 2021, ISBN: 9780857845290, price £9.99 .
For more information and to pre-order or buy a copy of the book, visit Bookshop.org. The book will also be available in all quality bookstores and online retailers, as well as from the Resurgence website.