Monthly Archive for: ‘May, 2012’


Frugalis Satyagraha

Non-violence requires much more courage than violence. – Cesar Chavez Frugalis in Latin means “frugal” and satyāgraha in Sanskrit means “insistence on truth” (Satyā means “truth” and Agraha means ”insistence”), often as it related to civil disobedience or non-violent resistance. For Mahatma Gandhi, the ultimate symbol of frugalis was the khādī, the Indian homespun cotton cloth which was a satyāgraha, a non-violent protest against the exploitative British Empire’s …

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Introduction to Badgers

Why write the Badgers stories in pidgin English? It all began in Mr. Patel’s shop on Ngara Road in downtown Nairobi. The heady, exotic scent of ugerbati incense swirled and twirled and enveloped you the moment you walked in, and all the pictures of Hindu mythology and gods and goddesses that decorated its four walls was a cacophony of red, …

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Gandhi and America

Purushottama Bilimoria, PhD is Honorary Associate Professor and Research Fellow in Philosophy at Deakin University, and Honorary Fellow, University of Melbourne, Australia; Visiting Professor and Lecturer at University of California, Berkeley. He has held fellowships in Oxford, Harvard, Emory and Shimla Universities. His research and publications cover classical Indian philosophy, comparative ethics; Continental thought; cross-cultural philosophy of religion; testimony; emotions; …

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Socks (One)

My first impressions of London when I arrived there at age seven, were magical. Until the day my mother took me to buy socks. You see, until then, buying socks had always been fun. Growing up in Nairobi with my grandparents, my earliest memories included visiting the ‘Banyani’ Hindu shopkeepers, like Mr. Patel’s, on Nagara Road. You didn’t go there …

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Gandhi and Ecology

by Purushottama Bilimoria, PhD Gandhi was one of the twentieth century’s foremost savants who was influenced by Jaina ethics. The background was of course also the millennium-long development of ahimsa that crystallized in the Buddhist values of non-violence, generosity (dana), forbearance, loving-kindness (metta), and most significantly, compassion, (karuna) towards the other and toward all sentient beings, without exception. These values — or, if …

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Malaika (Two)

Heathrow airport, my parents. This is London. I am home. That drive through the town of London was too good! I am getting used to white people now. This is just like in the James Bond film I saw at Twentieth Cinema in Nairobi. Red double decker buses and police bobbies with those funny helmets. The school term here has …

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BEA Stamp

Jonathan (Three)

“Because I don’t like the taste of tea in a bone china cup!” “What is the boy talking about Dr. Baird? Bone china cups..?” “The little laddie is delirious, Miss Miller – he’s just sauntering in and out of his fainting spell. I just spoke to the mother on the phone.” “Is it serious?” “Oooh nooo nooo– not in the …

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Gandhi on Modernity

“I think it is a very good idea.” – Mohandas K. Gandhi (when asked what he thought of Western Civilization) by Purushottama Bilimoria, PhD Gandhi strongly resisted the equation of modernization and westernization. Much as Gandhi admired aspects of Western modernity — its scientific temper, its pragmatism, efficient organization, and civil liberties, for example — he considered it a fundamentally violent and destructive form of …

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Badgers (Four)


“… I vow to thee my country all earthly things aa-above Entire and whole and perr-fect, the service of my love…” Another tedious Assembly. I try to watch the other children and see what they are doing. Sometimes I think of lunch. I had semolina pudding the other day. It tastes a bit like Indian khir. But the custard and jam …

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Conkers (Five)

“Now, let us discuss this matter of the theft of the Sanskrit words… you spoke with the school headmistress, Miss Sunderland, about the matter?” “Yes,” I said, “and she said to me, ‘I am sorry about the sandal business.’” “Good.” “But Bapuji,” I started, puzzled, “just one question. I mean to say, if people take words, it is a theft …

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