Satish Kumar and his friend E.P. Menon embarked on an 8,000-mile peace pilgrimage from India to Washington, from the grave of Mahatma Gandhi to the grave of John F Kennedy. Walking at the height of the cold war, taking no money with them and declining all offers of transport and donations, they talked to heads of state around the world and met with peace activists such as Martin Luther King Jr. along the way. Kumar, author of No Destination and Earth Pilgrim, tells the story of their pilgrimage in this autobiography.
When the philosopher Bertrand Russell was imprisoned for his anti-nuclear activities, this was a call to action for Kumar. If a 90-year-old man would go to jail for peace, what could Kumar contribute to the struggle? So he set out to walk to the four nuclear capitals of the world - Moscow, Paris, London and Washington. A young Georgian woman he met along the way gave him packets of tea to give to the leaders of these countries, so that they would stop and have a cup of tea when they might “get the mad impulse to press the nuclear button”. He was determined to deliver a packet of this Peace Tea to each of the leaders.
From New Delhi to Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran and the Soviet Union, through Poland, East and West Germany, Belgium, France and England, to the US and finally Japan, Kumar and Menon walked for two and a half years. They faced severe challenges – walking illegally without a visa in the Soviet Union, imprisonment in France and experiencing the Jim Crow laws in the USA – but everywhere they were met with incredible generosity from the people who housed and fed them.
Pilgrimage for Peace is a book about trust – in yourself, your companions, and humanity - about confidence, resilience and the courage to stretch your limits. It is an ode to the power and the solace of pilgrimage, to peace, disarmament and hospitality. It is an adventure story that shows how travel can bring people together in hope and help them understand one another. It demonstrates how you don’t always need money to see the world, just time and patience.
With conflict and war constantly in the news today, this book is a timely testament not only to these pilgrims for peace, but to the many people who cheered them on their way, seeing in them the harbinger of a new peaceful future.
When the philosopher Bertrand Russell was imprisoned for his anti-nuclear activities, it was a call to action for Satish Kumar. If a 90-year-old man would go to jail for peace, what could Satish contribute to the struggle? So he set out for the four nuclear capitals of the world - Moscow, Paris, London and Washington. He walked 8,000 miles from the grave of Mahatma Gandhi to that of John F Kennedy in a symbolic pilgrimage for peace and non-violence, talking to heads of state around the world and meeting with peace activists such as Martin Luther King Jr. along the way.
With conflict and war constantly in the news today, this book is a timely testament to the pilgrims for peace and the many people who cheered them on their way.
- Destination Peace
- Pakistan: The Land of Hope and Hospitality
- Afghanistan: The Mountains of Magic and Mystery
- Iran: A Place of Poetry and Passion
- The Soviet Union: A Land of Power and Promises
- No Problems in Poland
- East Germany: Hawks and Doves
- West Germany: Flowers and Philosophy
- Beautiful Belgium
- Fabulous France
- England: Green and Pleasant Land
- USA: Prejudice and Prosperity
- Japan: Home of Humility
"Satish Kumar’s memoir of his 8,000 mile peace walk from India to America is a warmly written, gripping and inspirational tale, offering us all hope in dark times. Never have his message of peace, tolerance and unity been more timely or more necessary."
"Satish Kumar ought to sit on a council of elders, guiding us through real wisdom, to the utopia that his path has shown us is possible."
"With this wonderful book the transcendentally inspiring Satish Kumar takes us on a journey where every step is taken with love and compassion."
"The Peace Walk of Satish Kumar, a living legend, is an inspiring and fascinating journey. The book is riveting, original and thought-provoking. His wise, comforting, motivational and spiritually uplifting words will inspire many to ‘walk the walk’. Underpinned with practical life experience and lessons, this book is a must-read."
“A great narrative like this could only have been born by walking a long journey with purpose. In his pure and elegantly simple voice, Satish describes the glorious variety of people and cultures he meets along the way, and how each is on their own pilgrimage to peace. This story is a global treasure."
"Satish Kumar literally walks the talk. He lives Gandhi's philosophy: 'Be the change you want to see in the world'. An inspirational, humbling book."
"Anybody who has heard the force by which Satish can speak of peace might wonder of its source. This book shows us through the nomad journey of his life and of our times."
"A pilgrimage, a travelogue and a paean to peace, every step of Satish’s vivid journey across a supposedly divided world is a masterpiece of literary reconciliation and hope."
"Satish Kumar is a real Earth Pilgrim, a lifelong and passionate peace campaigner. This story of his remarkable journey is captivating throughout."
"Satish Kumar is one of our more remarkable fellow humans. If you don't know his story, now is the moment to learn it!"
"Quietly passionate, gently insistent and manifestly moved by joy and hope, Satish is a living example of putting wisdom to work in all kinds of ways. This book chronicles an enterprise very typical of him – risky, but motivated by the only sort of realism that matters, the realism that confronts the "Emperor’s New Clothes" of a stale, frightened and destructive world order and shows how human beings can learn and grow."
"Satish Kumar’s book is an inspiration for all citizens yearning for peace. Satish shares his experiences of love, compassion and generosity as he travelled to Washington without money to stop the bomb. Satish is a tireless pilgrim of peace. His message is more important than ever."
"We can talk about peace, we can write about it. But until I read his wonderful book, I never knew Satish had walked for it too. His whole life has been one long walk for freedom, justice, harmony and peace. Yes, it is an extraordinary adventure, but it is much more than that. His life would be this walk. Here is a book that inspires us to follow in his footsteps, that gives us all hope."
Satish Kumar is an internationally renowned speaker on ecological and spiritual issues, and founder of both Resurgence & Ecologist magazine and Schumacher College.