Author Archive: Winin Pereira and Jeremy Seabrook

Perhaps best known as the founder of the Centre for Holistic Studies in Mumbai, a research center dedicated to providing resources to support a vision of society based on social justice and harmony with the natural world, WININ PEREIRA is also the author of numerous books and articles. His titles include: Tending the Earth: Traditional Sustainable Agriculture in India, Bombay: Earthcare Books, 1993; Inhuman Rights: The Western System and Global Human Rights Abuse, New York: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 1997 and Global Parasites: 500 Years of Western Culture, Bombay: Earthcare Books, 1994, co-authored with Jeremy Seabrook.

Jeremy Seabrook is a prolific writer with a career dating back to the late 1960s. Besides having written novels, his numerous books on social justice and environmental issues include: Notes From Another India, London: Pluto Press, 1995; Children of Other Worlds, London: Pluto Press, 2001, a comparison of child labor in nineteenth Century London and present-day Dhaka in Bangladesh, and Consuming Cultures: Globalization and Local Lives, Oxford: New Internationalist TM Publications Ltd, 2004. His website offers more information, lists of publications, et al.

Restoring Our Future

by Winin Pereira and Jeremy Seabrook

The other day there was a report in the news about a little girl in Bombay who had never seen a live butterfly. There must be something drastically wrong with the way we have organised our lives, or the way it is organised for us, to have resulted in our exchanging the beauty of butterflies on the wing for a handful of hi-tech trinkets. The relationship between our internal environment, (human appetites) and the external one (the planet) has to be reconstructed around a less damaging and ruinous relationship.

Traditional Respect for the Earth

The ancient sages discerned a principle of harmony pervading the entire universe. Each individual forms part of all other life and non-life, one with the earth. This concept requires respect for all that surrounds us, since the individual self merges with the rest of creation. Such a perception can form the basis for a just, sustainable society.

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The Interconnectedness of Violence

by Winin Pereira and Jeremy Seabrook

Most people connect violence solely with a physical action against other human beings, but ancient Indian sages perceived it in a much wider sense. They considered all life sacred, and in their concern for self-perfection, the killing of any living being, human or non-human, was sinful. Further, causing harm to other creatures was also thought wrong; it had to be minimised because harm itself was considered a form of partial death. Harm was defined widely to include not only physical injury, but also all forms of pain, including depriving persons of their livelihood or intimidating them. Violence could be committed personally, it could he instigated or aided, or it could be condoned by observing it without protest. [1] However, it is not possible to survive in this world without at least some violence, for we depend on other living beings for our food. Avoiding all killing must result in our own death.

Our sages were deeply concerned that humans must necessarily be involved in violence and death and that absolute innocence was unattainable. They understood the concept of ahimsa to mean the minimum or least possible violence. While causing some harm is inevitable, we do not have a licence to kill other creatures ruthlessly, to act on the basis of the “survival of the fittest”, which in effect means survival of the most violent. Rather, we should have greater respect for those beings whose lives must be sacrificed in order that we may survive. The survival of the fittest means that the rest perish. Social justice is incompatible with this theory.

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“When planted in the garden, the mustard seed, smallest of all the seeds, became a large tree, and birds came and made their home there.” Luke 13:19

“For me whatever is in the atoms and molecules is in the universe. I believe in the saying that what is in the microcosm of one’s self is reflected in the macrocosm.” M. Gandhi