What moves pointReturn

Q1: For DV: Using your own time and money and without any expectation, you have worked on goodNewsIndia and now, pointReturn. goodNewsIndia was rendering a great service. Are you you not affected for abandoning that service? Do you have any plans to revive gNI again- perhaps with volunteer help?

A:DV: GoodNewsIndia [gni] has been suspended, not abandoned. When it does resume however, I would focus exclusively on good work related to caring for the earth. I believe pR could not have arisen had I not gone looking for and expecting to find ‘good work’ in abundance; and, discovering there was too little, and their texture not very satisfying; a texture woven of foreign funded NGOs, philanthropic tokenism of Indians and the mealy mouthed ‘corporate social responsibility’. I have written at length on this here:

Q2: For Karpagam and Sriram: I am sure you have thought through everything deeply. Have you been strengthened by a sizable lot of money you may have saved? Was this a major factor?

A: Karpagam and Sriram: The main reason for the shift was disorientation towards life (corporate work, compensation, job satisfaction, exploitation of anything anyone if given a chance, insensitive pace of growth of the city, mad push to buy and consume unnecessary things to fuel useless growth in the name of GDP, race with the rest of the world, total disregard for manual work, use and throw mentality, current generations forgetting the link between the food and the farm etc. – I could go on but think you get the drift). This disorientation originated from our sensitivity towards nature.
We have a couple of friends who moved rural to do dryland agriculture. We got the opportunity to visit them to get a feel of life on the other side. This life made sense to us. So we would not classify our shift as ‘giving up’ comforts and that sounds like a self denial. But we feel that the life in the rural area is more comfortable for us than the city corporate life. We place more importance to clean air, peaceful quiet surroundings, meaningful work as factors of comfort rather than say going to a movie or watching TV. Therefore we have actually moved into a better lifestyle in our point of view. It may not have TV or AC or some other material things but we have everything we “need” for a satisfying life. We will build / accumulate material things at our own pace and requirements.

On the financial front, we do not have any liabilities. We have a rental income as our only input. That is adequate as we have defined it. When we made the shifting decision, we removed the fear of financial insecurity just by the sheer belief that we have the skills and strength to survive a simple life with limited means.

The removal of this fear is what helps in making the shift, not trying to define ‘adequate’.

3 thoughts on “What moves pointReturn

  1. hi sriram

    -first of all,have you experienced what life is like, growing up in a village as a poor,landless,low caste villager?

    while ‘our’ education is not perfect,i wonder if something is better than nothing. for the urban elite,village life is very romantic and ideal,but it is not so for the millions of poor,illiterate,low caste,landless villagers.while they may have skills,those skills,unfortunately are often not enough to even provide them with 3 square meals a day.what freedom do they now enjoy that will disappear after they get ‘our’ education? are they not servicing the rich now,working for the rich in village,at wages which hardly are enough to make both ends meet,not to mention the other types of exploitations like the ignominy of casteism? at least’our’ education ensures that you and i do not go to bed hungry,that our basic needs are met.

    you yourself have ensured an alternate source of income ( thru you rent) and the much maligned education system has probably helped that and also you relatives whom you don’t have to support.you have your own land.you can use media to find information.how many poor people in india have this luxury?whether you accept it or not,it is this education which has given you the knowledge and confidence to survive in this world and this is always a back up for you in case there is a need. why is it that the poor have to carry the responsibility of maintaining traditions,skills etc etc etc?

    like i said before,’our’ education is not perfect but atleast it can ensure that people do not starve.as for happiness,it is not that all the well- to- do in the city are unhappy and all in the village are happy.if the rich are unhappy,they have only themselves to blame for it.more spirituality and less materialism is what is needed.but for the poor,tortured by hunger,casteism,exploitation etc,they are helpless.just by talking about idealism is not of any help.it is the question of survival.abandoning them just because it is not ideal,is not the way to help the vulnerable.

    an education,though not perfect, and blending in the city is one of the best ways to escape poverty and casteism- and i say this from a near personal experience.

  2. hi sujatha,
    sriram has replied to your query as follows:

    “we said – “teaching children OUR education…”
    this ‘our’ is to signify the current education system prevalent in the country which makes our children literate/educated/city-centric/rote capable/rich servicing etc., but destroys their freedom and so on.

    so unless, we are able to conduct education in a completely revised manner (for eg., like defined in gandhiji’s nai talim), we do not have the interest to impart education.

    using the double negative to interpret this statement (or any other) is going to give you the wrong perspective.”

  3. you say: ‘teaching under privileged children will make them lose control of their freedom and start servicing the rich.’ do you mean to say that uneducated/illiterate underprivileged children/people are living enviable lives now? and, have full freedom and are being serviced BY the rich?

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