THE CROAK is a weekly environmental newsletter put out by the eCoexist team. It is the voice of the environment on its last legs, the final croak that can either be a plea for attention or a call of triumph as the frogs jump out of the well of ignorance and denial.

Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam

Acharya Vinoba Bhave was declared to be the spiritual successor of Mahatma Gandhi as he carried forward the work of social reform into independent India. Vinobaji is not as well known as Gandhiji but his contribution to free India's development is equally significant. Vinoba was a yogi and his writings on the Bhagwad Geeta have inspired many Indians. 

What is the relevance of his teachings to the future directions that India is taking ?

This Independence Day 15 Aug 2021, the eCoexist Foundation is hosting a unique online conversation entitled Vinoba's India. This is in partnership with the Vinoba Janmasthan Pratisthan and the Trusteeship Foundation. 

Vinoba Bhave Janmasthan Pratisthan

About two years ago, the eCoexist team happened to visit the village of Gagode which is enroute to the town of Pen in Raigad district. We had been told about Gagode as the village where Acharya Bhave was born and we stopped by for a quick visit. There we encountered a single resident who spoke to us about the community she was part of, talked to us of Vinoba and demonstrated the hand spinning of Khadi. This simple visit led to two years of association with the Vinoba Bhave Janmasthan Pratisthan ( VBJP) community - a group of people that live at the birthplace and lead their lives in accordance with the teachings of Vinoba. 

The daily schedule of the ashram at Gagode integrates Vinobas guidance on life as karma yoga as outlined in the principles of the Sarvodaya philosophy. As we met the Sarvodayees, we saw how simple living, love, labour and discipline were being practised by them. We also began to realise that much of this was very similar to the efforts being made towards creating sustainable communities internationally. eCoexist then got involved in supporting the community to learn more about the relevance of Sarvodaya to Sustainability. 

With help from the Trusteeship Foundation in Mumbai, the eCoexist team has already done various projects with the VBJP team - including creating a website, marketing their organic products and bringing several visitors and volunteers to the ashram from Pune city. 

On the 15 Aug we would like to launch the new VBJP website and invite them to share their vision with all of you. 

The session will be led by Smt Neela Apte, a trustee of VBJP and she will tell us all about the ashram and their efforts. She will also share what community living - Sarvodaya Samaj - looks like as per Vinobas guidance. Born into a family of Sarvodayees Neela has a passion for education as per the Nayee Taalim system laid out by Vinobaji. She has moved to live at the ashram in Gagode full time a year ago.

By Unknown author -, Public Domain,
Visit the new website here
The Trusteeship Foundation
Trusteeship is a principle that invites us to consider ourselves as stewards or trustees of everything that enters our world rather than taking ownership or possessing it. This was one of the fundamental concepts that Gandhi and Vinoba promoted as a wholistic approach to the equitable distribution of wealth. 
The Trusteeship Foundation was established in the early 1970s by Smt Indira Doctor and Govindrao Deshpande, inspired by Jayprakash Narayan and Dada Dharmadhikari. Several Sarvodaya leaders and industry doyens such as Govindjibhai Shroff, J R D Tata, Soli Godrej, Nani Palkhiwala and others were a part of the group when it began. The intention of the Trusteeship Foundation was to explore the possibilities of creating an economic model for Indian industry based on Trusteeship principles. 
Mona Doctor, will speak to us about the concept of Trusteeship and how it can be applied to our own personal growth and understanding before we find its application in the external world. Mona  is a student of the Healing Arts, Co-Founder of The Integral Space, Mumbai, a Mentor and Therapist. 
She comes from a Gandhian family. Her great grandfather was P. J Mehta, Gandhiji’s Mentor and benefactor and her grandfather was Manilal Doctor. Her mother, Indira Doctor, was deeply influenced by “ Baba” or Vinobaji, and she created the Trusteeship Foundation. Mona is the current Director of the Trusteeship Foundation.
Sarvodaya for Sustainability

In our quest to redesign our societies to become more sustainable and respectful of Nature, will the principles of Sarvodaya help us to imagine a new future for India? As we explore the teachings of Vinoba, this question comes up again and again in our minds... what kind of a direction would Vinoba give to India were he still alive? were his dreams too ambitious? Were they too far ahead of the time? 

While we turn to the UNs Sustainable Development Goals, what about the goals that Gandhi and Vinoba had set out for us - as individuals and as Indians.. and even further as global citizens? Is there indeed something unique in India that she can still offer to the world as it struggles with pandemics and disasters and crumbling economies? If indeed, according to the teaching of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam, this world is one family, how do we start to look after one another? 

Manisha Gutman from the eCoexist Foundation team poses these questions in the last segment of the conversation to see if together we can find the thread of Sarvodaya that can be applied to weave a sustainable world for the future. Manisha is an environmentalist with a training in architecture and planning from CEPT Ahmedabad. She is a director at the eCoexist Foundation which aims to awaken environmental consciousness one person at a time. Manisha has 20 years of experience working on issues of sustainable design.

You are invited to a Zoom meeting. 
When: Aug 15, 2021 10:30 AM India 
Register in advance for this meeting: 
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.
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The Croak is a weekly environmental newsletter put out by the eCoexist team. It is the voice of the environment on its last legs, the final croak that can either be a plea for attention or a call of triumph as the frogs jump out of the well of ignorance and denial. Satirical, urgent and wise the newsletter brings to your attention, topics of global environmental relevance as well as emerging encouraging alternatives. Put together by a team of passionate Nature lovers, The Croak hopes to look at the environmental crisis in its face. It is a tool to reconnect readers to Nature, through questioning and self reflection. To understand the outer environment as a reflection of our own inner state, individually and as a species. And to take responsibility for enabling change.
If you would like to contribute articles on ecology consciousness and sustainability please get in touch with us.

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