Posts Tagged 'Ahmedabad'

Understanding the Gift Economy

Iconic Tiffany's Box with Question Mark

I received an interesting assignment a couple weeks ago: write an explanation of the gift economy. Since the request came from my dear friend Nipun Mehta, to whom I can refuse nothing, I agreed; but I knew from the outset how challenging this seemingly straightforward task would be. As U.S. Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart famously observed about pornography, some things are easy to recognize and yet quite difficult to define.

The essay, now completed, is included in a new online reference, The Dictionary of Ethical Politics, a joint project of Resurgence and openDemocracy.

Continue reading ‘Understanding the Gift Economy’

Jayesh Patel, Superstar!

Jayesh and Anar Patel

In October of 2005, I wrote a short profile of my friends Jayesh and Anar Patel, husband-and-wife and two-thirds of the founding triumvirate of the extraordinary Ahmedabad-based NGO, Manav Sadhna. Two years later, that small essay has received nearly 400 viewings and still averages nearly three hits per week.

Small wonder. Jayesh-bhai and Anar-ben are perhaps the loveliest, most optimistic, and broadly inspiring people I know. This is no small distinction, given that I am in the habit of collecting friends who answer to the general description “lovely, optimistic, and inspiring.”

Now, a group of filmmakers calling themselves the “Global Oneness Project” have created a beautiful portrait of Jayesh-bhai and his philosophy in a new video called “Living Service.”

Continue reading ‘Jayesh Patel, Superstar!’

The Auntie-Factor and the Myth of Indian Entrepreneurism

Automatons

Everyone sees that India’s economy is doing well – if we measure success by international competitiveness rather than, say, the successful distribution of wealth within the country – and the prognosis for the immediate future is good. This buoyancy, coupled with the gaudy success of the Indian technology sector, leads many people to hail Indian entreprenuerism.

I see creative enterprise in India very differently.

Continue reading ‘The Auntie-Factor and the Myth of Indian Entrepreneurism’

Seva Cafe on YouTube

seva-cafe-logo.jpg

It is a restaurant like no other, a shimmering oasis of the gift-economy in the heartless desert of the market economy. Diners pay what they want, from the heart, so that someone else may in the future enjoy the experience they are having; their food has already been paid for in advance, and they will recieve no tally at the meal’s end. It is a place where the volunteers who run the place, and patrons who dine there, share in contemplation — and the direct cultivation — of service, compassion, and giving. It is Ahmedabad’s Seva Cafe.
Continue reading ‘Seva Cafe on YouTube’

1,000 Crisp Mohandases

Mohandases

On the CharityFocus blog, Nipun reports on a question posed by Oprah Winfrey on Yahoo Answers: If you were given $1,000 to change the life of a perfect stranger, what would you do?

Oprah received thousands of answers. Nipun comments that, as a believer in the significance of small acts, he’d probably divide the sum into five dollar grants to match the small gifts made to community micro-philanthropy programs like the five dollar club.

Nipun’s reminder of the power of tiny, compassionate gifts put me in mind of a story that goes back a few years, but which is worth a retelling.

Continue reading ‘1,000 Crisp Mohandases’

Friends Without Borders: Status Report

Flags and Dove

This has been an exciting two-and-a-half months for the Friends Without Borders. As we make our final preparations to deliver the World’s Largest Love Letter and the first salvo of individual friendship letters from the children of India to the children of Pakistan, it is time to take stock of our achievements and look to the challenges and opportunities ahead.

Continue reading ‘Friends Without Borders: Status Report’


Blasts from the Past

Man Up!
Man up you pussy!

... because the idiocy of manliness is an evergreen topic.

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Talking Turkey
how to cook a perfect turkey in half the time

... because Canada and the US will celebrate their Thanksgiving holidays and, regrettably and preventably, not 1-cook-in-10 will serve a decent turkey.

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Filial Piety Awareness Day
Kaki Tusler, Mother's Day Celebrant

... because everyday is Mother's Day.

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America Dreaming Small
American Dream

... because the American Dream seems but a distant memory, given the country's dominant ethos of small-mindedness.

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Serenity and Gratitude to Bring in the New Year
New Year's Eve at Tibetan Pavillion

... to remind us that not every mix of Tibetans and Western spiritual seekers has to be nauseating.

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Incredible Vision
Infinite Vision

... to celebrate the new edition of Infinite Vision published in India.

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Expelliarmus! Harry Potter and the Path to Gandhian Nonviolence
Expelliarmus, Potter, Gandhi, Nonviolence

... reprised because military strategy seems more cruel and less effective than ever -- and certainly there is a better way.

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India Going Nowhere Fast
Nano in Flames

... because cars are ruining Pondicherry, where I live. How badly are they fucking up your Indian town?

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Understanding the Gift Economy
Gift Economy Explained

... reprinted because more-and-more people seem want to understand the gift economy. (Yeah!)

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