Friday, February 26, 2010

Gandhi Ashram

Hey all,

I don't want to stay in this little internet place for too long, and I have to try to tackle doing my taxes (for the past three years :-) ). But I felt like posting some quick photos from Gandhi Ashram which is where I am staying now. It's a lot like a WWOOFer situation; do about four hours of manual labour per day, and get the rest of the day off. The difference is that it's more political; I'm here to learn about the organizing that's going on now and the philosophies behind it.

I just finished reading Hind Swaraj which is one of Gandhi's defining works. I'm starting to read Unto This Last by John Ruskin, which was a defining influence in Gandhi's life and his view of economics. And I'm learning a little Hindi and about organic farming too.

It's lentil season apparently. Here's the crew threshing the lentils. It looks like a terribly boring task thumping away at lentils all day. But this entire pile was processed in one day so it's not so bad. I tried it for a while, long enough to get some blisters and realize these people must have quite the calluses on their hands to keep at it for so long. After threshing there is a big electric fan used for winnowing. I think we'll be doing the same with mustard soon.

This is a cotton flower! It was a fun moment when I was standing in front of this plant wondering what it was and saw a boll of cotton staring up at me. So that's what a cotton plant looks like :-). The seeds are pretty tasty too. But I read now that they're toxic so it's a good thing I didn't eat too many!

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