An Old Friend & Co-Traveler Joins As Advisor

CEK  |   4 September, 2023

An Old Friend & Co-Traveler Joins As Advisor

Most of you will know about the Center for Embodied Knowledge which Akanksha and I co-founded with Hari Kiran Vadlamani last year.

It’s been more than a year of interesting projects and people we have funded and mentored , you can check here :

Since early this year we have been supporting young men working with indigenous architecture, building practices with traditional artisans in Telangana, Tamilnadu and Madhya Pradesh.

All these young men are mentored by Aseem Shrivastava, asking him to become our Advisor on CEK is a natural outcome.

Akanksha, Hari and I are honoured and delighted to have him join our gang of merry women and men who want to build and support in our little ways, communities and ecosystems of recovering the sustainable and holistic processes in our indigenous knowledge systems.

Aseem Shrivastava is a writer, teacher and ecological thinker with a doctorate in Economics from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

He has taught over several years courses on Global and Indian Ecosophy at Ashoka University. He is the author (with Ashish Kothari) of the books Churning the Earth: The Making of Global India (Penguin Viking, New Delhi, 2012), and Prithvi Manthan (Rajkamal Prakashan, New Delhi, 2016).

He is currently at work on a book which brings Rabindranath Tagore’s spiritual and ecological vision into dialogue with the ecological challenges of 21st century modernity. Aseem’s work over the last several years engages with Ecosophy, integrating his ecological concerns with spiritual practices and the embodied knowledge of traditional farmers and artisans, developing through this a philosophy and community of young practitioners who engage with all the possible living wisdoms and their masters.

You can read more about him in this interview from 2020 on his transition from Economics to Ecosophy.

And a longer one here :

The backstory: 

Aseem and I met in a U-Special from Okhla to North Campus Delhi University in 1986.

Aseem was teaching Economics in St. Stephens after his Master’s in Economics in Delhi School of Economics and undergraduate in Hindu College.

I had joined Hindu BA Economics after 2 gap years , as I had spent 3 semesters or one and a half years in IIT Bombay and dropped out, so many school batchmates were my seniors !

Aseem and I turned out to be neighbours a few houses away from each other.

And we started a satsang, a dialogue in truth on everything from economics to spirituality, ecology to technology, modernity to ancient history, on caste and religion, on communism and capitalism, on being born and growing up in business families .

A satsang that carries on without break for 37 years, a Punjabi from a refugee family and a rooted Bihari, both essentially, mostly Delhiwallas,how much they ran from it !

We may have not spoken on a phone or met inbetween for years due to his American and European sojourns, or a strong disagreement, but we never stopped writing to each other.

Aseem is the closest I have met in my life to a seeker-academic whose scholarship and intellectual diligence is directed by an inner spiritual practice.

Most academics and intellectuals are trained and accustomed to thinking only with references and strongly ideologically positioned , extremely few are open to direct experiential wisdom and non-framework thinking as they have committees to report to , funders to satisfy.

Aseem has had the grace of destiny to be able to explore all sides of intellectual life and beyond.

Late last year Akanksha made a candid Zoom conversation of a rich multilayered story from his family history spanning nearly 100 years, mid 1800s to mid 1900s, a time of great transition in global history into a short film.

It’s the family history of a well-known Kayastha family from Bihar.

I would say it’s history of :Chai & Chini , Princely States & Indian Capitalism,World War II & Colonialism,Tehzeeb & Zamindari,Law & Diplomacy,International Trade & Entrepreneurship

With a list of historical characters, who are the who’s who of the Modern Indian freedom struggle.

Chittaranjan Das & Rajendra Prasad Motilal Nehru & Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose.

And once again we at CEK are honoured to have him accept the Advisory role, to travel with us and mentor the young people rediscovering India that is Bharat, bhoomi onwards .



Written by: CEK