Finding My Self: A Life in Education and Activism
Chand Kishore Saint
140 x 216 mm
Year of Publishing
Territorial Rights
Orient BlackSwan

Finding My Self: A Life in Education and Activism is an insightful and self-reflective account that spans over seven decades, from the 1940s to the present. Beginning with his experiences as a young man who found his vocation in lands far from home, revered activist and educator Chand Kishore Saint (1932–2022) recounts his life’s work across four continents in these memoirs.

The author migrated to the British colony of Kenya in the aftermath of the 1947 Partition and worked in both Kenya and USA of the 1960s, a time of intellectual fervor and ferment. His memories of student life in the UK, the Indian diaspora in Kenya, and life as an educator in Kenya’s government service (both before and after the country’s independence) provide a personal glimpse into a world that was just emerging from the long shadow of colonialism.

Returning to India in 1972 to keep his tryst with his motherland, Kishore Saint worked in social and rural development, eventually forming the voluntary organisation, Ubeshwar Vikas Mandal in Udaipur. The author describes the ecological movements in Udaipur during the 1980s–90s and his engagement with fellow social workers, Gandhian activists and civil society groups. His efforts to promote self-sustaining, autonomous livelihoods amongst rural and tribal communities in Udaipur district remain deeply relevant.

Kishore Saint’s prescient environmentalism and his insistence on building movements from the ground up will prove instructive for readers working in social development, ecology, and rural welfare. These memoirs will be an inspiring read for anyone who strives to create a more just, ecologically sensitive and equitable future.

Chand Kishore Saint was a renowned educationist, Gandhian activist and environmentalist based in Udaipur, Rajasthan. He founded the voluntary organisation, Ubeshwar Vikas Mandal. He had previously served as Chief Executive Officer, Seva Mandir, and Director, Ashoka Foundation.

Acknowledgements vii
Preface ix

  1. Kenya, 1949–53        1
  2. England, 1953–58        15
  3. Kenya, 1958–61        47
  4. England, 1961–62 / Kenya, 1963–64        61
  5. India, December 1964–February 1965        73
  6. Kenya, 1965–68        82
  7. Kenya, 1967–68        90
  8. USA, 1968–72        97
  9. Return to India, 1972–75        123
  10. Seva Mandir, 1975–83        146
  11. Ubeshwar Vikas Mandal, 1983–2010        162
  12. Ashoka Foundation, India, 1984–89        176
  13. The 1980s and Onward        181
  14. My Tryst with Gandhi        201

Afterword         207

1. Excerpts from Chapter 2 | Published in University of Hull Alumni Association, 20 November 2023.
2. Notice | Published in the Hindustan Times, New Delhi, 28 October 2023.
3. Book Review | Published in the, 17 September 2023.
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