Monday, December 20, 2010

Please Be Crazy Enough to Dream This Dream With Me

December 20, 2010

Dear brothers and sisters, just hear the music.

The song is a classic for all those who love justice. It sustained the African Americans for decades as they fought for their minimal right to life, to freedom from lynching, freedom to hold their head high as they walk down the street, freedom to vote. See the lyrics brothers and sisters.

Please remember, in times such as these, we need to be incorrigible optimists. You can feel it in this song. When you hear this song, when you listen to the words, please, I appeal to you, dream the dream that you can change the whole world.

Please remember, the only people who ever did change the world in any sphere were the people crazy enough to think they could. We all need to be that crazy, brothers and sisters. We need never worry what others think of us. We need never bother if others think we are crazy just because we dream dreams. And this is the biggest dream of all, brothers and sisters – the dream to change the whole world.

We have to do it because the present world is unacceptable. It is intolerable. We have one million people in India dying every year due to simple starvation. We have 30 and 40 year old men and women in America, in Chicago, freezing to death at night in the snow, in an empty field all alone, or under a bank of snow next to a closed min-imart. They are the new homeless, and they were abandoned by us, brothers and sisters. When we read these things, we should not tolerate it.

We should take a fierce, a ferocious, determination that we will change all of it. To change the world means to start a revolution on every level, brothers and sisters. Not just a political and military revolution. We also need an economic revolution, a cultural revolution, a moral revolution, and above all a spiritual revolution. To conduct a military revolution without a new standard of morality and without an elevated spirituality means we will fail, brothers and sisters. To build a new world on the ashes of the old means we need to elevate ourselves morally and spiritually to a glorious stature. We need to become so sensitive to human suffering that we do not allow a single person to go hungry anywhere. Hence, we need a multi-faceted revolution. We should not be afraid to start. It is my appeal to you.

Please remember also that we have to do this for humanity. Some good souls, some saintly souls, are not getting sleep at night for feeling the pain of suffering humanity far away in Chile, in Brazil – all over the world. We want everyone to sleep at night, isn’t it, brothers and sisters? We have to make this dream now – for those who suffer and for the saints walking on earth who love the suffering.

Right now as I write this, a young woman is asking me please to take her to buy one blanket for her. And when we go out to feed the people, the women there are also begging us to bring blankets. They are too cold. Some of the old ones and the young ones, they will die in the cold now – just like in Chicago. They are too malnourished to survive. Their names will not come in the newspapers.

Please you listen to the song. Read the words. Then you make the dream. It is the dream of all dreams – the dream to change the whole world. I want to do this. But I don’t know if I will get the chance. Please you help me. Be crazy enough to dream this dream with me, brothers and sisters.

And please help me to feed the hungry in Siliguri, North Bengal. Now they feel very cold. They need blankets also, brothers and sisters.


Garda Ghista
Hearts Healing Hunger

Garda's Blog -
Email - wpaeditor@gmail.comMobile - +91 98510 90212
Skype: garda.ghista

Lyrics to Amazing Grace

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.
T'was Grace that taught my heart to fear.
And Grace, my fears relieved.
How precious did that Grace appear
The hour I first believed.
Through many dangers, toils and snares
I have already come;
'Tis Grace that brought me safe thus far
and Grace will lead me home.
The Lord has promised good to me.
His word my hope secures.
He will my shield and portion be,
As long as life endures.
Yea, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
And mortal life shall cease,
I shall possess within the veil,
A life of joy and peace.
When we've been here ten thousand years
Bright shining as the sun.
We've no less days to sing God's praise
Than when we've first begun.
Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost but now am found,

Was blind, but now I see

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Four Months Later - Feeding the Hungry in India

My dear friends,

I started a blog and wrote to you all April 21st regarding my intention to start feeding people, with the dream to feed one thousand hungry people every day. Four months have passed. We began feeding people on May 27th. We tried to go daily, but the work of cutting vegetables and cooking for 150 people was too exhausting. We reduced to three times weekly. Now we go out either two or three times weekly, depending on availability of funds. For the period July-August we fed three thousand people. But, it is not enough.

We feed the adivasis (tribals) who stay on the tea plantations just outside of Siliguri. Some say that they are the poorest people in Siliguiri, What we learned is that of all the people we’ve fed so far, they are the most noble and dignified. They quietly and seriously come and take the sal leaves filled with rice and vegetables. Sometimes one will tip her head as a way of saying thank you. Then they walk a ways and sit down in circles on the ground and eat their rice together. It is heart-warming to see. They do not know who we are. Still we did not spend money to get a sign or banner to put on our rickshaw identifying ourselves as Hearts Healing Hunger. So for four months we have been going out completely anonymously to feed the hungry. It is a good feeling. I wish even just one of you could come here and experience that good feeling.

We also go to the New Jalpaiguri Train Station to feed the coolies and beggars. The first time they were undisciplined, twice knocking the rice off the spoon and sending it all over the rickshaw, thrusting their bowls right in our faces. Finally we gave up and left. But, I took it as a personal challenge and we returned the next week. First the coolies came, Then the same unruly beggars came. But by a miracle, this time they controlled themselves, standing along the rickshaw and holding their bowls, waiting for the rice. They had huge smiles on their faces. I felt, they knew I wanted to feed them.

Sometimes we go on the back roads to a poor village. The people live in houses made of bamboo mats. I don’t know how they are protected from the heavy monsoon rains. Yesterday we went to such a village. The people were the poorest we’ve seen. The large pots of rice and vegetables were finished in a heartbeat and many did not get food. They told us to return Friday and to bring clothes also. What to do?? The demand is so great here. It pulls hard at the heart to see these people and to try and figure out how to meet their urgent demands at the earliest. What kind of world is this that millions starve while other millions live in plenty? What kind of world is this that the hungry are completely forgotten by the affluent, the middle class, the media and most of all by the politicians? What kind of world is this that due to extreme poverty women have not only gnawing hunger in their bellies but only a thin piece of cloth to cover themselves? And what kind of world is this that we all forget our suffering brothers and sisters and move on with our peaceful, happy lives? This all has to change. We need to change the entire economic structure such that economic power rests with the local people and not with central governments. We need to change the political structure such that compassionate moralists come to power and take care of all local economic deprivations immediately.

Regular soundbites are now telling about the starvation deaths of adivasis in the tea gardens two-three hours north of here, particularly in the Dooars region near the Bhutan border. In the past ten years thousands of adivasis have silently starved to death. Is it not mad to move on with our peaceful happy lives in the very face of thousands of starving and dying human beings that rock India’s moral fabric to the core?

I request you, if you cannot feed these people yourselves, then please help me to feed them. Please send funds. We need additional funds now that will enable us to go north one time weekly to the closed tea gardens to bring the people food and to further study how we can help them. We need funds so that we can increase our feeding trips from two-three times a week to four-five times a week. This is a project that needs immediate, urgent expansion. As I wrote before, while we work to bring humanity from present oppression to future liberation, please let us feed the people. It is the first order of business. It is our bounden duty to feed our hungry brothers and sisters.

You can send funds through the website via Paypal. You can send a check made out to “Hearts Healing Hunger” to Nancy Burgin, PO Box 533, Silver Grover, Kentucky, USA 41085. If in India you can send to the Hearts Healing Hunger bank account at Axis Bank, Account Number 910010027551810, Siliguri, West Bengal. For those sending from outside India please use Swift Code AXIS INB035. Funds can also be sent from outside India directly to Siliguri via Western Union. Please write me for details.

If you feel to send in kind, we need rice and dal urgently. That is, all kinds of dried beans. We also need powdered milk and dessicated coconut, which we put in the rice to increase the food’s nutritional value. We also need oil and spices. These are the very basics. If you have old clothes you no longer need, please send them to us. If you like to buy cloth, we will distribute it for you. Many other useful items are listed on the site in the section “How You Can Help.”

A recent article by Jay Janson states that one million people starve to death annually in India. At the same time the Indian Parliament is discussing a “right to food” bill that would guarantee every needy person 30 kilos of grains per month. It is in discussion stage only. In the meantime, let us all feed the people. And if you are too busy to do so, then I am requesting you, please help me to feed the people. Please send cash in the way easiest for you. Otherwise, please send in kind. The needs are too great. The abundance of food in the US is too great. We need to take some of that abundance and bring it here to India. Just help me to do this work, brothers and sisters. I am waiting to hear from you.


Garda Ghista
Tel-India: 98510 90212
Skype: garda.ghista

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Running Back to India - To Feed the Hungry

Dear friends,

I was in Hyderabad, India, from May through December, 2009. I returned to the US for January through March, and by April 2nd was again back here in Hyderabad.

I spent the last ten years studying - getting a degree in journalism and following that up with an MA in Integrative Studies. I wrote many articles and essays, wrote two books, and organized a national conference. I came to Hyderabad to organize the second conference.

But, something happened along the way. One Sunday morning in September 2009, my son and I decided to cook imli rice (rice made with tamarind pulp and other good things like sesame seeds, peanuts, green chilies, coconut) and take it to a nearby slum and distribute. We cooked for about six hours on one small stove on the floor of our kitchen here in Hyderabad. We never did get a "gas connection" which would have allowed us to get the regular two-burner gas stove used here in India.

We made about 120 rice packets, put them into a bucket and went with the bucket by auto rickshaw to the slum. Getting out of the rickshaw, my son set the bucket on the ground and began to distribute the packets of rice. Within seconds, scores of women's hands were stretched out in front of him. Within another minute, two women had been knocked to the ground in the pushing and shoving to get close to the rice packets. Another minute after that the women grabbed the bucket from my son and helped themselves to the packets, sometimes breaking the packet and sending rice flying in the air.

I cannot put into words what I felt. It was all over in five minutes. I simply could not tolerate witnessing such hunger. It was just right in my face. Within one week I created my new NGO, Hearts Healing Hunger. Feeding 120 people just was woefully inadequate for me. It had to be more. I began dreaming that I must feed one thousand people every single day. This remains my plan.

See, we can write all we want about the politicians, the national leaders, the state leaders, decrying their lack of empathy for the poor and deprived segments of humanity. But in the end, where are we, and more important, what is the status of those poor and deprived except the same? They remain hungry as ever, poor as ever, cold as ever in winter with not even a blanket, wet as ever when monsoon rains come, hot as ever in their tents or mud and tin huts when temperatures reach 40 degrees celsius and beyond. Is it not inhuman to allow any human being to live in these conditions in the 21st century? Something must be done, and waiting for politicians to do something concrete is not the answer.

Despite huge obstacles, and above all no funds to even begin this project, I am simply determined to move ahead. I lie awake at nights wondering how I can find the funds, whether I could also bring some water and soap to wash the person I am feeding, whether I could bring scissors to cut their hair, as these most neglected human beings certainly have no money for a visit to the barber. I lie awake at night wondering if the food I cook will be tasty enough for them, and wonder over and over how only one meal a day will suffice them. I want to find the people who are silently starving and bring them back to the brink of life, and move from there to three meals a day and giving them a life of meaning, of love, of mental peace, and even of some joy. Is it too much to do? Perhaps. Some tell me yes. But.... just let me try. My dearest friend in the world once told me, if you want to do something bad, think many times before doing. But... if you want to do something good, don't hesitate even a second.

I want to start this project in Darjeeling District, Siliguri Subdivision, West Bengal. Actually it is North Bengal near the top of what is called the "chicken neck," a thin stretch of land stretching up from the southern body of land that comprises most of West Bengal. On the east is Bangladesh and Bhutan, to the north is Sikkim and above Sikkim is Tibet, and then on the west is Nepal. Refugees never stop coming into Darjeeling District from these neighbouring states. Most come looking for a way out of acute poverty in their country of origin. Or they come as political refugees from Tibet. Then, already living in Darjeeling District are the original inhabitants of the land, the adivasis. A friend in Siliguri told me that "the adivasis are starving." How can it be? How to accept it? So then, is the work not cut out for us, or at least for me?

The four major problems in Darjeeling District are (1) malaria, (2) tuberculosis, (3) HIV/AIDS and (4) human trafficking. Well, we can work on these problems. But first, it is about simply feeding the people. Isn' this the first call of duty for us all?

I want to start feeding five people on May 27th, 2010. It is just about four weeks from today. It is all I can personally afford right now. The day is Ananda Purnima, the night of the full moon. Perhaps I feel that it is an auspicious day to start. We will have a website up soon. On the website will be a link to this blog. Why? Because I have a need to tell you, to write somewhere, to the world, about this project of feeding the people. I want the world to know what it is like to feed the poorest of the poor, the most neglected, downtrodden, half-naked, starving humanity. Our world is already facing water crisis in many regions. Food shortages will follow close on the heels of water shortages. To face the reality, it means that millions may starve, may perish, due to lack of food and water. Instead of waiting for that day to come, let me, let us together, start to feed the people. It may be only a few, it may be only a hundred, or only a thousand. It doesn't matter. We are not to worry about short or long term costs and benefits. Our job is only to serve the suffering humanity in whichever way we can.

So please, do not mind if I take the liberty to write here on a regular basis about my experiences in feeding the hungry people, just a handful of them, in a remote part of the world called Darjeeling District, North Bengal. I am hoping and believing that more and more of you will join me in this work, this glorious work, of feeding the hungry human beings.

With love,
Garda Ghista
Garda's Blog -
Email -
Mobile - 9989 7538 22