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This book is a collection of speeches by Ela Bhatt, Founder, SEWA. The speeches selected by the editor, Margie Sastry, focus specifically on the area of Women, Work and Peace, the three keywords of Ela Bhatt’s life work.

Some of the ideas that began early can be traced chronologically in this collection, as the genesis and evolution of Sewa from a simple idea of helping the poor self-employed women to an organization that is now a force to reckon with.

The Hundred Mile Hypothesis which germinated in Ela Bhatt’s fertile mind just a few years ago, has now been tested, tried and appreciated as a viable do-able action plan by many. Others like the Grihini concept have barely been defined but hold a lot of promise. Economy of nurturance, a more recent theme, is an idea whose time has surely come.

For easy reading, there is a short precis of each speech. Renana Jhabvala, who has been an associate, friend and sounding board of Elaben for 35 years, has written the Preface. The introduction by the editor Margie Sastry gives a rare insight into the heart and mind of Ela Bhatt, the gentle revolutionary, who is reluctant to be called a Gandhian but is the present Chairperson of the Sabarmati Gandhi Ashram and Chancellor of Gujarat Vidyapith, steering both the century old institutes started by Mahatma Gandhi, in Ahmedabad. Incidentally, this book is printed at Navjivan Trust, the publishing house founded by Mahatma Gandhi.

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