TRAVELS TO INDIA
I began hitch-hiking when I was just fourteen,
travelling around Europe and Asia.
Because this was so soon after the Second World War what I experienced and saw has remained with me ever since. Later, as a young student in 1968, I went from London University to New York to continue life & studies in the States.I've recognised the importance of the international perspective ever since.
On this page you’ll find brief introductions to my present work in India, my studies of Imperialism, Globalisation and Development and such like.
Just click the links to see more on each topic.
I've been travelling in India for some years, teaching at Tamil Nadu Theological Seminary, lecturing in Bangalore, Madurai and speaking at an international conference on Urban Globalisation in Chennai (once Madras). But I also go simply because I'm in love with India - its food, its music and especially its people!
Bishop Laurie writes: “When I first visited Chennai I noticed a young child of about four sitting by the road selling peanuts. Her little fingers had carefully rolled up pieces of newspaper into cones and into them she placed her peanuts for sale. If she sold enough peanut cones to passers-by she would have made enough to afford a little rice to eat that day. But there were not many takers. There was no smile in her deep dark eyes, only a gaze fixed on a very distant horizon. The affluence of us westerners is so precious to us that we would find it hard to share even "peanuts" with her. I often wonder if she is still alive.”
“Each time I return to the UK I have gained what feels like a thousand new friends – their beaming faces amidst their desperation remain fixed in my memory.”
GLOBALISATION AND DEVELOPMENT
In 1999, with my friend and colleague Dr Andrew Davey,we established the worldwide Anglican Urban Network to place the whole matter of global urbanisation centre stage for the Anglican Communion - it was recognised that Globalisation and Urbanisation were roommates who could not exist without each other. Andrew and I then journeyed to India once again to present our work in a special seminar at Madurai. Those papers have now been published in India as 'Urban Theology -
I now realise that I was one of the first to write about Globalisation as it impacts the UK of today . In this area I'm perhaps best-known for a little book I called THE IMPACT OF THE GLOBAL – AN URBAN THEOLOGY – in which I introduced my understanding of Globalisation as the interplay of technological, political and economic change. This publication really took off and has since been translated into Japanese, Portuguese, Spanish and Tamil. Its publication took me to India, Texas, Brazil, Stockholm, Massachusetts, Toronto and elsewhere, lecturing and researching the subject further from the perspective of the poor.
The British are an island race and yet their seafaring exploits led to the creation of an international Empire. The British have lived with this dynamic of isolation and connectedness ever since. But this puts us in a privileged place to understand the nature of imperialism, its dangers and its reality. I myself along with others of my generation grew up knowing the British Empire, so I have written on imperialism in church and society, but in addition, because of my own early life in a very poor part of London, I am deeply aware of the imperialism ‘within’ the UK. The poor have always been set upon and exploited in an imperialistic way by their masters – even when they were told they were serving their own nation and their queen (the so-called Empress of India) but in reality they were as much under the thumb of the imperialists as were those overseas in the nations of the Empire. The same might be said of the powerful countries even in our own time, whose imperialistic impact on other nations is replicated by their internal imperialism and exploitation of their poor. I continue my engagement with the Postcolonial Theology Network and I not only write specifically on this topic, but I sincerely hope that this awareness of imperialism is evident in much of my work in other areas, as you’ll see elsewhere on this website.
Refelctions and Praxis'. Later we were joined by Bishop Roger Sainsbury in New York to discuss the work with Under Secretary General Mr Nitin Desai at the United Nations.
More recently my work on these issues has broughtme into much closer relationship with India and it also offered strong links with the Church in Sweden through my work with Bishop Bengt Wadensjo’s Stockholm Institute for Social Analysis. CLICK HERE FOR MORE ON GLOBALISATION & DEVELOPMENT