Vinoba in 1960, soon after taking her Master of Social Work degree.
As his companion, she took notes of his speeches and conversations,
and acted as his representative in dealings with the Press. When
Vinoba started the Hindi monthly magazine Maitri in 1964, she
became its editor, a position she held for about 40 years. She is a
member of the Brahmavidya Mandir, the ashram founded by
Vinoba at Paunar. The material translated into English for this book
was originally published as a special edition of Maitri in
MARJORIE SYKES spent the greater part of her life in India, and
became an Indian citizen in 1950 when this became constitutionally
possible. Having graduated with First Class Honours from Cambridge
University, she first went to India at the end of 1928 to teach at a
girls’ school in Madras. Ten years later she moved to Bengal to work
with Rabindranath Tagore at his innovative university at
Shantiniketan. Already fluent in Tamil, she learned Bengali, and at
Tagore’s request translated some of his works into English.
After Indian Independence was achieved she was free to accept
Gandhi’s invitation, given two years earlier, to help with his Basic
Education programme at Sevagram. In 1957 Vinoba invited her to
convene the first all-India Shanti Sena (Peace Army) Committee,
which he wished to be led by women. She later went to the U.S. and
Canada as a consultant to the non-violent Civil Rights movement, and
from 1964-67 was a member of the Peacekeeping team monitoring the
ceasefire between the Indian Government and the Nagaland
Independence fighters. She died at the age of 90 in 1995.
Her published work includes biographies of Rabindranath Tagore and
C.F. Andrews, translations of Vinoba’s Thoughts on Education
and other works, and (in collaboration with Jehangir Patel) a book
of personal reminiscences of Gandhi, Gandhi: his gift of the
fight. A biography, Marjorie Sykes: Quaker Gandhian by
Martha Dart, was published in 1993.