Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Newspaper Interview with Anantadev

by Gladwin Emmanuel

He is perhaps the only one in the world to teach the Bhagavad Gita through sign language.
Not that it was a matter of choice for him. Anantadev Das had lost the capacity to hear when he was just a year old.
Going to deaf school first in Mumbai as a nine-year-old, Das, founder of Bangalore-based Sanatana Dharma, an organisation involved in cultural, educational, social and spiritual activities for the deaf, says that he found the answers he was seeking in the Bhagavad Gita, the divine discourse spoken by the Supreme Lord Krishna Himself and the most popular of all the sacred scriptures from ancient India.
It was in school that he first met deaf children wearing hearing aids. He studied the English language, learnt grammar and passed SSC. While some of his friends went to America, he had to stay back, more as an obedient son to his mother than as an option.
In an interview to this website's newspaper, with the help of an interpreter, Das disclosed that before his graduation in History and Philosophy from a university in Mumbai, he was searching for answers to questions like why he became deaf, why people kept fighting each other, hated each other and kept secrets to themselves.
Das then plunged into research, met people belonging to different communities, Hindus, Muslims and Christians alike, and finally after reading the Gita, realised that “the body and not the soul was deaf.”
Happiness dawned on him only thereafter.
As a special leader and social worker for the deaf, Das who was in Coimbatore for the three-day India Deaf Expo last week, had visited the US and given a lecture for deaf children in a university there.
Currently teaching the deaf the meaning of life through sign language in Bangalore, Das said he wanted people with normal hearing capability to involve themselves more in helping the deaf.
Das has also plans to buy some land and construct a temple for Krishna, possibly in Karnataka.
( Taken from The New Indian Express, Chennai - 9th January 2007 )

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