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AnnPearson ('74) Book Cover

Ann Pearson Class of 1974

2005

Namaste!

I was at AIS in New Delhi from 1969-1972; my father was posted with the Canadian High Commission. My stay in India was to have a huge impact on me as, after finishing high school in Canada (and a year off traveling in Europe, working in Ottawa) I studied religion in university, focusing on Indian religions. I took another year off school and went back to India for 10 months, mostly traveling around the whole country but basing myself in Pune.

I decided to go on for an MA degree and later, a PhD in religious studies, specializing in Hindu religious history (from McMaster University). During doctoral studies I returned to India again for 15 months, living mostly in Banares, getting my Hindi proficiency up, translating Sanskrit texts and interviewing women about their religious fasts (and studying kathak dance on the side!). My doctoral dissertation was rewritten into a book, published in 1996 by State University of New York Press (called: 'Because It Gives Me Peace Of Mind'--Ritual Fasts in the Religious Lives of Hindu Women).

Meanwhile, I married a McMaster professor of philosophy, named Mark, and pretty soon had 3 children -- my eldest is 16, the other two are 15 year-old twins, all girls. I started teaching at McMaster and other universities in southern Ontario on a part time basis and continue to do so...now also moving into the field of religion and non-violence.

After a long hiatus, I returned to India 3 years ago, and again this year (2005), having become involved in a Gandhian inspired rural Indian women's peace and development movement called the Mahila Shanti Sena (Google that and you'll see some info on it), based in Bihar. I see myself returning to Bharat Mata many times in the future. I also volunteer in many areas, as a community mediator, as the chair of the Hamilton Interfaith Group, and with anti-racism projects. I'm also quite involved in my own religious community, the Baha'is. It was quite the nostalgia trip to go to the 2005 Reunion this year... wish more of the Class of 1974 was there -- but class secretary, Mary Flanagan Novak will draw us all together, no doubt!! (Thanks for your efforts, Mary!)

Ann Pearson

 


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