“Yodhya-Acharya” is a term I invented as a little girl in India hearing stories about my ancestry from Thakuma,1 my paternal grandmother. “Yodhya” means warrior in various Indian languages. “Acharya,” which is part of my last name, has several meanings, including one who teaches by their conduct, guided by an internal ethical barometer, and a connection to a higher power. An unfaithful translation of Yodhya-Acharya is Warrior Monk.

Listening to Thakuma’s stories, I’d imagine I had lived incarnated lives as a warrior, a peacekeeper, a teacher, a principled being compelled by an inner sense of righteousness that existed at the core of her spirit. Only much later, once I became an academic, did I ask: What should I do when the moral compass of the context in which I teach and conduct research is horribly bent? How do I unbend such an unyielding compass? Should I even try?


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