Living Nonviolence: Arun Gandhi

Chapter 2

Living Nonviolence

 Arun Gandhi

Arun Gandhi Raj Gaht New Delhi photo by Lynnea BylundArun Gandhi, grandson of the late Indian spiritual and political leader Mahatma Gandhi, is among the most respected and influential figures in the international peace movement. He was born in South Africa where he was subject to the daily injustices of apartheid and yet raised in a family that taught him that justice does not mean revenge but rather transforming the other through love. Arun is the founder of  M.K. Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence and the author of five books including World Without Violence and Testament to Truth.

Arun Gandhi was destined to a life of activism, especially in the promotion of peace through nonviolence. His father, Manilal, was a major figure in the protest of apartheid in South Africa, eventually spending about 14 years in prison for his efforts. Manilal was the second son of Mahatma Gandhi, perhaps the most revered figure in the history of promoting peace on this planet.

When South Africa became too dangerous for the young boy, 12 year old Arun was sent to India to live with his grandfather until Mahatma’s assassination in 1948. Among Arun’s most prominent memories of his time during apartheid were of the constant discrimination and oppression he experienced because of his dark skin. He had become an angry and bitter youth, resentful of the ways he and his people were treated, and yet mistrustful of the overtures by his grandfather to reach out to him. Although Arun being the founder of M. K. Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence, a center dedicated to the promotion of peace and an understanding of nonviolence throughout the world, his transformation from anger and resentment to a life devoted to the practice of nonviolence was not an easy one. The foundations of his spiritual transformation were laid during the two-year period of his life that he lived with his grandfather. It was a time of great danger and turmoil, the birth of India as a nation. Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated for his efforts as a leader of nonviolent political activism; his grandson has kept Mahatma’s principles alive through his own efforts as a scholar, teacher, journalist, and spokesperson for world peace. Arun has patterned his life after the model set by his grandfather.

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