Arun Gandhi featured on the Good Men Project Part 2

Here is the second part of the interview I gave to Cameron Conaway.

 Man-to-Man with Arun Gandhi Part 2

 On inspiration, interconnectedness and India. Part 2 of our interview with Arun Gandhi.

 You’re considered an inspiration to many but, besides your grandfather, who are your own personal inspirations? To whom do you credit some of the ideals and philosophies you cherish most?

Bapu and Kasturba with childrenOf course my main inspirations have always been my grandparents and parents but they also taught me to always keep an open mind so that I can absorb the nuggets of wisdom that come from the most unexpected sources. They also taught me that life is a learning experience and that learning does not stop when we leave school. If we wish to learn from life it is important to be awake, aware and accepting of lessons that come from all sources. I get inspiration from small children, from the homeless, from people in the streets, from trees, from places I simply can’t pinpoint. Learning in this life is somewhat like digging for diamonds. We must go on digging a lot of dirt and in the midst of that we sometimes find what we want. The more we dig the more we realize that what we want isn’t all there is and may not be what we need. [Read more…]

Arun Gandhi and his Grandfather’s Legacy – Part 1

A recent interview I gave to Cameron Conaway at the Good Men Project.

Man-to-Man with Arun Gandhi, Grandson of Mahatma Gandhi – Part 1

BY CAMERON CONAWAY

Arun Gandhi became his own man despite and thanks to shouldering his grandfather’s legacy.

I dialed Arun’s cell from Skype on my laptop. The first ring reinforced how different the times of today must Arun Gandhibe compared to 67 years ago when he was living in India with his grandfather Mahatma Gandhi. The second ring reinforced the similarities: the wars, the conflicts and the ongoing need for peace. He answered on the third; his voice a bridge.

Arun Gandhi was born in 1934 and is the fifth grandson of Mahatma Gandhi. For over thirty years he worked as a journalist for the Times of India and in recent years he’s had a regular blog for The Washington Post. He is the co-founder of The M.K. Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence and in recent years has become one of the world’s most sought-after speakers on practical peacebuilding and the original teachings of his grandfather. In 2008 he founded the Gandhi Worldwide Education Institute. As noble as his work has been, it hasn’t been without controversy. In 2008 he came under harsh scrutiny and later apologized for a Washington Post article in which he was accused of insinuating that the Jews and Israel are “the biggest players” in a global culture of violence.

Still, Arun is a man who has managed to become his own man, who has experienced his own traumas in childhood and as an adult, who continues to use his grandfather’s teachings and the time they spent together as a personal compass. He now works daily to combat the multifaceted scourge of poverty in India. [Read more…]

“Lessons Learned from my Grandfather: Non-Violence in a Violent World” Arun Gandhi

Arun Gandhi Pacific University Oregon in Forest Grove.   

 

Arun Gandhi – “Lessons Learned from my Grandfather: Non-Violence in a Violent World” from Berglund Center on Vimeo.

 

Arun Gandhi inspires crowded gym at Pacific University with stories, lessons, and hugs 

By Deborah Bloom, The Oregonian 

 

Fracking Away Our Future

Fracking Away Our Future

By Arun Gandhi

          Earlier this month (January 2013), I spent a day with Yoko Ono, her son Sean Lennon and Susan Sarandon inspecting the effects of hydro-fracking on environment, ecology and the natural resources of  Pennsylvania.  I did not need to be a rocket scientist to see the devastation caused to the environment – swaths of forest lands cleared up to erect rigs, sheds and space for monstrous machinery and vehicles, not to speak of the pollution and poisoning of the aqua fir. There were as many as 650 well sites in Susquehanna County and hundreds more to come. To me this was shameless rape of Mother Earth. 

          Arun Gandhi and Yoko OnoIt is our voracious appetite for oil and natural gas at a cheaper price that spurs the industry to exploit the earth’s natural resources, so, not surprisingly, the consumer is a guilty as the producer.  None of us raised a voice when the same industry was exploiting and devastating the environment and resources of other countries to feed the monster in our backyard.  Now that the world has become wise and curtailed the power of the Oil Industry to plunder the  resources in their countries we do not want them to do the same in our backyard with natural gas. Clearly, the choice before us is: Do we stop the monster that is set on ruining the earth for future generations or do we mindlessly sacrifice the future generations. 

           We have been plundering the resources of the world as if they are limitless.  Politicians have been screaming to high heaven about the debt we are leaving behind for our grandchildren to pay back but no mention is ever made that there won’t be an earth left for future generations to live on. 

            [Read more…]

Arun Gandhi Speaks out on Fracking at Albany

Frack Times” Arun Gandhi Speaks out on Fracking at Albany Feb 4th 2013

Mark Ruffalo Introduces Arun Gandhi who Speaks out on Fracking at Albany capital building on the “Million Dollar Staircase”.

Violence in the human heart is multifaceted

.
I learned from my grandfather that violence in the human heart is multifaceted and is often practiced unknowingly.

Ear to the Ground Arun Gandhi

WE Are the Problem …

Source: An Ear to the Ground

Growing violence in the United States and in the world must concern all of us. Little children shooting each other intentionally or accidentally. Little girls becoming mothers when they should be learning to play hopscotch. At thirteen and fourteen young people are becoming drug addicts or drug couriers. By fifteen they are planning their funerals. By eighteen many young people have accomplished more evil than many of us do in eighty years of our lives. Why?

Are young people irresponsible? Are they born evil? The fault is not entirely that of children. We adults have lost sight of our responsibilities. Fifty-one percent of our marriages break up—many are divorced several times. We are more concerned with our careers and our freedom than with love and respect for each other. Sex has become the most important ingredient in marriage and in life. There was a time when marriages were made to raise a family of whom parents would be proud. Parents not only gave birth to children but nurtured them and gave them a foundation on which to build their lives. Children were loved and family life was centered around their needs, their hopes, and their aspirations.

[Read more…]

Join Us On The Gandhi Legacy Tour!

www.gandhitour.info

“The Gandhi Legacy Tour, led by Gandhi’s grandson, Arun Gandhi, and great grandson, Tushar Gandhi, for the past several years is unusual in that it does not focus on places of tourist interest but places of human interest. It is designed to educate …

” … in the essence of Gandhi’s philosophy of nonviolence and how individuals can apply it to bring about socio-economic change. The tour visits rural India and urban slums to see and compare projects helping to make the change we wish to see in the world. Gandhi believed in creating a “Sarvodaya” society — a society where everyone would enjoy a reasonably good standard of living with attendant rights and privileges.

“This can be created by compassionate citizens constructively helping the less fortunate gain the ability to make it good. His final Talisman to the citizens of the world was: Whenever you are in doubt or when the Self becomes too much apply the following test: Recall the face of the poorest and the weakest person you may have seen and ask yourself if the step you contemplate is going to be of any use to the person. Will the person gain anything by it? Will it restore control over her/his life and destiny? In other words, will it lead to Swaraj “Independence of self” for the hungry and the spiritually starving millions? Then you will find your doubts and your Self melt away!

“Join the tour and … 

Become the Change You Wish to See in The World![Read more…]

Why Is Peace Elusive?

Why Is Peace Elusive?

By Arun Gandhi

President: Gandhi Worldwide Education Institute

arun gandhiFor generations human beings around the world worked hard to attain peace but their efforts ended mostly in heart-breaking futility leading to pessimism and worse. There is a wide-spread belief now that peace is unattainable and that civilization is doomed to perish by violence. When peace appears to be won through violence it is very temporary because violence subjugates the opponent. When we seek to control someone through fear of punishment or violence or superior force that control remains only as long as the dominant force is able to exert fear. Since human beings realized in pre-historic times that they could survive in jungles only by using force they developed a whole “culture of violence” that gradually came to dominate every aspect of human life. Our language, our behavior, our relationships, our attitudes, in short almost everything about the human being is now conditioned by the “culture of violence.” Generations have now come to believe that violence is human nature and one just has to live with it. I hope by the time you finish reading this chapter you will be convinced that violence is not human nature.

The question that most people ask is why then is peace so illusive?   Are humans incapable of living in peace?   [Read more…]

New video from a young friend: A Quest for Peace

 

Here is an outstanding film by a teenager I met in San Luis Obispo, CA.  Matthew J. Evans takes a look at one of the most pressing issues in our modern society: violence among religions. Through discussions with myself, and local religious leaders from the Central Coast of California, Matthew learns powerful lessons about nonviolence, acceptance, and cultural understanding. As my grandfather has said, ‘We must become the change we wish to see in our world!’ This film helps us understand how we can make these changes.

Hi Arun! Below is a link to the documentary I made featuring you called “A Quest for Peace: Nonviolence Among Religions”  I think it came out really well, and I can’t wait to hear your feedback. Thanks so much for allowing us to interview you, and give us such amazing material to work with. You did such a great job in the interview, and in your talk later the evening. I am so grateful for the opportunity to meet you.      Thanks again, Matthew

Happy Birthday, Bapu!

 Original Post Source by Arun Gandhi:  Gandhi Day Message

 Bapu and Kasturba

Artist Gary Manson from Gatlinburg, Tennessee

 

Gandhi Day Message

Gandhi was born October 2, 1869 

One hundred and forty-five years ago Mohandas K. Gandhi was born in an innocuous town in Western India and no one imagined he would become an Apostle of peace, love and humanity.  He was killed 66 years ago leaving the world a legacy of goodness, compassion and the way to achieve true civilization. 

Instead the world decided to go in the opposite direction, the direction of materialism and militarism, both antithetical to the concept of civilization.  The result is in 1914 the world was embroiled in the first World War which devastated scores of millions of lives.  Now, coincidentally, in 2014 we are tottering on the brink of World War III? 

Materialism and militarism, the twin evils, have led humanity to a life of crime, violence and wars causing the deaths of more than 300 million people in one century.  Yet, we refuse to learn anything from the dehumanizing and devastating way of life and behave as though we are trapped in a downward spiral and can do nothing about it

After a lecture on Nonviolence In The 21st Century a 17 year old high school student asked me: What do you think your grandfather would have done if he was alive today?  It is a difficult question to speculate on  but I do know grandfather had an immense store of compassion and confidence in the goodness of human beings.  If he was alive today he would have started all over again working to change humanity.  He firmly believed that a society will change only when people change.  Which is why he repeatedly reminded us: WE MUST BECOME THE CHANGE WE WISH TO SEE IN THE WORLD! 

The philosophy of nonviolence that he left as a legacy is not, I repeat NOT, simply a peaceful way of resolving conflicts.  If understood in depth, it is a means of personal transformation.  So, to paraphrase President John F. Kennedy:  Ask not what the world can do for you, ask what you can do for your world!   

 

 

Gandhi Center for Learning, Kohlapur, India

www.gandhiforchildren.org

“If you want to be inspired, see how these beautiful children of India are rising above poverty toward lives of health, joy and contributions to society. Arun Gandhi and his foundation are supporting the building of a school for some amazing kids in Kolhapur, India. If it were not for the efforts of teachers and organizers steeped in Gandhian principles they could easily have fallen victim to endemic hunger, child slavery and child labor. Our thanks to Arun Gandhi, Anuradha Bhosale, Scott Kafora and many others for continuing the compassionate healing work of Mohandas Gandhi.” – Kell Kearns and Cynthia Lukas, Globalized Soul

Ethical Leadership

ETHICAL LEADERSHIP
By Arun Gandhi

Dr. Arun GandhiThere are few among the 20th century leaders who can measure up to the standards set by Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi in the practice of ethical leadership. He not only won independence for India but ultimately brought down the British Empire without firing a bullet, which in itself was a remarkable achievement that could only be done with ethics, morals and a transparent sincerity in leadership. Through his example he gave the world an alternative to violent conflict resolution – a comprehensive philosophy of nonviolence – the practice of which requires high moral standards.

The answer to the often asked questions how and why he succeeded in his nonviolent campaign lies in understanding his philosophy of nonviolence. It will be my humble attempt in this chapter to share with you my interpretation of his philosophy and to connect nonviolence [or what Gandhi preferred to call Satyagraha, the Pursuit of Truth] with ethical leadership. [Read more…]

Reflections: Working Toward Peace

Reflections: Working Toward Peace By Arun Gandhi The greatest challenge in promoting nonviolence is the English language and its limitations. The next is our perception, rooted for centuries, that violence is the only way we can resolve our problems.

Arun Gandhi and Yasser Arafat

When my grandfather Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi developed his philosophy of nonviolence in South Africa and wanted an appropriate word to describe it, he could not find one. He rejected “passive resistance” and “civil disobedience,” saying there was nothing passive or disobedient about the movement. He even offered a reward to anyone who could come up with a positive English word to describe what he had in mind. Alas, no one could.

Gandhi decided a Sanskrit word might be more appropriate, as he was planning to move back to India and lead the Indian struggle for freedom. He found satyagraha, a combination of two Sanskrit words, described his philosophy the best: satya, meaning “truth,” and agraha, meaning “the pursuit of.” Thus, satyagraha means the pursuit of truth, the opposite of the Western concept of possessing the truth.   [Read more…]

My Two Cents on the Aurora Batman Violence by Arun Gandhi

arun gandhi aurora batman violence Aurora Batman Violence: My heart goes out today to the people of Aurora who have suffered this immense and mindless tragedy. To those who have lost their loved ones and to those who escaped with injuries this incident will never make any sense.
The question WHY? will always haunt them. Already the nation is screaming for more protection, more security. And, yes, the Government has already set the security apparatus in motion and we will gladly surrender more of our freedom so that we can feel safe or, at least, enjoy the illusion of safety.

As much as this is the time for sympathy and healing for those who suffered this tragedy it is also a time for national soul-searching. It is easy to isolate this incident as an evil act of a madman and tighten security and move on with life. We have done this over and over again but the scourge of violence refuses to disappear. Why will it, when we find so much joy in violence that we will suffer any inconvenience to see one set of madmen brutalize and destroy another set of madmen?

[Read more…]

The Relevance of Gandhi Today

The Relevance of Gandhi Today

By Arun Gandhi

MK Gandhi SpinningSixty years after his death a portion of Gandhiji’s ashes, stashed away by Madalsa and Shriman Narayan, the daughter and son-in-law of Jamnalal Bajaj, will be immersed at Chowpati Beach in Mumbai. Although I will be thousands of miles away in the United States the memories of sixty years ago will be refreshed and the day will be as poignant as January 30, 1948.   In 1969 when the world celebrated Gandhiji’s 100th birth anniversary many of  us who had lived in Sewagram Ashram, Wardha, with Gandhiji were invited for a reunion.

The person who organized this event was Shriman Narayanji who was then the Governor of Gujarat. He shared with us a story of his experience with Gandhiji which emphasizes an aspect of Gandhiji’s philosophy that is all but forgotten today.   Sometime in the early 1930’s when Shrimanji received his doctorate from the  London School of Economics he returned to India full of enthusiasm to change  and rebuild the economy of India according to western standards. When he  told his parents how impatient he was to begin work his father said: “You  cannot begin to do anything until you receive Gandhiji’s blessings. So, if you are in a hurry to begin working you had better go as quickly as possible to Sewagram Ashram and get Bapu’s blessings.”

[Read more…]

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. [Read more…]

Mother Teresa Honoring Bapu

Mother Terasa honoring Bapu

LEADERSHIP – The Gandhi Way

LEADERSHIP – The Gandhi Way

By Arun Gandhi

Arun Gandhi Leadership in modern times is defined in many different ways but the common factor in each of the definitions is that a good leader must be aggressive, demanding, uncompromising and challenging. There is seldom any talk of a leader having morals and values and humility. The true story I am about to share is different and gives a very unique spin on what a good leader should be like.

The Late Shriman Narayan was a very prominent Congress Party leader in the last century and also served as the Governor of Gujarat in the late sixties and early nineteen seventies. He shared this experience with a private gathering during the Gandhi Birth Centenary Celebrations in October, 1969. Shrimanji was born into a wealthy Indian family and had the rare opportunity in those days to study for a doctorate in the London School of Economics. When he graduated he was understandably proud of his achievement. On his journey back home he spent long days on the steam ship dreaming about the profound economic changes he would make in India.

He could barely contain his enthusiasm when he got home. At the first opportunity he told his father: “Give me your blessings so I can put into action all that I learned in England.” [Read more…]

GEMS IN THE GARBAGE

GEMS IN THE GARBAGE

By Arun Gandhi

Between 1975 and 1983 my late wife, Sunanda, and I rescued and rehabilitated 123 abandoned new-born babies found on garbage dumps around Mumbai, an Indian megalopolis. Tragically, this is an on-going phenomenon and even today babies are found abandoned on the streets by unwed mothers or her relatives. Why they choose to abandon these babies on garbage heaps is a conundrum I have not been able to resolve. Perhaps, they think the result of an illegitimate relationship is not just an embarrassment but garbage that must be disposed off.

Whatever, this is the story of one, scrawny, little baby girl out of the 123, who was later named Sonali, was days old, malnourished, wrapped in a piece of white cotton cloth and left besides a garbage dump in Byculla, a suburb of Mumbai. After rescuing so many finding Sonali no longer shocked me. I called the police and together we took her to the Government Remand Home nearby where the doctor was skeptical about her chances of survival. But, Sonali was a fighter. Within weeks she recovered and reached her normal baby weight.

While Sonali was recouping at the Remand Home, we received through a friend a request for a baby from a couple who live in Paris, France. We were a bit skeptical for several reasons: first, the couple was unable to communicate because they knew not a word of English; second, we had decided to keep in touch with the families. However, because of the mutual friend we relented and decided to send Sonali to France after all the legal formalities were done and the Mumbai High Court approved the adoption. [Read more…]

God Without Religion

Foreword

God Without Religion

By Arun Gandhi

Arun Gandhi in New Dehli

The question — What is God? — has baffled mankind for eons and will continue to defy logical understanding as long as we live with the concept that there is Heaven up above and that God sits there judging all of humanity and punishing those who misbehave.. Eminent people throughout the history of mankind have tried to find a logical answer to this vexing question with little success. His Holiness Gautama, The Buddha, one among many, did tapasya under a banyan tree for years and ultimately found that God exists within every human heart in the form of love, compassion, understanding and all positive attributes that human kind is capable of but often chooses to suppress. I think instead of trying to put an image to our concept of God we ought to devote greater energy to understanding the meaning of God.

 

This book God Without Religion: Questioning Centuries of Accepted Truths, by Sankara Saranam is the result of many years of study of different scriptures in a refreshing attempt to provide humankind with a modernized, up-dated spiritual road map to use in our eternal quest to understand God.  Since the identity of God is so inscrutable (may even be considered the best kept secret in the world) and the philosophy surrounding this Power so impenetrable religious leaders of different religions have defined God in ways that raise more questions than they answer. The easiest and the most accepted explanation is to see God in the shape of those we consider to be God’s messengers – among Christians Jesus; among Muslims Mohammed; among Hindus Krishna and among Buddhists Gautama. [Read more…]

Nonviolence in Palestine

Nonviolence in Palestine
By Arun Gandhi

Arun Gandhi - Yasser ArafatNo one would dare go to a battlefield without proper training, equipment and plan of action. Yet, when it comes to nonviolent action it is widely presumed that anyone can simply walk into a struggle without any training, equipment or plan of action. It is also assumed that so long as one does not wield a gun, or resort to physical fighting that one is nonviolent. Nothing is further from the truth.

Most people around the world, including many in Palestine, feel that Gandhi succeeded in India because the British were kind and compassionate, implying that against Hitler or Israel he would have been killed even before he started his campaign. This could, perhaps, be true but only in situations of crisis management. Unfortunately, in the culture of violence we only take note of a situation when it becomes a crisis and urgent action becomes necessary. The power of nonviolence as practiced by Gandhi lies in its capacity to function both proactively and reactively. Gandhi would have done against Hitler what he did against the British – first build a relationship based on respect, understanding, acceptance and appreciation – making it difficult for the opponent to take ruthless action.

Because nonviolence is practiced without proper understanding administrations all around the world, determined to preserve the culture of violence, have decided to take ruthless action to quash a movement. When Gandhi said: “No one can oppress us more than we oppress ourselves” he was talking about the fear that inhibits us from taking bold and sensible
action. [Read more…]

Palestine and Nonviolence by Arun Gandhi

                                                  Palestine and Nonviolence

                                                            By Arun Gandhigandhi-21-e1306570250124-300x300

Since it is important that we look at nonviolence from all the different perspectives this paper may appear to be dealing with issues that are not directly relevant to the question of Palestinian peace. For this I apologize at the outset with a humble request to give me a little latitude so that I can tie up all the seemingly different issues in a cogent manner. When my grandfather Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (better known as Mahatma Gandhi) proposed nonviolence as the method for India’s struggle for independence from British dominance, it was not only for moral reasons. It was also for practical reasons. In 1857 India witnessed a violent revolution that swept over much of northern India but was quickly crushed by the superior weapons and training of the British army. The status of Indians had not changed since then and Gandhi realized that Indians still had virtually no military training and absolutely no means to acquire new and sophisticated weapons to match the power of the British. Thus, a violent revolution was considered suicidal. Besides, violence not only demands the sacrifice of human life but, in the long run, violence destroys human values and human dignity. Even where violence may appear to have resolved a conflict the solution usually is either temporary or exacts a very heavy cost. Often violence creates more problems than it solves. [Read more…]

Terrorism and Nonviolence

Terrorism and Nonviolence 

By Arun Gandhi

MK Gandhi SpinningUnderstandably, after the tragedy in New York and Washington DC on September 11 many have written or called the office to find out what would be an appropriate nonviolent response to such an unbelievably inhuman act of violence.

First, we must understand that nonviolence is not a strategy that we can use in times of peace and discard in a moment of crisis. Nonviolence is about personal attitudes, about becoming the change we wish to see in the world.
Because, a nation’s collective attitude is based on the attitude of the individual. Nonviolence is about building positive relationships with all human beings – relationships that are based on love, compassion, respect, understanding and appreciation.

Nonviolence is also about not judging people as we perceive them to be – that is, a murderer is not born a murderer; a terrorist is not born a terrorist. People become murderers, robbers and terrorists because of circumstances and experiences in life. Killing or confining murders, robbers, terrorists, or the like is not going to rid this world of them. For every one we kill or confine we create another hundred to take their place. What we need to do is dispassionately analyze both the circumstances that create such monsters and how we can help eliminate those circumstances. Focusing our efforts on the monsters, rather than what creates the monsters, will not solve the problems of violence. Justice should mean reformation and not revenge.

[Read more…]

Biography

Keynote speaker at the Martin Lurther King Memorial Unveiling