ISKRA Interview with Arun Gandhi

ISKRA Interview with Arun Gandhi

This is the transcript of the interview by Stephanie Swetlishoff Guest Contributor of ISKRA that appeared in their May 2013 printed issue.

arun gandhi ISKRAEd note: The following is a transcript of an interview by ISKRA staff with Arun Gandhi that took place on March 19, 2013. Arun is the grandson of Mohandas (Mahatma)Gandhi and heads the Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence located in Rochester, NY. He has previously made appearances in Brilliant as well as Grand Forks and will be speaking at the Brilliant Cultural Centre on May 17, 2013. We feel fortunate to have the opportunity to interview Arun and ask him several questions provided by our ISKRA staff as well as members of the broader Doukhobor community. It was truly a pleasure to converse with this soft spoken advocate of peace and nonviolence. We were impressed with the simplicity and wisdom contained in the philosophical views that he shared with us. We encourage our readers to reflect on his comments.

ISKRA: A lot of people would like to know from you what it was like growing up as a child, with a grandfather that was always in the press and followed by millions of people?

ARUN: I grew up in South Africa which was very far away from where my grandfather lived and worked in India, so my exposure to him was not so much as it would have been if I was living in India. But I did read a lot about him in local newspapers and also heard my parents and others speak about him, so I was a little daunted by the fact, and you know it’s not easy being a relative of such a great person. And I think that when I was a teenager it became a little more oppressive and I told my mother one day, I said “I don’t’ know how I’m going to go through life with this legacy, it’s already becoming a burden” and she told me “that is all up to you. If you consider it to be a burden it’s just going to get heavier and heavier as you get older, but if you consider this legacy to be a light that illuminates the path ahead for you, it will be easier for you to deal with it.” So since then I’ve been looking at this legacy as a light that is shining the way for me and making it easy.

ISKRA: What was your relationship like with your grandfather when you were spending time with him later?

ARUN: Yes, I went to live with him at the age of 12 and my relationship with him was wonderful. It was like grandfather–grandson and he was a very approachable person, he was very loving and kind. We had wonderful times and he would tell me stories and help me with my lessons and all that whenever he had time. So for me he was like just a grandfather.




  1. Reggie Barker says

    My understanding is that you were between 12 and 14 when you spent time with your grandfather. Did it take you a while to understand the meaning of that and to find a way to accept it as a legacy of light rather than a burden?