A message from Arun Gandhi, Grandson of ‘Mahatma’ Gandhi on the occasion of ‘Gandhi Day’ - The United Nations International Day of Nonviolence - October 2nd 2013
I have been encouraged by many, to continue writing an annual message on the day of Grandfather’s birthday, October 2nd (1896 - 1948). This date is also now know as the United Nations International Day of Nonviolence which was designated as such by the U.N. acknowledging ‘Mahatma’ Gandhi each year.
Bapu, we still love you!
I received an email a few days ago from an Indian friend who lived for many years in Britain and San Diego and recently decided to return to India to take back home the Gandhi legacy "Become the change you wish to see in the world."
Like thousands before him he is disillusioned. He has not been able to find Gandhi in the new India. Of course, Gandhi's image adorns all the currency notes, there are statues in town squares, and every town and city has a "Mahatma Gandhi Road." Lip service is paid to Gandhiji's memory on his birthday and the anniversary of his death.
But, thankfully, Gandhi is not forgotten by everyone. He still lives and influences people in small towns and villages of India where the ordinary people are quietly bringing about a change that Gandhi talked about. Hardcore, Khadi-wearing "Gandhi'ans" will not recognize these individuals as followers of Gandhi's traditions. But Gandhi was not about wearing Khadi and dogmatically using Gandhi's writings as the blueprint for change. Gandhi encouraged people to use their wisdom and imagination to do what is necessary to bring about a change. Gandhi wanted his writings to be burnt on his pyre because he did not wish to leave behind a dogma.
Fifteen years ago I went in search of Gandhi's soul and I knew I would not find it in the modern westernized, materialistic cities of India so I travelled through the villages and found hundreds of interesting organizations quietly changing society one person at a time.
I decided to share my findings with people who were interested in a Gandhi Legacy Tour in December/January each year. Over the years hundreds have come and were impressed by the amazing sacrifices that young people have made to help the poor and the destitute.
Perhaps, .. that is .. as it should be .. because Gandhi always believed true India existed in its 600,000 villages, not in the cities! Bapu will always be there wiping the tears and tending the wounds of the forgotten humanity dismissed by urban gentry as the "dregs of society."
United Nations International Day of Nonviolence 2012
On the occasion of the 143rd birthday of Mahatma Gandhi this 2nd October
which is the United Nations Day of Nonviolence marking Mahatma Gandhi’s birthday.
Message from Arun Gandhi:
On the 143rd birth anniversary of my grandfather I am reminded of a poignant statement he made to a journalist who asked: What do you think will happen with your philosophy after you die? With sadness in his voice he said: "The people will follow me in life, worship me in death but not make my cause their cause." How right he was!
We have either rejected the philosophy of nonviolence as impractical or we have reduced it to a weapon of convenience and misused it. The philosophy is about personal transformation changing greed, anger, frustration and other negative attitudes into love, respect, compassion, understanding and acceptance. We have the capacity to act either way but we chose to suppress the positive and display the negative in order to project ourselves as powerful. What we forget is that the greatest power in the world is LOVE. It is also the basis of all civilization. We are materially wealthy, but morally bankrupt. Can we Become the Change We Wish To See In The World?
U.N. International Day of Nonviolence 2011
GANDHI DAY MESSAGE from Arun Gandhi, Grandson of Mahatma Gandhi
Way back before the 1942 Quit India movement in India that got Gandhi arrested and imprisoned some women from a Women's Center in Wardha, near Sevagram Ashram, in Central India, requested permission to come to the Ashram on October 2 to celebrate Gandhi's birthday in his presence. Typically, Gandhi wrote back and said: ‘There will be no celebration but you may come here and perform service of the poor and the destitute and don't forget to bring your own food because I cannot afford to feed you.’
It was not that Gandhi was inconsiderate or a penny-pincher but he used every occasion to instil in people the idea of change. We have become victims of tradition and materialism so that we look for opportunities to party and have a good time all of which means spending money on unnecessary things. Gandhi was always concerned about those less fortunate who, because of circumstances, are forced to live in poverty and destitution and tried to teach people the value of compassion.
On this day I am reminded of Grandfather’s TALISMAN: "Whenever you are in doubt or the self becomes too much with you, apply the following test: "Recall the face of the poorest and the weakest person whom you may have seen and ask yourself if the step you contemplate is going to be of any use to that person. Will that person gain anything by it? Will it restore the person control over his/her own life and destiny? In other words, will it lead to Swaraj (self-rule) for the hungry and spiritually starving millions? "Then you will find your doubts and yourself melting away."
International Day of Peace Message from Arun Gandhi
I believe we must now move beyond symbolism to doing something constructive and meaningful if we really want to build peace in the world. Peace is not the absence of war or violence. Peace means replacing the present culture of violence with a culture of nonviolence. It means understanding what nonviolence is: briefly, nonviolence is allowing compassion, love, respect, understanding and appreciation to guide human behaviour; it means building better relationships between individuals and nations that are not based on greed and self-interest but on love and understanding.
Most of all we need to understand that the security and stability of any nation in the world is dependent on the security and stability of the whole world. No nation can live in isolation nor be the most powerful in the world. Peace can flourish only when compassion and humility guide humankind in every aspect of human life. If we are not willing to make this qualitative change in our lives then we can go on celebrating one day of peace and 364 days of violence and war.
Launch of Gandhi Worldwide Education Institute
Arun and his late wife, Sunanda, spent almost 30 years in India working with friends to help the oppressed and abandoned children using Gandhi's philosophy of SARVODAYA -- the Welfare of All Citizens. They rescued and found homes for almost 130 abandoned children and developed several economic programs that successfully changed the lives of several thousands of impoverished people.
The new Gandhi Worldwide Education Institute was launched in May 2008 in the United States by Arun Gandhi, grandson of M.K. Gandhi, to promote community building in economically depressed areas of the world through the joining of Gandhian philosophy and vocational education for children and their parents.
for more information see: http://www.gandhiforchildren.org/home.html
Recent statement from Arun Gandhi on the Vision for Gandhi Institute
What broke Gandhi’s heart was that India declined to address the massive problem of poverty at the time of independence in 1947. The argument was that with industrial growth, wealth will percolate and poverty will be eliminated. ...more