Arun Gandhi "Nonviolent Resistance as a Force for Social Change" Keynote Address Honolulu Hawaii





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Published on Mar 4, 2011

Sponsored by: Spark M. Matsunaga Institute for Peace & Conflict Resolution, The University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu Hawaii http://www.peaceinstitute.hawaii.edu

Gandhi International Institute for Peace http://www.gandhianpeace.com/

We Are One Foundation. http://www.weareonefoundation.com/

Location of Keynote: University of Hawaii Architecture Building
March 3, 2011

Biography of Arun Gandhi:

Born in 1934 in Durban, South Africa, Arun is the fifth grandson of India's legendary leader, Mohandas K. "Mahatma" Gandhi. Arun is an activist and diversity speaker, and founder of the M. K. Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence ( http://gandhiinstitute.org/ ). He was raised in apartheid-era South Africa, and then sent to India when he was 12 to live with his grandfather, where he observed firsthand the profound national campaign for liberation through nonviolent means.

Following his visit to India, Arun went on to lead successful economic and social reforms. He then came to the United States, where he and his late wife Sunanda founded the M. K. Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence. The Institute's goals are to further the study and practice of nonviolence while also providing a unique source of information about Mohandas Gandhi and his work. By continuing his grandfather's legacy, Arun has been able to provide insight into one of history's most influential leaders and has continued to stress the importance of nonviolence across the globe.

For the past five years, Arun Gandhi has participated in the Renaissance Weekend deliberations with President Clinton and other well-respected Rhodes Scholars. He has authored several books, most recently, one he wrote jointly with his late wife, Sunanda, called "The Forgotten Woman: The Untold Story of Kastur, the Wife of Mahatma Gandhi." Arun currently writes a regular blog for The Washington Post.


Excerpt from: Arun Gandhi Reflects on Working Toward Peace

Grandfather liked to tell us the story of an ancient Indian king who was obsessed with finding the meaning of peace. What is peace? How can we get it? And what should we do with it when we find it? These were some of the questions that bothered him. Intellectuals throughout his kingdom were offered a handsome reward to answer the king's questions. Many tried but none succeeded. At last, someone suggested the king consult a sage who lived just outside the borders of his kingdom.

"He is an old man and very wise," the king was told. "If anyone can answer your questions he can."

The king went to the sage and posed the eternal question. Without a word the sage went into his kitchen and brought a grain of wheat to the king. "In this you will find the answer to your question," the sage said as he placed the grain of wheat in the king's outstretched palm.

Puzzled but unwilling to admit his ignorance, the king clutched the grain of wheat and returned to his palace. He locked the precious grain in a tiny gold box and placed the box in his safe. Each morning, upon waking, the king would open the box and look at the grain seeking an answer, but he could find nothing.

Weeks later another sage, passing through, stopped to meet the king, who eagerly invited him to resolve his dilemma.
The king explained how he had asked the eternal question but was given a grain of wheat. "I have been looking for an answer every morning but I find nothing."

"It is quite simple, your honor," said the sage. "Just as this grain represents nourishment for the body, peace represents nourishment for the soul. Now, if you keep this grain locked up in a gold box it will eventually perish without providing nourishment or multiplying. However, if it is allowed to interact with the elements-light, water, air, soil-it will flourish and multiply, and soon you would have a whole field of wheat to nourish not only you but so many others. This is the meaning of peace. It must nourish your soul and the souls of others, and it must multiply by interacting with the elements."

This is the essence of Gandhi's philosophy of nonviolence, or the pursuit of truth. In the lifelong pursuit of truth we must always be guided by love, compassion, understanding, and respect. We must allow everything we have to interact positively with the elements and help create a society of peace and harmony. The more possessions we have, the more we have to secure them from those who covet them. This generates feelings of jealousy and leads the needy to resort to taking by force what they cannot get through love and the compassion of the rich.


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