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Meaning in South Africa

Source of original post by Arun Gandhi: Gandhi Legacy Tour 

Searching for Meaning in South Africa

The first Satyagraha Tour of South Africa was, perhaps, wrongly billed. It was not so much a “pursuit of Truth” as it sa flagwas a search for meaning and purpose in life. For instance, how was it that from this boiling cauldron of hate and prejudice two historic icons – Mohandas K. Gandhi and Nelson “Madiba” Mandela – emerged to show the world the path of nonviolence and forgiveness, while many millions silently suffer the ignominy. Ultimately, of course, what one gets out of a trip depends on ones reason for making the journey. A tourist will just see the sights while a searcher with an open mind and eyes will learn and grow.

The trip reminded me of the prophetic words uttered by Gandhi weeks before his assassination in response to a journalist who asked: What will happen to your legacy after your death? Gandhi replied: “They (the people of India) will follow me in life, worship me in death but not make my cause their cause.” The universality of this poignant statement cannot be ignored. Any one of the hundreds of prophets who are worshiped today could have uttered these words.

There is no escaping the fact that both Gandhi and Mandela were regular people like you and me but at a crucial point in life they decided there has to be a different way to counter hate, prejudice, and violence. Some may say it was far too ambitious to claim that in one short visit we could find the answers to this important question. Yet it is also true that Truth can reveal itself in a flash of a moment, if one’s mind is open and receptive.

One reality that emerged for me during this trip was that it is a rare individual who, when faced with adversity, has the courage to make a bold decision even if the consequences of that decision can be life threatening.

Spioenkop BattlefieldIf I am to pick the highlight of the tour it would be the visit to Spioenkop, the battlefield where the Boers (Afrikaner of Dutch descent) and the British fought the famous Boer War that lasted a little over three years. Greg Garson, our intrepid tour guide was also a remarkable historian. He brought the battle to life while standing on the crest of a mountain and looking over the field that undulated like a tumultuous sea. I could feel the bullets whizzing by and the canons booming. Although I had read about the yeoman service rendered by the Indian volunteers led by Grandfather I had no idea how difficult their task was.

Walking up to the crest of the mountain where the memorial to the war dead is erected was literally exhausting. To think that a four-man crew of stretcher-bearers carried hundreds of injured up and down these mountains for almost 20 miles each trip to the nearest field hospital was mind-blowing. They had to dodge bullets and canon fire.

Arun walking up hill at Spioenkop

[Read more…]

First Satyagraha Tour of South Africa
Led by Arun Gandhi, Embarks This Week

News Announcement Originally Posted at Gandhi Legacy Tour  

(PRLEAP.COM) Dana Point, CA May 25, 2014: The inaugural Satyagraha Tour of South Africa enjoys organic synchronicity of critical historical dates of both Mohandas Gandhi and Nelson Mandela.  Highlights include following the path of Gandhi’s travels, initially arriving in Durban, and ultimately departing from Cape Town for his return to India to begin the next phase of his legacy:

 Gandhi first arrived in South Africa as a fledgling lawyer in May 1893.

Our arrival to Gandhi’s first ashram, the Phoenix Settlement, occurs on the 97th anniversary of Gandhi’s family move there.

We will board the sleeper train on the 121st anniversary of Gandhi’s removal from that train, which changed the course of history.

We visit Robben Island, the prison that held Mandela for 18 years, on the 50th anniversary of Mandela’s life sentence for sabotage against the Apartheid government of South Africa.

We depart Cape Town on the eve of Gandhi’s 100th anniversary of his very own departure from Cape Town back to India.

Also scheduled are special meetings with historic figures that played a significant role in the fight for freedom during Apartheid, like Ahmed Kathrada and Ela Gandhi, Gandhi’s granddaughter who spent years under house arrest for her South African activism.

In an era of increasing awareness of world issues and global humanitarian needs, there has been a recent surge in philanthropic travel, using travel as a means to give back. “There’s something in all of us that hungers after the good and true, and when we glimpse it in people, we applaud them for it. Through them we let the world’s pain into our hearts, and we find compassion. When things go wrong or have been terribly wrong for some time, their inspiration reminds us of the tenderness for life that we can all feel.”Archbishop Desmond Tutu

As a part of the first Satyagraha Legacy Tour of South Africa, there are several projects we visit that are aligned to Gandhi’s principals and are geared toward giving back, including: [Read more…]

Enough!

Originally Posted: When is Enough, Enough?

 Enough!


http://www.jcckc.org/The senseless shooting at the Jewish Center in Kansas City yesterday, and the loss of three innocent lives, must not be brushed aside as yet another hate-monger gone mad. Hate is a sickness that is stoked by a society that continuously divides people by religion, nationality, economics, social standings, gender, philosophy, orientation, and every other means we can keep people apart. It is time we wake up to find a cure for this malady rather than brush such incidents under the carpet.

The victims of this horrible crime deserve the sympathy of every human who believes in a civilized society. Both Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. said Hate can only be overcome with love, not punishment. Remembering all the evil events of history only feeds evil, it does not eliminate it. The salvation for this world lies only in accepting everyone as equal and human and not define people by the labels that divide and keep people apart. –Arun Gandhi

  [Read more…]

Gandhi South Africa May 2014:
Tour Announces Additional Guest Stops

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
 
Gandhi Satyagraha Tour of South Africa Announces Additional Guest Stops Including Ahmed “Kathy” Kathrada.  Now in its 15th year, led by 5th grandson, Dr. Arun Gandhi.
 

Dana Point, CA (February 21, 2014) Gandhi Legacy Tours announced today that it has confirmed additional special guests to its upcoming first-ever Gandhi-Mandela ‘Satyagraha’ tour of South Africa, led by Arun and Tushar Gandhi, grandson and great grandson of the Mahatma Gandhi.

“The real practice of nonviolence is pivotal if we are to save this world and ourselves from destruction,” Dr. Gandhi said, “and South Africa, as the birthplace of Satyagraha, is a unique resource, and example of the role of nonviolence in bringing about change and peace,” adding that the May 2014 South Africa tour will include meetings with leading South Africans who embody Gandhian principles.  The full current itinerary and optional excursions are found here: Gandhi Satyagraha South Africa Tour May 2014.

Deadline for reservation signup is Feb 28th. Among the featured-guest talks scheduled, tour participants will hear and have a chance to interact with –

Photo by Remy Steinegger

Photo by Remy Steinegger

Nkosinathi Biko, founder of the Steve Biko Centre and son of legendary black-consciousness activist Steve Biko (confirmed)

Ahmed Kathrada, former anti-apartheid activist and Robben Island political prisoner with Nelson Mandela (confirmed)

Desmond Tutu, Nobel Peace Prize recipient, social rights activist and former Anglican Bishop (invited)

Ela Gandhi, peace and anti-apartheid activist, former South Africa parliamentarian and Gandhi granddaughter. (confirmed)

Participants will also tour the site of the proposed Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital, courtesy of former first lady Graca Machel. (confirmed)

There is also an optional pre-tour excursion to the World Heritage Cradle of Humankind site.

South Africa is a first for the Gandhi Legacy Tours enterprise, which Dr. Gandhi, a noted peace and human rights activist, began with his late wife, Sunanda Gandhi, 15 years ago as an annual Gandhian pilgrimage to key places in India where Gandhi developed and enacted his philosophy and practice of nonviolent activism that changed the course of world history. [Read more…]

Happy Publication Day!!

Thank you all, for working together, to help create this special publication gift of Grandfather Gandhi.  May we all Live as Light.  Love, Arun

Happy Publication Day!!

Through the team effort of all, but mostly the illustration and animation of the brilliant Evan Turk, we have a gorgeous book trailer!

On Vimeo

On YouTube

Arun and Bethany, it has been a long journey to this day. Thanks for bringing us all on that journey one by one.

Many Thanks & Read Well,

Kirsten Cappy
Curious City: Where Kids & Books Meet
8A Merrill Street
Portland, ME 04101
kirsten(at)curiouscity(dot)net 
http://www.curiouscity.net 

 

 

Published on Mar 11, 2014
http://grandfathergandhi.com 
Grandfather Gandhi (A Picture Book for All Ages)
By Arun Gandhi, Bethany Hegedus, Illustrated by Evan Turk
Published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers

Mahatma Gandhi’s grandson tells the story of how his grandfather taught him to turn darkness into light in this uniquely personal and vibrantly illustrated tale that carries a message of peace.

How could he—a Gandhi—be so easy to anger?

One thick, hot day, Arun Gandhi travels with his family to Grandfather Gandhi’s village.
Silence fills the air—but peace feels far away for young Arun. When an older boy pushes him on the soccer field, his anger fills him in a way that surely a true Gandhi could never imagine. Can Arun ever live up to the Mahatma? Will he ever make his grandfather proud?

In this remarkable personal story, Arun Gandhi, with Bethany Hegedus, weaves a stunning portrait of the extraordinary man who taught him to live his life as light. Evan Turk brings the text to breathtaking life with his unique three-dimensional collage paintings.

 

Finding Your Own Inner Strength!

Grandfather Gandhi Illustration © Evan Turk

Grandfather Gandhi Illustration © Evan Turk

Finding Your Own Inner Strength!

Not all my life lessons came directly from my Grandfather Gandhi.  There were some that came through my parents, Manilal and Sushila Gandhi.  Manilal was the second of grandfather’s four sons and the only one who devoted his life wholly to promoting and practicing his father’s philosophy of nonviolence in his personal and public life.

When I left Grandfather Gandhi in 1947 to return with my parents to South Africa, grandfather’s parting words were that I must always endeavor to become a better human being.  My parents built on this slender advice to show me how this should be done as a daily practice.  Every morning upon opening my eyes I had to thank God for another wonderful day, for a wonderful family and friends and a wonderful world.  I had to seek Divine wisdom to help me become better and stronger human being and then work diligently towards achieving this goal. 

It requires the humility to accept that one is an imperfect human being and instead of living with these imperfections one must make a constant effort throughout one’s life to become better by changing the imperfections, one small step at a time, to perfections.  My parents dissuaded me from seeking role models in society.  Each individual is different with vastly different abilities.  Trying to model oneself on what someone else has achieved even parents and grandparents, means you will be constantly trying to emulate them instead of finding your own inner strength and abilities. 

My parents taught me to meditate every day for at least an hour to reflect on myself and discover my purpose in life.  We are not individual human beings to do whatever we please.  We are all inter-related, inter-connected and inter-dependent not only as humans but also with nature.  The acceptance of this reality gives rise to humility and compassion in an individual along with the realization that each one of us is a small cog in the giant human machinery that will work efficiently only if all the parts play the role they are supposed to by the Law of Nature.  It means we live for each other, not for ourselves.  The awakening of love, respect, understanding, compassion and appreciation of each other, and all of nature, will bring harmony in society and allow us to build peace. 

Grandfather Gandhi by Arun Gandhi, Bethany Hegedus Illustrated by Evan Turk

My GRANDFATHER GANDHI’s TRUTH

Grandfather Gandhi Illustration © Evan Turk

Grandfather Gandhi Illustration © Evan Turk

GRANDFATHER GANDHI’S TRUTH

`Perhaps the greatest tragedy is that most people during Grandfather Gandhi’s lifetime and after tend to follow his philosophy of nonviolence dogmatically and/or literally.  To broaden people’s perspective he began to describe his philosophy as Satyagraha, or a Pursuit of Truth,instead of nonviolence.  He believed life must be a constant and sincere pursuit of Truth.  In simple terms, we must always strive to become better by being truthful to ourselves and the world.

Two simple episodes made me aware of how much Truth meant to Grandfather.  The first was when my parents, my younger sister Ela, who was five years old then, and I at 11, arrived at Sevagram Ashram, Grandfather’s service village.  life in the ashram was very simple and so was the food.  But no one expected simplicity to mean eating boiled, unseasoned (not even salt), pumpkin for lunch and dinner every day.  For health and work reasons  Grandfather ate his special diet in his room.  No one, not even my parents, had the nerve to ask Grandfather why we had to eat such a bland diet day and night. However, Ela, my five year old sister, could not be contained.  She walked into Grandfather’s room on the third day and said:  “Grandfather, I think you should change the name of this ashram and call it Kolagram instead of Sevagram.”

Grandfather looked up in surprise and asked: “Why do you say that, child?”

 “Ever since we arrived we have been eating nothing but Kola (pumpkin),” she explained.

  “Is that so?” Grandfather responded with genuine surprise.  “If what you say is true then you are right, I must change the name of this place.” 

 That evening after prayers he called the administrator of the ashram, Muna Lal, and said: “I have heard this complaint from my grand-daughter.  What is your explanation?”

 Muna Lal explained: “You said we should eat only what we grow on our farm.”

 “Are you saying that our farm can produce nothing but pumpkins?” Grandfather inquired.

 “No,” Muna Lal replied meekly. “But we planted only pumpkins and got a bumper crop.”

 “So, you either find a way out of this dilemma or I will have to change the name of this ashram,” Grandfather said. [Read more…]

My Grandfather Gandhi’s Life Style

Grandfather Gandhi Illustration © Evan Turk

Grandfather Gandhi Illustration © Evan Turk

Grandfather Gandhi’s Life Style 

By Arun Gandhi, 5th grandson of Mahatma Gandhi

People often wonder why Grandfather Gandhi was mostly half-naked as the British Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, once described him. He chose this garb because he found that a large number of people in India were so poor that they could not afford to wear any more clothes than was necessary to hide their nakedness. Grandfather was emotionally devastated to see their plight and decided that if he was going to be their leader he should not wear any more clothes than them.

When he became frugal in his attire he, naturally, adopted poverty in life as well. He established ashrams, which is an Indian term for a community living together as one big family. Those who chose to join him had to live simply, so that others could simply live. They were allowed to wear more clothes than he did but the homes were made of mud and bamboo, like the huts of the poor, and the food was simple. The community worked in the fields to produce their own food. It was not just an outward show of sympathy with the poor but a genuine emotional bond which made him a beloved leader of the poor and the rich.

I lived with him in the community called Sevagram — a combination of two Indian words — Seva meaning service and gram meaning village. So the community was serving themselves and the neighboring poor. All the structures were made of bamboo and mud and thatched roofs with mud floors. There was minimum furniture — just beds made of bamboo frame and a web of rope. For everything else we sat on the floor. The reason why we could not sleep on the floor was because the area was famous for the deadly cobra snakes and no one wanted to encourage them to come snuggle at night!

The homes in Sevagram had no toilets or bathrooms. There was a separate block of toilets and bathrooms at the edge of the property because there were no modern water closets as we have now. There were buckets — one to collect the urine and the other for fecal matter. No one wanted the smell to pervade their homes so they were far away which made it difficult for people who had to go at night.

There was no electricity so we had to use oil lanterns. The result was that people retired early at night and got up very early in the morning. Gandhi adopted this life-style not because he was a crank but because he felt that a good leader must identify himself or herself with the poorest among them. This is why he became the most beloved leader of the 20th century!

Grandfather Gandhi by Arun Gandhi, Bethany Hegedus Illustrated by Evan Turk

Originally published at Gandhi Legacy Tour here: Grandfather Gandhi’s Life Style

Upside Down World

During my recent visit to the Groveland Correctional Facility where I spoke, a young man gave this to me,  I was moved as I began to read… 

 

Upside Down World by Enriguq Fierro

Upside Down World by Enriguq Fierro

[Read more…]

GRANDFATHER GANDHI

Grandfather Gandhi Illustration © Evan Turk

Illustrated by Evan Turk


GRANDFATHER GANDHI

I first came to the United States in 1984 and when people found out my antecedents invitations poured in to come and share whatever I could of Grandfather. At the time they did not know that I belonged to the last generation who saw him in flesh and blood. My personal stories with Grandfather and my parents, who practiced his philosophy of nonviolence assiduously, became famous. People wanted to hear them over and over again, not only because the stories were interesting but more because I brought the philosophy down to the personal level and made people realize that unless we become the change we wish to see in the world nonviolence will remain an exotic philosophy.

A little over a decade later I decided to take my work to a higher level. Why not take interested people on a guided tour of India to show them how people at the grassroots level were using the philosophy to make the change they wished to see in the world. Thus, the Gandhi Legacy Tour was born. Not only do I share with visitors the stories, their impact on me, the impact of Grandfather’s philosophy on India and Indians, but we go to places never visited by normal tourists. The Legacy tour is a lesson in what we can do to make the world more peaceful and harmonious so that peace can prevail.

I believe everything that Gandhi did during his life was designed to educate people so that eventually we could change the Culture of Violence that pervades the human race to a Culture of Nonviolence. As we have seen and experienced Violence tends to bring out the worst in human beings — hate, prejudice, anger, frustration, greed, selfishness — everything that is antithetical to “civilization.” On the other hand Nonviolence, as Gandhi practiced it, brings out the best in human beings — love, respect, understanding, compassion, appreciation — all the sentiments and emotions that we cherish as being the foundation of a civilized society. So, when we ask: Is Nonviolence relevant today? We are basically asking: Is civilized human behavior relevant today! God help us if the answer is in the negative.

The struggle to civilize human societies everywhere has to be tackled at all levels and by any means possible before the cancer of violence destroys our humanity. Gandhi believed: If nonviolence is to become the wave of the future, we have to begin with educating the children. GRANDFATHER GANDHI is a modest attempt to help children understand that they can make this world a better place for future generations.

Grandfather Gandhi by Arun Gandhi, Bethany Hegedus Illustrated by Evan Turk

Grandfather Gandhi
A Picture Book for All Ages

By Arun Gandhi, Bethany Hegedus
Illustrated by Evan Turk
Published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Hardcover, eBook

Locate a copy at Book People | IndieBound
Amazon | B&N | Local Library

Description
Mahatma Gandhi’s grandson tells the story of how his grandfather taught him to turn darkness into light in this uniquely personal and vibrantly illustrated tale that carries a message of peace.

Engaging the Conversation!

Salaam alaikum!  Good Morning friends!

Is Gandhi Thriving More in India or America?

Dr. Abdul Malik Mujahid host of Radio Islam engages Dr. Arun Gandhi in a conversation this week:  Malik welcomes Arun noting that he is a true friend of humanity.  In this intimate interview Malik and Arun cover a wide range of topics from India and South African politics, MK Gandhi’s politics, and who is responsible for bringing about Gandhian social, economic and political change today in India.  

Malik asks Arun about the Gandhi Legacy Tours, why they were started, and the upcoming inaugural Satyagraha Tour of South Africa he will be personally leading this May.  Arun stated that the new educational tour through South Africa, will lead us to better understand the philosophy of nonviolence and its application within the violent 21st century: “If this world is to be saved from self-destruction, nonviolence is inevitable.”  Arun not only personally leads the travel groups every year but also participates in dialogues and discussions throughout the tour.  He noted, As President Nelson Mandela famously said: India sent a man to South Africa and we sent back a Mahatma.”

The conversation segues into Nelson Mandela’s legacy, democracy, and they acknowledge how Americans gets stereotyped by foreigners.  Arun talks about his father Manilal Gandhi’s struggle in South Africa and how the US, India and South Africa can learn from each other.  Arun shares a beautiful leela about his grandmother Kasturba and The Forgotten Woman” a book he and his late wife Sunanda co-authored about her untold story. 

Malik continues raising questions like Is Gandhi Thriving More in India or America? What is non-violence? How can non violence be used in social economic issues?  To find out more listen in…

Don’t miss the Gandhi South Africa Tour with Arun Gandhi, sign-up deadline approaching!

Related Post:  Arun Gandhi Joins Council for Parliament of World Religions

Mindless and Arrogant American Media and Politicians

By: Arun Gandhi

Arun Gandhi Namaste

Photo Credit: Wade Nomura

Are you as frustrated and angry by the arrogant American media and politicians as I am? Well, you should be. For a week before the beginning of the Winter Games in Sochi the media hyped up the terrorist angle. According to the US media no one in the world can be as ready as we are to tackle terrorism. Yet every time an Arab farts somewhere we are made to run for shelter. Now, since the beginning of the games we are constantly shown images of the Russian military surrounding the games venue and the mountains to show how scared they are.

Now they are bashing Putin and indirectly the Russians for their Gay policy, implying that we were always accepting and respectful of the Gay community here. As if we don’t have any discrimination against gays, color, race or gender in our country. They seem to forget that it is only in the last two years that the Gays have been getting some recognition in this country. We still have a long way to go. I am not in favor of Putin’s policy but I recognize that our own house needs a lot of cleaning too.  

It is this kind of arrogance that gave rise to Hitler after World War I. We imposed such harsh demands for reparations on the German people, and France even invaded the industrial Ruhr land when Germany could not pay, that it ground the dignity of German people into dust.

Victory went to our collective heads and we were determined to make the Germans pay for starting the war. Hitler rose up and told the Germans he was going to give back some dignity and pride and the people who were reduced to hopelessness followed him.

What happened after that is now history from which we don’t seem to have learned much. We are now rubbing the Russians nose into dust because we emerged victorious in the Cold War and broke up the Soviet Union. Mercifully we are not seeking reparations but we are nevertheless taking every opportunity to show the Russians that they amount to nothing. Dignity does not depend on military power.

Just because we are the only surviving super-power and possess the ability to destroy the world several times over should not make us the international street bullies. Russians overwhelmingly support Putin today not so much because they like his policies but because he, in some ways like Hitler, has promised them their dignity and pride. Putin will not go as far as Hitler went but he has shown the world that they can put up a magnificent show just as the US can. If he has done it at the expense of the people, we did the same.

We too have millions who are homeless and millions who go to bed hungry. So let us show some humility and give the Russians some pride and dignity for their efforts. What the world needs to see is not that we are the only super-power because of our military strength but that we can be a super-power in terms of our moral strength. That we are willing to be a part of the world family and learn to do what is right for the world and not just what is right for the United States.   

Arun Gandhi and Vandana Shiva with Gary Null

Two remarkable modern heroes, were on the air with Dr. Gary Null. Null’s ‘Conversations With Remarkable Minds series. Both on this same hour show, a great listen. Gary Null is known as a take-no-prisoners health activist and author of several books including the recently published Reverse Arthritis & Pain Naturally.

Dr. Vandana Shiva is a renown environmental and social activist, and formerly one of India’s top nuclear physicists. She is regarded as the leading pioneer behind India’s ecological and ecofeminism movement. In 1982 Dr. Shiva founded the Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Ecology, which led to the creation of Navdanya – an organization dedicated to the restoration of organic farming across India and the preservation of indigenous knowledge and culture.

For several decades, Vandana has fought for changes in the globalized practices of agriculture and food. She has traveled the world speaking against biopiracy and patenting of indigenous knowledge by large agricultural and pharmaceutical corporations. Her activist efforts have created grassroots organizations throughout the developing world to counter genetic engineering of crops, as well as empower women throughout the third world.

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Born in 1934 in Durban, South Africa, Arun Gandhi is the fifth grandson of India’s legendary leader, “Mahatma” Gandhi. Growing up under the discriminatory apartheid laws of South Africa, he was beaten by “white” South Africans for being too black and by “black” South Africans for being too white. His grandfather taught Arun to understand nonviolence through understanding violence.

For 30 years Arun worked as a journalist for the Times of India and founded the Center for Social Change which has aided half a million people in 300 villages of Maharashtra. Coming to the US in 1987 Arun and his wife Sunanda founded the M.K Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence now located at the University of Rochester in NY, and later founded the Gandhi Worldwide Education Institute to foster economic equanimity in depressed regions of the globe. He was recently elected to the Board of the Trustees for the Council for a Parliament of World Religions. Arun has written a series of books on Gandhi’s life,  the relevance of Gandhi’s vision for today, and has edited publications of his grandfather’s writings including “The Way of God.”  His website is at www.ArunGandhi.net

———-

lynnea2 The Board

Lynnea Bylund is managing director of Gandhi Legacy Tours, Director of Gandhi Worldwide Education Institute, founder of Catalyst House and has nearly three decades of experience in administration, marketing and business development. She was a nationally recognized spokeswoman for the emerging alternative video and information delivery industries. She has a degree in holistic health-nutrition from the legendary and controversial health educator and activist Dr. Kurt Donsbach, she is the founder of two not-for-profit small business-based wireless trade associations and has lobbied on Capitol Hill and at the FCC where she has spoken out strongly against the cable TV monopoly, illegal spectrum warehousing and ill-conceived congressional schemes to auction our nation’s precious airwaves to the highest bidder.  Ms. Bylund is a founder and former CEO of a Washington DC telecommunications consulting and management company with holdings in several operating and developmental wireless communications systems and companies. In 1995 Lynnea became the first female in the world to be awarded a Broadband PCS operating permit – she was one of only 17 winners, along with Sprint, AT&T, and Verizon in the biggest cash auction in world history, raising a whopping $8 billion. Lynnea also spear-headed the successful effort to launch the first cable TV network in the South Pacific islands.

>Follow Lynnea on +LynneaBylund, Twitter, LinkedIn, FaceBook, Pinterest, & YouTube

Gandhi’s Grandson Speaks at 7th Annual MLK Interfaith Service

Augusta, GA – Hundreds packed Trinity on the Hill United Methodist Church on Saturday to hear Arun Gandhi, a grandson of Indian independence leader Mohandas Gan­dhi, plant his seeds of wisdom in an interfaith program. Arun Gandhi’s arrival is timely with Martin Luther King Day just around the corner. Saturday he held a special press conference to spread the teachings of peace, equality, and justice. Gandhi was also the guest speaker for the 7th Annual MLK Interfaith Worship Service.

Mahatma Gandhi’s famous words still resonate in the hearts and minds of many: “We must become the change that we that wish to see in the world.”

Arun Gandhi said he spent a lot of time growing up with his grandfather learning the teachings of peace and nonviolence. Decades later, at age 79, he continues to spread the word to all nations about what good can come when one person makes a change—something Martin Luther King Jr. also preached.

“My message here in Augusta is how we need to use religion to bring people together instead of dividing people,” Gandhi said before the service. “Unfortunately, we have been dividing and killing in the name of God, which is not a part of any religion at all. We need to create an atmosphere where all of us can live together with proper understanding.”

“We are still a long way away from the dream that he cherished, and unless we take these small steps to make that dream become a reality, it will never become a reality.”

Gandhi has worked to make that a reality for more than 15 years, creating a 64-day nonviolence season in honor of the two leaders’ legacies.

“I just went out into the country and spoke to people and inspired them to do whatever they could in a small way to take us a step closer to the dream that both Gandhi and King shared,” said Gandhi.

He said more than 250 communities in the United States now observe the season for nonviolence.

“We are on a course of destruction. We are destroying our humanity, we are destroying our earth, we are destroying everything,” said Gandhi.

He believes a big part of that destruction across America is guns.

“No civilized nation can behave the way we do where children are killed and guns are used by children. The things that go on here are not only savage, but inhuman,” said Gandhi.

He said he will continue to advocate international peace and justice keeping with his grandfather’s legacy.

“I came here to plant seeds, and I hope that the people will reflect on this,” said Gandhi.

Arun Gandh is presently making final arrangements to lead the inaugural ‘Gandhi Satyagraha’ South Africa Tour in May.

Sources: Nicole Snyder at WJBF.com and Travis Highfield at Augusta Chronicle

Brotherly Love

A Bewitching Performance! 

By Arun Gandhi 

keystone-300x198Fifty-two 16 to 18 year old, black and white, rich and poor brothers all from the City of Brotherly Love were the greatest Ambassadors of the US.  They captured the hearts of all those who had the pleasure to hear them sing in New Delhi over the New Year.  These young people form the core group of more than 180 young men bound together as the Keystone State Boy’s Choir. 

I first heard them early last November when they invited me to help prepare them for their first ever visit to India.  We assembled in a church that straddles the rich and poor zones of the city.  The congregation is uniques — almost equally divided between the whites and blacks.  The Choir uses this for practice because “the poor can walk and the rich can drive their cars to this venue,” they explained.

The most moving and almost spiritual experience for me was when we all stood around “Gandhi Smriti” — the site where Gandhi was assassinated — at exactly 5.17 p.m. on Friday and the young men sang “Lead Kindly Light”, followed by a Muslim peace prayer and a Hindu hymn.  The time and day were the exact moment when Gandhi’s life oozed out of the three bullet wounds inflicted by the assassin.  It was an emotional and spiritual moment that will live with me forever. 

Later they sang in the streets of Delhi, at the Gandhi Bhawan, University of Delhi, at the Salaam Balak Trust where rescued street children taught the US visitors some saucy Bollywood moves, at the residence of the American Ambassador to India and finally at the India International Center where an overflowing crowd gave the boy’s a standing ovation lasting several minutes. 

If anything this proved beyond doubt that a little imagination and dedication can breakdown the barriers that divide us and kindle brotherly love amongst all.  

 

Working together we can do this!

Repost Gandhi Worldwide Education Institute

Let’s make 2014 the year that helps lift children out of poverty.

Working together we can do this!

UNICEF No To Child Labour

 We thank you for your support throughout the year!

“Children should be making sandcastles not bricks” photo credit: UNICEF #notochildlabour

GWEI www.gandhiforchildren.org

 If you feel you are too small to make a difference,

try sleeping in a room with one mosquito.

About Enemies and Debates

This was originally requested by and posted to the Council for a Parliament of the World Religions website:  CPWR About Enemies and Debates by Arun Gandhi

About Enemies and Debates

By Arun Gandhi


Arun Gandhi NamasteLately there has been a lot of talk about “enemies” and how to deal with them. Inevitably, this leads to a heated “debate” and I find both these concepts repugnant since they form the foundation of what I call the Culture of Violence.

If there is anything I have learned from Gandhi’s writings and the lessons he taught me as a young boy entering his teens is that humankind is inexorably dominated by a Culture of Violence.  Over generations the roots of this culture have run deep dominating every aspect of human life — from parenting at home to governing nations.  The salvation, according to Gandhi, lies in each of us “becoming the change we wish to see in the world.”

During the struggle for India’s freedom from British Colonialism one rule that was observed strictly was never to dehumanize the British as “enemies”.  Even when someone made a joke Grandfather would admonish the person and insist that we root out all words from our vocabulary that dehumanize people.  Dehumanization is the first step in justifying violence and war.  When we learn to respect everyone as human beings — even those with whom we may have differences of opinion — we will reduce violence. 

Whenever possible Gandhi entered into a “discussion” with the British, never a “debate”.  A discussion implies an openness to understand the other’s point of view and arrive at an amicable understanding whereas a debate implies there is only one Truth and the person with the gift of the gab can overwhelm the other. 

A very potent example of this is religion.  There are endless debates about which religion is the best and everyone claims they have the whole Truth.  This attitude has led to wars, violence, massacres and genocides in the name of God.  Yet, unfortunately, we are unwilling to accept that there are many aspects to one Truth.  If we continue to debate this point we will never arrive at any understanding. 

Religion, my Grandfather used to say, is the spiritual Mount Everest.  All of us are trying to scale this peak and we choose different paths to get to the top.  Since all the paths are equal why should it be a matter of contention which path one chooses to take?  The important objective is for every individual to get to the top by making a sincere and committed effort.  It needs no organization — just individual commitment and dedication. Incidentally, I am offering these thoughts for a discussion, not a debate!

Farewell, Madiba

Farewell, Madiba

By Arun Gandhi

Loving Nelson Mandela

As the world mourns the death of President Nelson Mandela of South Africa, affectionately known as Madiba, it is important that we don’t get too embroiled  in sentiments and, in our grief, make the mistake of consecrating his message with his physical body.  Like the thousands whom we revere as great people, Madiba was not great by birth, but became great through commitment and dedication to moral values.  All of us are endowed with the same measure of commitment and dedication but we tend to use it more for material aggrandizement rather than to enhance our moral and ethical values.

An Indian Government official reportedly said in his condolence message that if the apartheid government had not incarcerated President Mandela for 27 years he would have changed the face of Africa long ago.  Implying that those 27 years were wasted.  Perhaps some of those years were excessive, but there is no escaping the fact that it was the incarceration that gave Madiba the opportunity to do some soul-searching and turned him from a revolutionary to a revered leader. 

Through his life Madiba showed the world that adversity can be good if we use it with understanding.  Many a leader who have gone through the same kind of adversity as President Mandela has come out more bitter and violent than ever because they wallow in self-pity.  Madiba and others like him used adversity to make a positive change in themselves and their thinking.  In a very true sense Madiba became the change he wished to see in the world, to use Gandhi’s famous quotation. 

Madiba loved his country more than he loved himself.  He was determined to do what was right and good for the country and not be filled with hate and vengeance against those who oppressed him.  He had a vision for South Africa where all human beings could live in peace and harmony.  It was a vision that has been shared by many leaders of the world, including Gandhi, but it is a vision that has not been realized quite simply because we have chosen the path of materialism rather than moral values.  Gandhi warned us that materialism and morality have an inverse relationship. When one increases the other tends to decrease. In a highly materialistic world there is ample evidence today of declining morality.  In fact the decay is so  overwhelming that it denigrates the very concept of civilization.  Is a civilization measured by its material achievements or by its moral integrity?  If Madiba could change from being a revolutionary to becoming a revered world leader can we not change from being selfish to being selfless in the service of the world?        

Arun Gandhi Joins Council for Parliament of World Religions

Parliament of World Religions tributes Mandela

I was recently elected to the Board of Trustees of the Council for a Parliament of the World Religions, so as I began to gather some words of support and urgency for this new appointment and the work of the Council, I was informed of the passing of ‘Madiba,’ South Africa’s great humanitarian leader. Hopefully I can coherently combine my diverse thoughts at this auspicious time.

We exist today in a world of difference. Yet, we are more interdependent than at any previous time in history. Nowhere is striving to live peacefully with our differences more critical than religion. My grandfather once famously commented to the effect: I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”

Quite often, religion is misused as an agency for strive and injustice, nullifying the very foundations that rest at the core of each of the world’s great spiritual traditions. At the same time, spiritual and religious traditions affect the lives of much if not most of the planet’s population in deep and profound ways. When the diverse religious paths work together for the common welfare, hope springs eternal that our world can be ultimately transformed. This is the goal of a ‘Parliament of World Religions.’ 

1893 Parliament of World ReligionsFirst Meeting of a Parliament of World Religions

There have been several meetings referred to as a Parliament of World Religions, the first being the World’s Parliament of Religions  of 1893, which was an attempt to create a global dialogue of faiths. The event was celebrated by another conference on its centenary in 1993. This led to a new series of conferences under the official title “Parliament of the World’s Religions

The 1893 Chicago Parliament of  World Religions opened the door for the first inter-religious reconciliation movement and that event brought together thousands of people from all over the world. It marked a pivotal moment for many different religions and spiritual communities from the east and west coming together around a common commitment to justice and peace.

The legacy of that 1893 Parliament of Religions failed, however, to live up to the highest ideals of its planners. The lofty goal of a new era of universal spiritual brotherhood shortly yielded to a hellish reality of 20th century wars and outright genocide.

Over the years, the Council has sparked renewed communication and relationship among the religious and spiritually diversified.  And in so doing the Council has maintained a model for reconciling diverse visions of a fair, tranquil and imperishable future. In that course, religious and spiritual communities have re-discovered their commonality to right and golden rule precepts. 

Abdul 
Malik
 Mujahid Parliament of World Religions

Imam Dr. Abdul 
Malik
 Mujahid

“The 
Parliament 
of 
World
 Religions 
is
 in
 essence 
a
 big 
conversation,” says our current Council Chair, Imam Dr. Abdul 
Malik
 Mujahid:

“Climate 
change, 
hunger, 
and 
peace 
are 
issues 
which
 concern 
all 
of 
humanity.
 
These challenges 
are
 also
 large 
enough and require 
focused
 attention 
from 
all 
religions 
and



 spiritual 
traditions. 

Dialogue 
is 
crucial 
for 
the 
tremendous changes needed 
for 
humanity to 
move 
forward, 
especially 
today, 
where
 conflict 
and
 war have
 become
 a 
lifestyle 
for 
millions
 around 
the 
world. 

We 
cannot
 promise
 that
 we will
 resolve 
all 
of 
the 
conflicts. 

But 
we
 do 
believe 
that 
dialogue 
will 
reduce 
the chance 
of 
warfare 
and 
increase 
the
possibility 
of 
reconciliation.

“
It 
was 
a 
series 
of dialogues 
which 
Nelson 
Mandela 
started
 with 
his
 captors
 at 
Robben 
Island 
that convinced
 them 
of
 a 
brighter, 
apartheid‐free 
future 
for 
both 
whites 
and 
blacks 
in South 
Africa.”

One of the more celebrated delegates of that first 1893 Parliament of World Religions gathering in Chicago, representing both India and Hinduism, was the great sage Vedantist, Swami Vivekananda, who closed his opening address to the historic group with words as timely today as when he first uttered them over a century ago:

Vivekananda At The 
Parliament 
of 
World
 Religions “Sectarianism, bigotry, and its horrible descendant, fanaticism, have long possessed this beautiful earth. They have filled the earth with violence, drenched it often with human blood, destroyed civilization, and sent whole nations to despair. Had it not been for these horrible demons, human society would be far more advanced than it is now. But their time is come; and I fervently hope that the bell that tolled this morning in honor of this convention may be the death-knell of all fanaticism, of all persecutions with the sword or with the pen, and of all uncharitable feelings between persons wending their way to the same goal.”

Again Dr. Malik Mujahid, in his tribute last week to Madiba Mandela’s passing:

In today’s world, where hate is rising, the people of love and humanity, those of faith and the “nones”, need to rise as a force for positive human relationships. In a world where one-third of humanity is obese while another third sleeps hungry, let’s share more and consume less.

Let us remember together as we mourn together, that “None of you has faith until you love for your neighbor what you love for yourself.” Long Live Madiba!

Meeting Mr. Arun Gandhi – Part 3

Here is the final part of Moe Yonamine’s guest blog.  

Part Three by Moé Yonamine

Since our Skype two weeks ago, my students are still talking about two stories Arun told—the mountain story and the peace-farmer story.

Jenni beautifully captured Arun’s message in an essay she wrote: “Have you ever noticed how people of different religions go after each other? And not just religion, but races as well. This hasn’t happened to me personally, but I’ve seen people where they are treated differently just because their skin is a different color, or they come from a different religion. We brought the topic up to Mr. Gandhi, and he told us the story about the mountains. The story is simply saying that there’s no reason for us to treat each other badly. We may come from different parts of the world, but we are all heading to the same place. We all want to reach the top of the mountain. We just take different paths to get there.”

This story unfolded in the home of Jesse a few nights after the talk with Arun. Jesse shared this in his reflective writing: “Living in a household where Catholicism has been in my family since the start can be conflicting when I talk about my perspective on religion. I believe in self-reflection and peace with your physical and spiritual body. My mom is open to hear my beliefs, but my step-dad isn’t on the same page. The most recent discussion I had with my step-dad was intense. While I listened to my step-dad, I thought about the talk we had with Mr. Gandhi. I was thinking about the story of the mountain. I asked my step-dad why judge and talk bad about other religions. Religions may have different beliefs, but they all strive to get to the same place. Sitting in silence for a couple of minutes made me realize he was thinking. He began to talk about his acceptance of my beliefs. I would like to think that I changed the way he thinks after that night, and that he would end the type of violence he was doing.”   [Read more…]

Tis a Season of Giving, or Shopping?

When asked to invite a friend to a Thanksgiving Dinner a very good friend of mine declined categorically saying: “Thanksgiving is a family affair.”

Gandhi Season of Giving or Shopping

It makes me wonder why do we still hold on to such a narrow concept of a human family?  If a nation is made up of insular families and the world is made up of insular nations how can we have unity and peace? 

Unity and Peace is something every individual claims to work for and yet no one seems to address the question: Can unity and peace be achieved without compassion?  Should compassion be restricted to only family and friends? 

The newspapers in India reported on December 2 that an estimated 13 billion rupees worth of vegetables and fruit is dumped every year because India lacks adequate storage cold storage and transport facilities.  The United States also is estimated to be tossing two billion pounds of food into the garbage every year.  Yet half the population of India and almost half the population of the world live and die of hunger.  Can we ignore this and live with our conscience?

The rich will spend billions of dollars worldwide during this festive season to give each other and their families gifts that no one really needs.  The rich will get richer and the poor will continue to suffer and die of starvation.  Is this what humanity should be about?   

Our materialistic life style has made us greedy, self-centered and selfish; traits that cannot be considered civilized.  When Gandhi said: We must become the change we wish to see in the world, what he meant was the expansion of our narrow concepts of a human family, to feel the anguish and pain of others who are less fortunate and in however small measure do something to bring joy and happiness to those who are less fortunate in a constructive way. 

Charity, like many things in modern society, takes two forms.  One that is motivated out of pity and the other that is motivated by compassion.  Pity leads to oppression whilst compassion leads to freedom.  When we make people dependent on charity for their survival we are oppressing them but when we make people stand on their feet and rediscover their self-respect and self-confidence it leads to constructive action. 

I believe that if we drift with the prevailing wind we will destroy humanity and the world but if we change our attitudes and concepts there is still hope of saving civilization and making it more meaningful.   

Meeting Mr. Arun Gandhi – Part 2

Part Two by Moé Yonamine

Eager students packed the library, 138 of them seated in rows of chairs waiting for the moment Mr. Arun Gandhi’s face would appear on the screen.  Excitement, anxiety, and laughter filled the room. My students would soon have the opportunity to have a face-to-face conversation with Arun, whose universal work we had studied along with that of his grandfather. Roosevelt High School is one of the most diverse schools in Oregon, and the faces of students represented peoples from across the globe and the great challenges and struggles many have encountered in their lives and street experiences.

These students entered my class in September, many outraged and frustrated with the Trayvon Martin verdict. The experience of Trayvon hit home to so many who regularly experience issues of race and violence in their own communities. Trayvon Martin’s case had become a symbol of injustices they had seen in their own lives and the verdict a reminder of what society sees as the solution. “What’s the point of even trying?” Damarté said during the first week of class. He explained that the outcome okays violence as the just solution to an injustice, so speaking up is not going to do much. My sophomore class waited for my response, many feeling the same discouragement.

We needed to take a bold look at the world and decided to use the lens of asking these two questions: What should the world know about this situation? What should the world (and people) do? We looked at many issues around the world today, discussing injustices the students saw and how they connected to them through their own lives, including issues of stop-and-frisk in New York, post-apartheid conditions in South Africa, continuing conflicts in Israel/Palestine, and the devastating genocide in Rwanda. We analyzed deeply about what should be done about the injustices they identified. “How come we don’t learn from things that have happened to other people?” said Carolina. “Why, if we all know how bad the Holocaust was, did we let something like that happen in Rwanda?”  “And the Israelis who went through this in the past are now part of the same thing with the Palestinians,” Curtis said covering his face with his hands in frustration.  “It just keeps repeating, Ms. Yonamine,” echoed Carolina, looking for an answer. I heard the voices of despair.  [Read more…]

Our Friend, Gandhi: A Celebration of Arun Gandhi

Some students of Salisbury University’s Center for Conflict Resolution made this great 12 minute video, a tribute to my life and mission as well as my family.  I want to thank Kelly Sullivan, Rebecca Demers, April Cahill and Dr. Brian Polkinghorn. Namaste!

Great music was incorporated in the soundtrack: Awake My Soul-Mumford and Sons Your Hand In Mine-Explosions In The Sky Crazy Girl- Eli Young Band Lost In My Mind- The Head & The Heart.

Love and Shukriya,  Arunji

Arun Family PortraitArun Family Portrait 2

Meeting Mr. Arun Gandhi

I asked Moe to write a series of three blogs for our website to show how the message of nonviolence affected her and now through her students she teaches.  I hope you will find it interesting.  Love to all of you, Arunji

Arun and Sunanda Gandhi

Arun and Sunanda Gandhi

Meeting Mr. Arun Gandhi – Part I by Moé Yonamine

It was the fall of 1994 when I first met Mr. Arun Gandhi. I was a sophomore in high school, the only child of a single, immigrant mother, moving from city to city trying to make ends meet. As we slowly drove around our latest new town of Muncie, Indiana, a jug of cold water was thrown through our open car window into my mother’s face. A truck full of men laughed and yelled, “Go back to where you came from!” Hatred targeted me directly, and I felt rage like I never felt before. Soon after, our car was graffitied with racial slurs. My school was no exception to the atmosphere of intolerance we were experiencing but rather was a place where racial segregation, separation, and fears of the “other” were magnified.

When I learned that Arun Gandhi would be speaking at nearby Ball State University, I made sure I was there. I wanted to hear something positive and powerful that I could believe in to fight all of the injustice around me. This couldn’t be the way it was supposed to be. But how could we help change things? What power did we have as young people to fight hatred and make a difference? I went to listen to Arun in an auditorium filled from wall to wall with college students. He spoke about fighting, but fighting with our spirits, non-violence and compassion. I needed to talk to him. I waited until his speaking was over, stood in a long line, and finally got to shake his hand. I vividly remember saying, “You don’t know me, Mr. Gandhi, but I really need your help. Will you come to my school?” He listened patiently alongside his wife, Sunanda, as I rambled on and on about the injustices, the anger, the violence, and the hatred at my high school.

The next day, I was called out of my first period class. The teacher told me that someone was there to see me. I hurried to the main office to find none other than Mr. Gandhi, gently smiling. “Well, where are the students?” he said. My heart burst with joy and excitement. Quickly collecting as many classes as I could, we packed the auditorium within minutes. He listened quietly, intently, as a small group of students bravely spoke up about racism around us while many others sat back, cautious and apprehensive. Looking for an answer and a way to overcome, we waited for Mr. Gandhi’s response. He shared with us the story of the pencil, a beloved lesson learned from his grandfather, Mohandas K. Gandhi. [Read more…]

Arun Gandhi Speaks at the Human Education Conference

 Arun spoke at the conference “Educating for a Just, Peaceful and Sustainable Future” a comprehensive humane education event highlighting the power and promise of humane education as a key to fostering a generation of “solutionaries” committed to environmental preservation, animal welfare and human rights.

Arun shares his leela (story) on the impact his grandmother Kasturba had on his grandfather Mahatma Gandhi and his life-long path of non-violence.  He also shares the lesson of the pencil he learned while living with his grandfather during his time in India.  

An event presented by Humane Education Advocates Reaching Teachers (HEART), the Institute for Humane Education (IHE) and Jane Goodall’s Roots & Shoots, the conference featured a dynamic program of speakers including Jane Goodall, DBE, UN Messenger of Peace and founder of the Jane Goodall Institute; Arun Gandhi, grandson of Mahatma Gandhi and founder of the Gandhi Worldwide Education Institute; Zoe Weil, president of the Institute for Humane Education; and many other acclaimed speakers.

 

It was held on September 21, 2013 at New York University. 

For more information, please visit www.humaneedconf.org

From Sweden With Love

This is a post by Hans-Evert Renérius one of the adopted parents of my 132 children in Sweden.

——

– Translated from the author’s native Swedish

Hans-Evert Renérius

Sundsgården (‘sun’s garden’) High School at Helsingborg Sweden is beautifully situated at the strait. When I look up, I see unhindered Denmark approaching. I must wonder why there is no bridge here, to connect our Nordic togetherness.

Now at Sundsgården I listen to Arun Gandhi, whose grandfather was the great non-violence advocate Mahatma Gandhi. He was able with his peace march to bring the British Empire to its capitulation. The Gandhi Indian resistance grew from below and the immense India got its independence.  For this he was put to death by a “lone assassin”.

Arun Gandhis My 132 GrandchildrenBut his spirit – Great Spirit = Mahatma – is lived by his grandson, Arun, whose words are now flowing towards me.  However, this is not the first time that I have met Arun.  I first got in contact with Arun and his wife Sunanda in 1978 when we sought to adopt our daughter.  Sunanda and Arun had contacts with small orphanages in rural India areas thirty to forty miles from Bombay.

Traveling along squalid Indian “roads” was an adventure. Out there were namely the children, especially girls, who have been abandoned by their mothers. They were left at the village water source, where they were discovered and brought to the orphanages.

For those children who come into the world in degrading poverty there is no decent future. Therefore, Sunanda and Arun gave them new hope. [Read more…]

Grandfather’s Tea!

Source of Original Post: Gandhi Legacy Tour

Mahatma Gandhi wrote in his book found online A Key to Health, why tannin, the compound that gives tea its astringency, was bad for human consumption. Gandhi liked to drink tea during the day. A friend of Gandhi’s once remarked ‘Mr. Gandhi you can not be without this stimulant, tea!.  Gandhi thought for a while and from that day forward he gave up drinking tea. 

Tales from Mahatma Gandhi’s life includes a Tea Leela found HERE.

Gandhi TeaImage of Gandhi having tea with Lord Mountbatten, 1947, from Wikipedia Commons

Gandhi Tea Recipe 

It is very simple

Organic lemon juice full bottle (48 oz)

Put two heaping teaspoons of ginger paste

Mix ginger paste into juice of lemon

Add one half teaspoon of salt and give it a good shake

When you want a cup of tea just take about two to three tablespoons of the mixture

in a mug full of hot water and add honey to taste.

Enjoy with love,

Arun Gandhi

Keystone State Boychoir Will Tour The Footsteps of Gandhi

Keystone BoychoirThe Keystone State Boychoir (KSB) will embark on a concert tour of England and India on December 25th, 2013. Sixty young men will perform concerts throughout the cities of London, New Delhi, Agra and Neemrana.  The boys will delight audiences with enthralling performances while walking in the footsteps of one of mankind’s great heros – Mahatma Gandhi.

Founded in 2001, the KSB has enjoyed unprecedented success for an organization so young, and is recognized today as one of the very finest community-based boychoir programs in the world.

The Keystone State Boychoir consists of more than 170 boys between the ages of eight and eighteen who sing an enthralling repertoire from the classical to the contemporary. Major choral works that KSB has performed include Bach’s St. Matthew’s Passion, Orff’s Carmina Burana, Handel’s Messiah, Mendelssohn’s Elijah, Britten’s Ceremony of Carols, Rejoice in the Lamb, and St. Nicolas Cantata, the Fauré Requiem, and John Rutter’s Mass of the Children. The Boychoir has sung with the region’s most distinguished ensembles, including the Philadelphia Orchestra and Opera Philadelphia, for which it serves as its official boychoir.

keystone boychoir india gandhi

Internationally, the Keystone State Boychoir has performed in major concert halls, including the Manaus Opera House in Brazil, the Petronas Philharmonik Hall in Malaysia, and the Hanoi Opera House in Vietnam, as well as in venues throughout Canada, Brazil, Chile, South Africa, Japan, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Malaysia, Australia, Monaco, France, Germany, Austria, Bulgaria and Norway.

In 2009, KSB made history as the first choir to travel to, and perform in, Antarctica. In doing so the Boychoir became the first choir to have sung on all seven continents. It  made history again in 2012 when it travelled above the Arctic Circle to Svalbard, Norway – the most northern settlement in the world. There the Boychoir sang in the northernmost church and theatre on the globe. While in Norway, KSB had the profound honor of singing at the Nobel Peace Prize Ceremony in Oslo honoring Aung San Su Kyi.

keystone boychoir indiaThe KSB experience is one of truly joyful music-making. The vibrant sound of the Boychoir is enhanced by its compelling stage presence. The Music Directors believe that today’s choral music should be felt and seen, as well as heard, if the art form is to thrive. They have found that when the unique energy of boys is channeled into choral singing of the highest standard, the result is unforgettable performances for audiences and singers alike.

This particular concert tour will feature the Graduates of the Keystone State Boychoir. Affectionately known as “the Grads,” this ensemble is comprised of talented high school singers who make up the tenor and bass sections of KSB. Some of the Boychoir’s Alumni will also join the Grads on this concert tour. The Graduates stellar singer-musicianship, breathtaking diversity in repertoire, and dazzling polish have earned them a stellar reputation nationally and internationally. 

Fifty Years of GOP Race-Baiting Strategy is Enough!

Well it turned out that on the day the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) took effect, the U.S. government had shut down – and now we must ask ourselves whether it is permanently broken?

There are many explanations for the breakdown, but the one over-riding truth, according to Salon’s editor-at-Large, Joan Walsh, is that this is the end culmination of fifty-years of consistent Republican strategy to portray the U.S. government as a culprit and oppressor that seeks fundamentally to be the “protector and provider” for the American negro, and to the detriment of everyone else.

That it all came apart under our first American negro president was not an accident, it was most likely inevitable.

From Joan Walsh at Salon –

Joan Walsh on the American negro plight

Joan Walsh

People talk about the role of race in Richard Nixon’s “Southern Strategy:” how Pat Buchanan and Kevin Phillips helped him lure the old Dixiecrats into the Republican Party permanently. Far less well known was the GOP’s “Northern Strategy,” which targeted so-called “white ethnics” – many of them from the Catholic “Sidewalks of New York” like my working class family, in the words of Kevin Phillips. Without a Northern Strategy designed to inflame white-ethnic fears of racial and economic change, Phillips’ imaginary but still influential notion of a “permanent Republican majority” would have been unimaginable.

“The principal force which broke up the Democratic (New Deal) coalition is the Negro socioeconomic revolution and liberal Democratic ideological inability to cope with it,” Phillips wrote. “Democratic ‘Great Society’ programs aligned that party with many Negro demands, but the party was unable to defuse the racial tension sundering the nation.” Phillips was not trying to defuse that tension, far from it – he was trying to lure those white ethnics to the GOP (although he later broke with the party he helped create.) But his Northern Strategy truly came to fruition in 1980, with the election of Ronald Reagan. Where Nixon swept the South, Reagan was able to take much of the North and West, too.

>> Continue reading at Salon

Happy Gandhi Birthday, Bapu We Still Love You!

Original Post Source: Gandhi Legacy Tour Blog 

Today, October 2nd, is the Gandhi Birthday…

To all my personal friends and friends of my late grandfather Mohandas ‘Mahatma’ Gandhi I send warm regards and best wishes from my home in Rochester, New York.  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 now know as the United Nations International Day of Nonviolence which was designated by the U.N. to acknowledge Mohandas ‘Mahatma’ Gandhi each year. 

I continue to write this annual message and I now share this with you and those who hold dear the wisdom, and benefit from the philosophy and message of Mahatma Gandhi.

[Editor’s note: The Gandhi Legacy Tour 2013-14 led by Arun Gandhi still has only a few remaining openings that will be available for a very short time – less than 14 days from this publication.  Don’t miss out!]

Celebrating Gandhi Birthday

Bapu, we still love you!

On a previous Gandhi birthday I received a letter from an Indian friend who lived for many years in Britain and San Diego and recently decided to go back to India to take back home the Gandhi legacy “Become the change you wish to see in the world.” Like millions 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 city and town has a “Mahatma Gandhi Road.” Lip service is paid to Gandhiji’s memory on his birthday and his death anniversary.

The Gandhi Birthday is Not Forgotten

But, thankfully, the Gandhi birthday is not forgotten by everyone. He still lives and influences people in small towns and villages of India where common 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 joining me in a Gandhi Legacy Tour from December 29 to January 14. 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.”

Happy Gandhi Birthday, Bapu!

Arun Gandhi Leela: John Wayne, Durban

Original Post Source: Gandhi Legacy Tour

Durban Gandhi Newspaper and settlement

I was 16 years old and living with my parents at the institute my grandfather had founded 18 miles outside of the city of Durban, South Africa, in the middle of the sugar plantations. We were well within the country and had no neighbors, so my two sisters and I always look forward being able to go to town to visit friends or go to the movies. One day my father asked me to take him to the city to attend a conference that lasted the whole day and I jumped at the chance.

As he went to town, my mother gave me a grocery list of things I needed and my father asked me to take care of some outstanding things like taking the car serviced. When I left my father, he told me: See you here at 5 pm and we will go home together.

After quickly completing all the assignments, I went to the nearest cinema.I focused so much with the film, a John Wayne movie, I forgot the time. It was 5:30 pm when I remembered. I ran to the garage and got the car and hurried to where my father was waiting. It was nearly 6 pm.

He anxiously asked: Why are you late? I felt bad about it and I could not say I was watching a John Wayne movie in Durban. Then I told him the car was not ready and had to wait. I said this without knowing that my father had already called the garage.

> Continue reading at Gandhi Legacy Tour

“The Peace Pianist,” Davide Martello playing in Taksim Square

Davide Martello World Tour for Peace Announces USA Tour
November 2013-2014

Taksim Square

“The Peace Pianist,” playing in Taksim Square

Davide Martello, an Italian pianist based in Germany, began his world tour over two years ago with the intention of helping to bring about a more peaceful tomorrow.  He has played in over 60 cities worldwide, including Mazar-i-Sharif, Afghanistan; Sarajevo, Bosnia, and Pristina, Kosovo.

In June 2013 Martello brought his grand piano to Taksim Square in Istanbul, during the Gezi Park protests.  It was there that journalists gave him the name, The Peace Pianist.”  For the three days that he played in Taksim Square, he showed the power of music to calm tensions.  Police and protesters alike took off their riot gear and listened to him play, and for over 50 hours there was peace in the square.

His performances covered by

CNNNew  York Times, Huffington Post, The Times.

Everyone has their own gifts they can use to make the world a more peaceful place.  I’ve got my piano,” Martello said.

Martello will continue his world tour in America.  He will drive his piano across the entire continental United States to promote his message of peace through music.  He plays performances in outdoor spaces, believing that music outdoors causes all of us to reflect for a moment in the midst of our busy lives – a reflection that is often a movement of the human soul toward peace.  Martello performs in outdoor spaces for free.

In addition to playing in public venues he will also be playing for organizations that are helping to create a peaceful tomorrow (including Gandhi Worldwide Education Institute, Partners in School Innovation, Peace and Brotherhood, among others).

Please find below Martello’s tentative schedule for the USA tour:

November: NY, Maine, NH, VT, MASS, RI, WV
December: NJ, Penn, DEL, MD, DC, WV
January: Virginia, NC, SC, GA, FL
February: AL, Miss, Tenn, KE
March: LA, AK, OK
April: TX, NM, AZ
May: CA, NV, OG, WA
June: ID, UT, CO, WY, MO
July: ND, SD, NE, KA
August: Kansas, Missouri, Iowa, Minn, WI
September: ILL, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio
October: New York City

 

 

Avoiding the Storm Clouds of Syria

We should be supporting the Syrian Non-Violence Movement rather than supplying the rebels in their quest for a violent takeover. That would truly send a message that we have a genuine regard for all the Syrian people and would be a form of humanitarian intervention worth supporting. Rochester U professor-emeritus Robert Holmes makes an impassioned and eloquent case in this guest post that originally appeared in the Rochester University Campus Times.  – Arun

——-

Robert Holmes of Rochester University on Syria

Robert Holmes PhD

     The storm clouds of a major Middle Eastern war have been gathering for years. A U.S. attack on Syria would bring that war closer, further destabilizing a region already reeling from violence. 

It would also have global consequences.  Central to the world order that emerged with the evolution of the modern nation state is the idea of sovereignty, the right of states to noninterference in their internal affairs. That concept has been at the heart of international law since World War I and is central to the UN Charter. That world order is now crumbling.  An attack on Syria could finalize its downfall. 

The idea has gained ground recently that states lose their legitimacy – and sovereignty – if they violate the human rights of their citizens.  Other states can then intervene to prevent such violations.  But as there is no grand moral tribunal to make these judgments, it is left to governments to make them. Kosovo provided the model, and so-called “humanitarian intervention” the rationale.  As human rights violations abound in the world, the door is open for nations to pursue their own interests behind the fig-leaf of humanitarian intervention.

The U.S. clearly seeks not only to punish the gassing of the Syrian people but also to bring about the downfall of the Assad regime.  Its ally, Israel, reportedly supports an attack that will contribute to a stalemate in the war, thereby weakening Syria’s ally, Iran.  Both are national interest concerns, not humanitarian. [Read more…]

The Many Who Died

This is part two of my Swedish adoption blog from my most recent visit to Sweden

Read Part One Here: My 132 Grandchildren!

babies-abandoned- india

The Many Who Died

 By Arun Gandhi

Pain and pleasure are like the two sides of the same coin. If saving 128 children brought us joy, there were many heartaches as well. In order to hide their pregnancies mothers ate very little so that the fetus did not grow. Then during the last weeks of pregnancy they would go to a relative in another town and quietly deliver the baby and within hours abandon it. The mother cannot be allowed to get attached to the baby.

babies-abandoned-india

So, life begins with many handicaps for these children. They are severely malnourished and equally traumatized by abandonment. It is difficult to imagine how anyone could survive so much agony in the first few days of life. It was no wonder that many died. Those who died within hours were better off than those who survived a few months more of disease and starvation. Sunanda and I often wondered how people could be so heartless to inflict such agony on innocent little babes! [Read more…]

Gandhi and King: Becoming the Dream

Gandhi and King become the Dream

Gandhi and King: Becoming the Dream

from “In My Waking Dream” by Amy Hindman

Lyric Sheet Below

[Read more…]

My 132 Grandchildren!

Just got back from Sweden where I had a reunion with 32 of my 132 grandchildren! Sounds goofy? Maybe, but it is a fact. In another life, when Sunanda and I lived in Mumbai, India, and worked for the poor and oppressed while raising our family we learned that scores of little, new-born, babies were being abandoned by their unwed mothers because the mother’s could not face the stigma that is often ruthless.

My 132 Grandchildren

Some of these babies died of exposure and trauma – after all, they were just two-three days old. Those who were institutionalized did not fair better. The infant mortality rate in orphanages in India was very high. More than half the babies would die before the age of 5.

Arun Gandhis My 132 Grandchildren

Over a period of 10 years during the 1970’s we were able to find loving homes for 128 babies (we have four biological grandchildren!) who were condemned as “unwanted”. I protested vehemently. “There are no babies who are unwanted. There is always someone in the world who wants a baby.” Many of the 128 babies were given to families in Sweden and in 1994 when most of them were in their teens we were invited for the first reunion. Over a weekend we stayed together as one big human family and I tried to address many of the concerns of the children. Their main request was that we should help them find their biological parent.

This, of course, was impossible. Almost all of them were abandoned in the streets without any documentation. Even their birth dates had to be medically determined. I told them all of these facts and then asked them why were they so eager to find the biological mother.

My 132 Grandchildren | Arun Gandhi Sweden August 2013

Their answer was poignant. Ever since they started school, they said, they would hear all their friends talk about whose eyes, whose nose or whose hair they had inherited. These Indian children did not look like any of their adopted parents. So, finding this important information became an obsession with them.

I apologized and said that Sunanda and I had to take the decision to give them to Swedish families since they were too small to decide for themselves. We did it with all good intentions after realizing the Swedish couples were indeed loving and sincerely wanted a baby.

“If you think we made a mistake and messed up your life,” I said. “Then please forgive us. We did what we did with good intentions because the alternative was too grim to even contemplate.”

There was a moment of silence in the room and then in a chorus all of them said: “We no longer have a problem. We can now tell the world that we look like our grandparents.” They pointed towards Sunanda and me sitting in the midst of the circle. There was not a dry eye in the room.

(Read more about this experience in subsequent blogs.)

My Statement on Syria

 

Arun Gandhi

Mahatma Gandhi said: ‘what a civilized world needs is politics with principles.’ The British Parliament has demonstrated this effectively.  As the difficult issues of Syria challenge us the world needs to free itself from the military industrial complexes that stoke violence and make profits from the blood and lives of innocent people. President Eisenhower had warned us of the consequences in 1953 and we are now learning the lesson!

 Ultimately the British Parliament has shown the courage to reject military solutions to world problems.  I agree with the Nobel Peace Laureates Archbishop Tutu and Mairead Maguire and stand with them in their call for ‘human intervention’ and ‘dialogue’ to lead the way to peace and reconciliation in Syrian.  

 

 

Join the Pledge of Resistance Against Fracking

Arun Gandhi leads a crowd of thousands reciting the pledge of resistance against fracking at a protest at the New York state capital in Albany on June 17, 2013

pledge of resistance against fracking with Arun Gandhi

The Pledge of Resistance Against Fracking in New York

I believe:

  • That high-volume horizontal hydraulic fracking is an accident-prone, inherently dangerous industrial process with risks that include catastrophic and irremediable environmental damage;
  • That these risks cannot be properly resolved, nor can they be mitigated through regulation by any government agency, let alone one that has colluded with the gas industry over the last four years in creating rules that attempt to regulate fracking;
  • That Governor Cuomo and this agency, the Department of Environmental Conservation, have repeatedly turned a deaf ear to the petitions of New York’s scientists, economists, medical professionals, and ordinary citizens who have tried again and again, for four years and to little avail, to alert the agency and Governor Cuomo to the many dangers that hydraulic fracking poses to our health, safety, property values, peace of mind and to the climate itself;
  • That it is wrong to shatter the bedrock of New York State and inject it with toxic chemicals.

Hence,

If Governor Cuomo permits high-volume, horizontal hydraulic fracking in any part of New York State, I pledge to join with others to engage in non-violent acts of protest, including demonstrations and other non-violent actions, as my conscience leads me.

I make this pledge of resistance against fracking in order to prevent the destruction and poisoning of New York’s water, air, and food systems, on which life, health, and economic prosperity all depend–including that of future generations.

Signed on this day,

_________________

__________
DATE

What’s with our obsession with terrorism?

Arun Gandhi on the obsession with terrorism

Our obsession with terrorism has driven many of us into such a frenzy of fear that it often borders on the ridiculous.  Last year Lynnea Bylund posted to her Catalyst blog Time To Toss The Terrorist Fear Blather, wherein she correctly pointed out that, “… peanuts and bathtub drownings are by far more dangerous to Americans at home than terrorists,” statistically speaking. But the other day I encountered an even more fundamental variety of this fear.

I met a middle-aged gentleman from the upper middle class economic.  He was very curious about my frequent travels and questioned me at length about a variety of places I had journeyed to.  So I asked him: “Tell me about your travels?”

“Oh, I haven’t been anywhere outside the United States,” he said quite firmly.

“Why not?  Don’t you like to travel?”

“Yes,” he said and added. “But I am afraid. All these terrorists stalking us Americans and I don’t want to die yet.”

“What are you talking about?” I asked.  “Where are these terrorists?”

“Oh, all over the world,” he replied.  And they are just waiting for Americans to leave the country so they can kill them.”

I was so shocked by this bald statement that I blurted out: “That is unadulterated BS!   I think there are far more terrorists in our cities and our own American streets than in the rest of the world.”

“What do you mean?,” he asked quite shocked.

[Read more…]

Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital
… a legacy of hope for the children of Africa

Graca Machel with Nelson Mandela Childrens Hospital

Nelson Mandela and Graca Machel

Today marks the 95th birthday of South Africa president Nelson Mandela.  Among his many achievements, Mandela showed the world the power of forgiveness and compassion, taking Mohandas K. Gandhi’s philosophy of nonviolence up another notch.  His desire to make this world a better and more peaceful place for future generations must inspire all of us to do whatever we can to make this dream a reality.  

On his 95th birthday today let us pledge to ensure that 450 million children of Africa can be ensured healthcare when they need it.  Africa needs a caring, compassionate world.  Can we step up to the challenge?

I have been honored by an invitation from former South Africa First Lady Mrs. Graca Machel to lend my support to Nelson Mandela’s final and perhaps most desired legacy, better health and medical care for the children of Africa: Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital, Johannesburg South Africa.

Please lend a hand and help us spread this message of hope. Be sure to use the #LegacyofHope hash-tag in your tweets and Facebook posts today!

Media and fundraising organized in part by Ms. Jennifer Trubenbach’s Orange County California-based Operation of Hope, the renowned traveling voluntary child surgical mission, and Eric Gast’s FM World Charities, the Legacy of Hope initiative will hold concert fundraisers on two continents to support the construction of the Nelson Mandela Childrens Hospital, honoring Mr. Nelson Mandela’s lifelong commitment to children.  

Sibongile Mkhabela, CEO, Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital Trust said,  “With 450 million children in Africa and only three dedicated children’s hospitals, the need for this specialized facility in southern Africa is paramount. We are excited that FM World Charities and Operation of Hope are sharing in our efforts to make this hospital a reality. Music and children are always a perfect fit.

The launch of the “Legacy of Hope” in North America will be at a private event on July 18, 2013 at New York’s Gotham Hall marks the 95th birthday of Mr. Mandela as well as the start of Legacy of Hope’s journey towards global concerts on two continents on December 7, 2013.

proposed Nelson Mandela Childrens Hospital

In Mandela’s words, the hospital will be a “… credible demonstration of the commitment of African leaders to place the rights of children at the forefront.” No child will be turned away due to inability to pay.

[Read more…]

Swaraj and How the World Must Resist the Forces of Hunger

Swaraj (swa”self” raj “rule”) can mean generally self-governance or “self-rule”, and was used synonymous with “home-rule” by Mahatma Gandhi, but the word typically refers to Gandhi’s concept for Indian independence from foreign domination. Swaraj lays importance on governance not by a hierarchical government, but self-governance through individuals and community building with a focus is on political decentralization.  

Swaraj warrants a stateless society; according to Gandhi, the overall impact of the state on the people is harmful. Gandhi called the state a “soulless machine” which, ultimately, does the greatest harm to mankind. The raison d’etre of the state is that it is an instrument of serving the people. But Gandhi feared that in the name of molding the state into a suitable instrument of serving people, the state would abrogate the rights of the citizens and arrogate to itself the role of grand protector and demand abject acquiescence from them. This would create a paradoxical situation where the citizens would be alienated from the state and at the same time enslaved to it, which according to Gandhi was demoralizing and dangerous. (Wikipedia)

George Kent on Swaraj or self rule in India

Professor George Kent

In his essay Swaraj Against Hunger, Professor George Kent examines how India’s approach to dealing with its massive problems of poverty and malnutrition has been dominated by the view of government-as-provider. People are articulate about what government should do for them, but have little to say about what they could do for themselves, either individually or in community with others. Gandhi-Home-Rule-First-Edition Gandhi's SwarajThere is a need for a change in our collective mindset, to one foreshadowed by Gandhi, one hundred years ago when he penned his famous book, Hind Swaraj (Indian Home Rule). Hind Swaraj served then as a basis for building self-reliance, and thus resisting the British raj. It could now serve as the basis for resisting the rule of hunger in India and the world. From George Kent, Gandhi Marg Volume 32

Swaraj and Swadeshi

It is true that India now produces enough food to feed its entire people, but millions are not fed adequately. Despite India’s growing wealth and its agricultural successes, India still has a huge number of malnourished people, more than any other country. What is there to celebrate in this supposed self-sufficiency?

[Read more…]

Race and justice in the U.S.

Race and justice in the U.S. 

Gandhi_Arun-Photo_(HEADSHOT_2011_Photo Credit Scott_Kafora)The Trayvon Martin case has once again highlighted two issues that have defied solutions in the United States.  There is no doubt that race is still a boiling pot and that the justice system has not yet been able to shake off the vestiges of the Wild West era when matters were settled in the streets and courts were there simply to endorse the action.

 In the 21st Century U.S. race is increasingly transcending the historic prejudices against African Americans to include all people of color.  For someone of color life in the US is not the same as it is for a person who is White.  I am an Indian but I have been mistaken for a Latino and an Asian.  Not that I mind the universal identity but it is unpleasant when there is fear attached to it.

 I have been warned by circumstances and by well-meaning friends never to trespass on private property, whatever the emergency, because a white man with a gun could justifiably shoot and kill you even before talking with you.  Consequently, when driving around the country I pray I do not face an emergency that would force me to seek help from a white home-owner.  When looking for an address in a residential area I have had to drive miles out of the way to a gas station for instructions.  I am never sure of the response from a white person to an enquiry or simply to a greeting.  Of course, that sometimes is the case with African Americans too. 

 There is no doubt that a large part of the fear that non-white people have to live with is because of the private ownership of guns and the right that people have to protect themselves.  During the 80 years of my life I have lived in South Africa, India, England and now in the United States but in no other country did I have to live with the fear of losing my life for something as silly as walking in a neighborhood.  I lived through riots in South Africa and in India but we did not have to live in fear because it was understood that the police and the army are meant to protect the nation and the people.  It seems ironic to me that the citizens of the most advanced and the most civilized nation in the world lives in the greater fear than people in any other country. 

 This dilemma that the United States faces today is because of the over dependence on the law to set things right.  There are issues in the lives of people that cannot be corrected by law.  They can only be corrected by love and respect.  The law can only enable integration but cannot bring about understanding.  This is why the racial pot keeps boiling because no one is making an attempt to bring about respect and understanding between races and cultures.  Aggression only aggravates the problem.

Gandhi Ecology and Personal Environmental Impact

A marvelous analysis of Gandhi Ecology and its relation to world ecological and environmental responsibility was provided by the eminent scholar of applied Gandhian philosophy Dr. M. P. Mathai* in 2010 in Gandhi Marg, the official journal of the Gandhi Peace Foundation.  I have capsulized the key takeaways here.  Adherents of both Gandhi and sustainability can derive much wisdom from Dr. Mathai’s Gandhi ecology consideration.

Gandhi ecology is key

Dr. M. P. Mathai

“Humanity has come out of its foolish self-complacency and has awakened to the realization that over-exploitation of nature has led to a very severe degradation and devastation of our environment. Scholars, through several studies, have brought out the direct connection between consumption and environmental degradation, underscored by applied Gandhi Ecology” 

The most pertinent question today, therefore, seems to be: ‘why these violations?’ Why sidestep the most crucial existential issues relating to the protection of ecosystem?

It could be reasonably argued that one of the most important reasons why humanity is not able to retrace its steps from the perilous path of self-annihilating eco-destruction is its addiction to modern or contemporary lifestyle and embrace Gandhi ecology.

[Read more…]

Gandhi’s Grandaughter: An Interview With Ela Gandhi

Gandhi's Grandaughter Ela in South AfricaIn 1893, M.K. “Mahatma” Gandhi came to South Africa as a young lawyer seeking to start his law career. However, after he experienced first hand a traumatic incident of racial discrimination in Pietermaritzburg S.A., he dedicated himself to the pursuit of social justice and equal rights. During the 21 years he lived in South Africa, he developed and implemented his seminal strategy of Satyagraha, which is chronicled in his book “Satyagraha in South Africa.” While in South Africa, he also founded Phoenix Settlement, a communal ashram that served as the location for much of his sociopolitical and spiritual work.* 

*Source: Varun Soni at HuffingtonPost.com

Mahatma Gandhi’s granddaughter, noted scholar Ela Gandhi, has spent her life as the custodian of his legacy in South Africa as well as the caretaker of Phoenix Settlement. She is also a prominent peace activist and served as a Member of Parliament in South Africa from 1994-2004. In 2007, she was conferred the Padma Bhushan award from the Government of India, which is India’s third highest civilian award. Huffpost’s Varun Soni recently had the opportunity to meet Ela Gandhi in Durban, South Africa and they discussed the legacy of Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela, the transition to democracy in South Africa, the evolution of the Indian community in South Africa and the politics of the African National Congress (ANC).

 From Huffpost 

When Mahatma Gandhi left South Africa for India in 1914, your father went with him. Why did your father return from India to South Africa to live at the Phoenix settlement?

 After my grandfather returned to India from South Africa, he was called back to South Africa for various reasons. So he asked my father and uncle to return to South Africa and carry on the work he left behind. They settled in Phoenix Settlement but it was difficult to live there because there were no services. So my uncle went back to India while my father continued on in South Africa. While in South Africa, my father ran the Indian Opinion, which is the newspaper that my grandfather started in 1903.

 In 1949, the Durban Riots between Zulus and Indians left 142 people dead and created a deep rift between the two communities. What was the impact of the riots on Phoenix Settlement and what are your memories of that time?

 My memory is that of a 9-year-old. We were in Durban when the riots began and panic spread quickly through the city. My dad was overseas at the time so my brother picked us up by car and rushed us home. On the way, children were throwing stones at our car. When we got back to Phoenix Settlement, people told us that this is God’s place and no one will touch it. So both Zulus and Indians protected Phoenix Settlement and nothing happened to the settlement during the riots.

 >> Continue reading at Huffington Post 

Arun Gandhi Boundary Peace Initiative Interview Part 3

Part 3 of my interview with Laura Savinkoff of Boundary Peace Initiative 

(part 1 HERE + part 2 HERE) 

6.  BPI: To what extent, in your opinion, does desperate poverty or wealth inequities, the violation gandhiand disregard of others contribute to increased violence within nations and among nations?  What do you feel would establish principles and behaviors that would not only resolve conflict, without violence, but also not create it in the first place?  What are the principles that might create a global dynamic of positive achievements rather than one of just avoiding negative outcomes?

Arun Gandhi: There is no doubt that disparities create divisions and divisions lead to conflict.  There are many disparities in ours societies today, besides economic.  There is religious, social, national, communal, sectarian and many other forms of disparities that divide people between US and Them.  Societies today need a complete overhaul.  We have to replace the greed, selfishness, arrogance, and the many other negative attitudes that we harbor with more positive attitudes like Love, Respect, Understanding, Acceptance, Compassion and so on.  It is only when we are able to see people as human beings and no identify them by the labels we have put on people that we will be able to reduce strife substantially. [Read more…]

Gandhi Raj Ghat Friday Commemorative Ceremony

   Friday Gandhi Raj Ghat Commemorative Ceremony

Repost Source: Gandhi Legacy Tour 

Gandhi Samadhi Raj Ghat

Arun Gandhi is pictured circumambulating the Raj Ghat.

Enjoy this beautiful virtual tour and panoramic view of the Raj Ghat, Gandhi Samadhi in New Delhi one of the places we visit on the Gandhi Legacy Tours of India.

The Raj Ghat is a memorial to Mahatma Gandhi, a beautiful sacred black marble platform that marks the spot of Mahatma Gandhi’s cremation one day after his assassination.  

 

 

A commemorative ceremony is held every Friday. 

[Read more…]

Gandhi’s List: The Seven Blunders or Social Sins

The ‘Seven Blunders of the World‘ (aka the Seven Social Sins) is a list that my Grandfather  gave to me, written on a piece of paper, on our final day together, shortly before his assassination in 1948.

The Seven Blunders  are:

Seven Blunders of the World by Arun Gandhi

This list grew from Gandhi’s search for the roots of violence. He called these acts of passive violence. Preventing these is the best way to prevent oneself or one’s society from reaching a point of violence, he would say.

To this list, I modestly added an eighth blunder, “rights without responsibilities.”

The idea behind the first blunder originates from the feudal practice of Zamindari. The first and the second blunders are interrelated. In the final analysis they are all interrelated, and they lay at the core of the phenomena of violence.  If not resisted, these 7 (or 8) deadly sins can destroy both persons and countries.

“We live in a world in which these social sins flourish as much today as they did in Gandhi’s time; surely the battle against them is still worth waging.”  — Peter Gomes, The Scandalous Gospel of Jesus

Arun Gandhi Dialogue with Boundary Peace Initiative Part 2

Part 2 of my interview with Laura Savinkoff of Boundary Peace Initiative “BPI” (part 1 HERE and part 3 HERE)

3.   BPI: In general do you have any suggestions for the global peace movement so that it might be more effective in its resistance to the rise in economic imperialism with its continuing military oppression of ‘service or supply’ areas, the erosion or, in some places, total disregard for human rights and civil liberties, the takeover of nations and/or regions for exploitation by financial super powers and its economic “development” and wealth reallocation that often ignores the basic, human needs of the many, valuing them solely as another ‘resource’ for their productive/purchasing capacities?

MK Gandhi Painting in Ahmedabad

Painting of Bapu in Ahmedabad

Since our goals in life are negative, becoming successful by any means possible, it brings forth the worst in humanity.  We even tell our children to be successful in life (and success is measured in material terms) and get to the top by any means possible.  The first seeds of greed, selfishness and exploitation are planted in little minds.  Peace can become possible only when we collectively decide that materialism is not the ultimate goal in life and that we are not individual islands that can survive on our own, that we will bring about the “Change we wish to see in the world.” [Read more…]

My Anniversary Today

Today is my wedding Anniversary. My late wife Sunanda Gandhi continues to be a part of us as she lives in my heart and in our hearts.

From Gandhi Worldwide

Sunanda Gandhi (1932–2007) was an author, researcher, nurse and, along with her husband Arun Gandhi, co-founder of the M. K. Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence presently located at University of Rochester

Sunanda Gandhi with her husband ArunPrior, Sunanda and Arun, along with friends, organized India’s Center for Social Unity which developed self-help, economic models for India’s rural poor, assisting in breaking the cycle of poverty and keeping children at home and in school.

Between 1985 and 1987, Sunanda helped edit The Suburban Echo, a news weekly from Bombay.

Sunanda met Arun Gandhi while he was in the hospital. As a young nurse, Sunanda cared for Arun after surgery in India; a romance bloomed and their shared domestic life and work in nonviolence began.

Sunanda Gandhi’s family were advocates of British rule and opposed to Gandhi, so the couple had many obstacles to overcome.

[Read more…]

SuperAdobe Rising in Kolhapur India!

Repost Via: Scott Kafora Gandhi Worldwide

To commemorate Gandhi’s first civil resistance 120th anniversary we are happy to make the following exciting announcement…

After three years of intensive research, architectural programming, design, development and budgeting by GWEI and AVANI (see Catalyst House October 22 2012 and January 5 2013) the first two of up to 16 Superadobe earthen-based dome structures take shape on a five acre plot of rural farmland just south of Kolhapur, India.

The Times of India (The largest English language newspaper) featured an article on our work on Saturday, June 1, 2013.

(Click image to enlarge)

00 adobe 2

[Read more…]