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
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.