May 11, 2011
When his grandfather Mohandas was assassinated in 1948, Arun Gandhi struggled with his anger. The life of the Indian spiritual leader was cut short, and Arun wanted revenge.
Yet Gandhi once said "an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind," and Arun remembered.
Before his death, Gandhi taught daily lessons to the young Arun in the ways of ahimsa, a word from the Sanskrit language meaning non-violence. These teachings later helped Arun redirect anger over his grandfather's murder, and he was called to turn ahimsa into his life mission as a journalist and social justice activist.
Arun Gandhi will speak about this message of peace on Monday, May 16, at 7 p.m. at Templeton Blackburn Memorial Auditorium. He is the keynote speaker for OHIO's International Week, which runs May 14 to May 22.
“He's had a very unique experience growing up, and I think we can take a lot from what he's learned. He's living memory,” said Amanda Yusko, chair of the International Week Committee and the International Student and Faculty Services advisor.
Born in racially segregated South Africa in 1934, Arun was tormented from both sides for being neither white nor black enough. He moved to India as a young man and wrote for The Times of India, one of the highest circulated English language newspapers, where he worked for 30 years. During that time, he and his late wife Sunanda rescued and helped find homes for abandoned Indian children.
The two moved to the United States in 1987, and in 1991 founded the M.K. Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence, which is now located at the University of Rochester, New York. Arun resigned from the institute in 2008 after a controversy about a blog post he wrote for the Washington Post. Later that year, Arun founded the Gandhi Worldwide Education Institute. He still writes for the religion blog “On Faith” on the Post website.
"We're all global citizens and interconnected, and that has to play back on our [International Week] theme of 'Building a Legacy: Peace by Piece,'" Yusko said. "Nonviolence isn't the easiest way, but it's the right way. And I think you can make a lot more influence doing good rather than harm."
The lecture is sponsored in part by the Ki-Chul Andrew Jung International Week Endowment Fund. The endowment honors the memory of Andrew Jung, an international student who died shortly after graduating from Ohio University. A memorial tree was also planted next to Alden Library in Jung's memory.
Other sponsors of the event include: the Student Activities Commission (SAC), International Student Union (ISU), International Student and Faculty Services (ISFS) and the Office of Education Abroad (OEA).