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Volume 68, Issue 112, Monday, March 17, 2003


Gandhi's grandson urges nonviolence

By Lisa Street
The Daily Cougar

The fifth grandson of the renowned peace activist Mahatma Gandhi identified his grandfatheris philosophy of nonviolence and its link to current conflicts in a lecture titled "Justice Through the Eyes of My Grandfather" at the Third Annual Greater Houston Area Social Work Awards Breakfast on Friday.

The key to understanding nonviolence is to realize that "we have to live it to be able to practice it effectively," said Arun Gandhi, founder of the Mahatma K. Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence.

Arun Gandhi reiterated the teachings of his grandfather, Mahatma Gandhi, at a social work awards breakfast Friday. 

Pin Lim/The Daily Cougar

The first lesson of the philosophy is to understand the connection between passive or nonphysical violence, such as hate, and physical violence, he said.

"We commit passive violence every day consciously and unconsciously, and that generates anger in the victim, and the victim then explodes into physical violence," Gandhi said.

We must cut that fuel supply to see peaceful results and make a change, he added.

"Unless we become the change we wish to see in the world, we can never really create that kind of peace and harmony," Gandhi told the audience, reiterating the motto of his institute.

"We have to respect ourselves, respect each other and respect our connections with all of creation," he said.

Through that respect we will discover ourselves and our reasons for being, he said.

Were he in President Bushis shoes, Gandhi said he would have done two things.

"In the long term, I would have tried to find out how best we can improve our relationships with the rest of the world, and how we can cooperate with each other and work with each other so that we can create a better living condition for people all over the world instead of just for ourselves," said Gandhi.

Because we need to handle the terrorists who are presently out to harm people, he said, "in the short term I would have gone to the United Nations with humility, not with arrogance. I would not go to the United Nations and tell them you are either with us or against us and we are going to act with you or without you."

Gandhi is against the war on Iraq and feels that it is not going to solve any problems, but instead create more terrorism through death and violence.

"I donit think the sacrifice of our young men and innocent Iraqi people in the hope of getting rid of Saddam Hussein is justified by another," Gandhi said.

Containment worked for many years with the Soviet Union, he said, so the same type of containment could be used with Iraq to wait until its own people remove Saddam from power.

The war the United States is about to engage with Iraq "is only going to lead to more terrorism," Gandhi said.

We need to help create a better life for others, he added, by reaching out to the rest of the world and sharing our resources and technology.

The worldis negative attitude, developed from the adoption of materialism and capitalism, prevents it from extending kindness to those in need, Gandhi said.

"Capitalism and materialism have a tendency to bring out the negative in individuals," he said, because accepting capitalism and materialism as ways of life require self-centered thinking.

Gandhiis grandfather gave him a list of what he called the "seven sins of the world" and told him to dedicate his life to changing them in order to create peace and harmony.

"What he wrote down was wealth without work, pleasure without conscience, knowledge without character, commerce without morality, science without humanity, worship without sacrifice, and politics without principle, " Gandhi said. He recently added the eighth blunder, "rights without responsibilities," to the list.

Gandhi came to the UH Hilton Hotel and Conference Center to deliver the UH Graduate School of Social Work Gerson David Lecture during the social work breakfast.

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