Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Arun Manilal Gandhi (born April 14 1934, Durban, South Africa) is the fifth grandson of Mahatma Gandhi through his second son Manilal. Following the footsteps of his grandfather, he is also a socio-political activist, although he is not a hermit as his grandfather was.
Born to Sushila and Manilal Gandhi, Arun's childhood days under South Africa's apartheid for someone of Indian heritage was considerably difficult, humiliating, and often violently abusive. Like many Indians, he was demeaned by Europeans for not being white, and ostracized by Africans for not being black, and subject to racially-motivated violence from extremists in both groups. This led to a series of resentful and angry teenaged years.
While living with his grandfather Mahatma Gandhi from 1946 until his assassination in 1948, Arun experienced the most tumultuous period in India's struggle to free itself from British rule. He saw the first-hand effects of a national campaign for liberation which was carried out through both violent and nonviolent means. Both the events and Mahatma Gandhi's teachings strongly influenced Arun.
When Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated in 1948, Arun felt such anger that he wanted to take revenge upon the assassin. Then he remembered his grandfather’s words: Never react immediately in anger. Following that, he returned to South Africa.
Although himself a Hindu, Gandhi's has worked closely with the Christian priests and his philosophies are strongly influenced by Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim and Catholic Christian concepts. Like his grandfather, he also believed in the concept of 'non-violence' (ahimsa).
In 1987, along with his entire family, Arun Gandhi moved to the United States to work on a study at the University of Mississippi. This study examined and contrasted the sorts of prejudices that existed in India, the U.S., and South Africa. Afterward they moved to Memphis, Tennessee and founded the M.K. Gandhi Institute for Non-Violence. This institute is dedicated to applying the principles of nonviolence at both local and global scales.
Arun has given many speeches about non-violence in many countries. During his tour to Palestine, he urged the Palestinians to resist Israeli occupation peacefully to assure their freedom.
Arun's wife, Sunanda, (born 1932), whom he married in 1958, is also a partner in Arun's non-violent campaigns. They have a son, Tushar , who is also an activist, and a daughter, Archana, and four grandchildren.
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