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I learned from my Grandfather – Arun M. Gandhi

By Joe Starkey



“121 years ago, today, Grandfather tried to take a first class compartment on the railway” were the opening words of Arun Gandhi on my birthday this year of 2014. At the first stop a white man told him blacks could not travel first class. Despite having a ticket, the police and RR officials simply picked him up and threw him off. That night spent sitting on that platform, thinking on life created the non-violent movement. At 12 living in Africa and having been beat up by both white and black youths for having the wrong skin color, Arun was a very angry young man ready to meet violence with equal violence. He spent the next two years living with his grandfather and learning.He was married at 13 and they began to live together in his parents’ home at age 16. One of his early marriage lessons was after being told by ………….. That wives MUST obey their husbands and told her to remain in the house the next day. She did not and he again admonished her to stay in the house all day. She then stated she had been taught to obey her elders and if she was not to obey his mother, he needed to go to his mother and tell his mother that his wife would no longer obey her but only him. Everyone there understood the lesson.We frequently define Peace as the Absence of War but there are conflicts all the time. He gave two lessons first being to make best possible use of earth’s resources. The second is that living in poverty is violence against humanity. “Physical violence – We understand.” Passive violence is not understood as violence. Passive violence creates anger which creates physical violence. Peace has to be built in self before one can affect violence in others.“When you name = we have a label. Place a label and you create a wall.” Religion is misused to control people thru fear but religion is not about fear or control but is about love and respect. Grandfather Gandhi studied all religions and found none had a complete truth but all had little pieces of truth.Non-violence is about love, respect and compassion. Violence is the worst of people while non-violence brings love and compassion with a positive way of life. “When angry, don’t act. Write it in your journal and study this with intent to find a solution.” He then talked about child raising and holds that a fault in the child is the responsibility of the parents. In non-violence the child is not punished and the parent does penance. He was watching a double header John Wayne feature and forgot the pickup time for his father. Instead of punishing Arum for lying as to why he was late, his father walked the eighteen miles home in the dark. So each person must decide between guilt that makes us self-aware and guild that causes pain and punishment.He told the audience that Gandhi and Martin Luther King were born ordinary but made the decision to make something of themselves and each person here can make that decision today

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