Renowned peace activist and grandson of Mohandas “Mahatma” Gandhi, the legendary leader of India, made time to speak with some Hamline students who asked to interview him before his visit to campus September 28 for the 2010 Commitment to Community event. Hamline University public relations intern Rick Dornfeld was among those students; he wrote the following story after that conversation with Arun Gandhi:
Growing up in South Africa, Arun Gandhi said he struggled with racism and hatred and that he got into the habit of responding with revenge. Then as a teenager, he spent 18 months living with his grandfather, the legendary Mohandas “Mahatma” Gandhi. During that time, he said, he learned a lot about his grandfather’s philosophy of nonviolence and how to make it part of his own life.
“I learned that we must create peace and harmony in ourselves if we want to create it in society,” Arun Gandhi said, “but the larger problem is that our relationships are selfishly motivated, and we aren’t paying attention to the consequences.”
Gandhi does believe achieving peace is possible in today’s world. He points to things that were thought to be impossible only a few decades ago that now have become commonplace. He also believes that the students of today have an opportunity to begin anew and improve the world for future generations.
“If we stay committed to the process, peace is possible,” Gandhi said, “though we cannot get complacent and just swim with the tide."
Gandhi plans to discuss some of the lessons of his grandfather, such as improving relationships with others and changing anger into something positive.
Hamline’s Commitment to Community keynote address will be held Tuesday, September 28, 2010 at 7 p.m. in the Hamline United Methodist Church, located at 1514 Englewood Avenue in Saint Paul.
The event is free and open to the public. Tickets are limited. You may pick yours up to reserve your seat for the event at the Bush Student Center, located at 1551 Hewitt Avenue on Hamline University’s Saint Paul campus. For more information about Gandhi’s visit, contact the Center for Multicultural and International Student Affairs at 651-523-2423.