Arun Gandhi, addresses his audience at the Kenner Lecture on Cultural Understanding and Tolerance on Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2017, in Baker Hall. Gandhi told personal memories of his grandfather and the need for nonviolence and peace. (Maxim Beard/B&W Staff)

‘Lessons from my grandfather’: Arun Gandhi comes to Lehigh


Arun Gandhi sat down with The Brown and White for a brief question and answer session, which can be found here.

Tormented and ridiculed for the color of his skin, Arun Gandhi was constantly angered by the prejudices that came with living in South Africa.

At age 12, Arun Gandhi’s parents sent him to India to live with his grandfather, Mahatma Gandhi. During those 18 months, he did not realize the impact his grandfather would have on his life.

Arun Gandhi spoke at Lehigh on Tuesday evening as a part of the Kenner Lecture Series on Cultural Understanding and Tolerance. Gandhi’s lecture was titled “Lessons Learned from My Grandfather: Nonviolence in a Violent World.” It focused on how to use nonviolence to love, respect, accept and understand human society.

Arun Gandhi is a peace activist, president of the Gandhi Worldwide Education Institute and author of two children’s books, “Grandfather Gandhi” and “Be the Change.”

Arun Gandhi said the first lesson his grandfather taught him was to understand anger and use his energy to be a positive influence.

To share his lesson, Mahatma Gandhi used an analogy by comparing anger to electricity.

“Anger is like electricity,” Mahatma Gandhi said. “Its just as powerful and just as useful, but only if we use it intelligently.”

Arun Gandhi offered his own wisdom to the crowd gathered in Baker Hall.

“Let’s channel that electrical energy and bring it into our lives and use it for the good of humanity,” Arun Gandhi said. “We must learn to channel anger in the same way so that we can use that energy constructively rather than abuse it.”

Arun Gandhi emphasized how anger is important to fuel change, but one must learn how to channel that anger properly and distinguish right from wrong.

His grandfather also taught him about peace. Arun Gandhi used a story of cultivating wheat to explain the importance of fostering peace in the world.

“If someone else found peace and kept it locked up in their heart, it would perish with them,” Arun Gandhi said. “If they interact with peace, it would sprout and grow and very soon we will have a whole world of peacemakers.”

Ed White, ’82, said he loved Mahatma Gandhi’s lesson about the grain of wheat.

“To be successful with anything in life, you have to plant the seed, cultivate and let it grow in the elements, help it to blossom and then it will multiply, but if you keep it to yourself, nothing will change,” White said. “So the key to peaceful nonviolence and change in the world is to spread the seed.”

Rachel Moyer, ’17, was impressed with how relevant Arun Gandhi’s lecture was to the current political climate on campus. Moyer said she was glad so many Lehigh students attended and the dialogue the lecture encouraged.

Arun Gandhi concluded his speech saying he hopes the Lehigh community can come together to make the world a better place through his grandfather’s lessons of nonviolence and peace.

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