Indian-American activist Arun Gandhi is devoted to teaching his grandfather’s philosophy of nonviolence, whether he’s talking about conflicts in the Middle East or protests in the St. Louis area.
Nonviolence “is the only thing that is going to save this world, if it is going to be saved at all,” Gandhi said. His grandfather, Mahatma Gandhi, led nonviolent civil disobedience protests and inspired civil rights movements around the world.
“We have to change with ourselves,” Arun Gandhi told “St. Louis on the Air” host Don Marsh on Wednesday. “That is what Gandhi meant when he said ‘We must become the change we wish to see in the world.’ If we cannot create peace in ourselves and create harmony in ourselves, we are not going to be able to create it outside. Through the self, we can transform the world. The world is not going to change by law and it’s not going to change because we wish it. It has to be built and it has to be nurtured by all of us.”
Other changes need to be made to address world problems too, Gandhi said.
“We should stop being crisis managers and become more conflict managers. Every time a crisis happens, we just want to send our military or go and bomb them and destroy them. I think it’s the mindset of good people and bad people. When we divide people between good and bad, we feel that if we get rid of the bad people, we will be left with a world full of good people. And that’s not true because every one of us is capable of doing good and bad. It depends on what buttons get pressed.”
Although he wouldn’t mind getting rid of politicians: “I feel that if we have a world without politicians, we’ll be very happy and we’ll be able to create peace very easily.”
When asked about recent events in Ferguson, Gandhi said the situation has not been correctly approached.
“We have looked at it only as racism, and racism is a byproduct of prejudice,” he said. “Prejudice exists in every one of us, whether we are black, white, brown, yellow. Whatever our color, wherever we come from, we have prejudice. It is those prejudices that spawn these kinds of byproducts like racism and gender disparities and homophobia.”
Gandhi’s grandfather led nonviolent protests, and Arun Gandhi still believes in the tactic but cautioned that protests should not be governed by anger.
“When Dr. (Martin Luther) King (Jr.) said that we cannot fight violence with violence, he also meant that we cannot fight hate with hate. Then we are only multiplying hate,” Gandhi said.
Hope and Healing gala for the St. Louis Center for Survivors of Torture and War Trauma
- When: 8 p.m. Oct. 18, 2014
- Where: Moto Museum, 3441 Olive St., St. Louis
- More information
“St. Louis on the Air” discusses issues and concerns facing the St. Louis area. The show is produced by Mary Edwards and Alex Heuer and hosted by veteran journalist Don Marsh. Follow us on Twitter: @STLonAir.