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Resolve conflicts through dialogue: Gandhi’s grandson

The grandson of Mahatma Gandhi is sticking by what he wrote in a blog that led to him being forced to resign from his post at a peace institute in the US, which he had founded.

india Updated: Jan 14, 2009 01:08 IST
Naomi Canton

The grandson of Mahatma Gandhi is sticking by what he wrote in a blog that led to him being forced to resign from his post at a peace institute in the US, which he had founded.

The comments by Arun Gandhi (75) on a Washington Post blog, describing Israel and the Jews as the “biggest players in a (global) culture of violence” sparked outrage among the Jews in the US forcing him to resign last year as director of M.K. Gandhi Institute for Non-Violence in New York.

Speaking to Hindustan Times while visiting his son Tushar in Mumbai, the visiting professor said: “I wanted to start a discussion on an alternative to the 60 years of violence we have seen in that region (Israel and Palestine). I don’t regret what I wrote. The only thing I feel sorry about is that instead of starting a dialogue they have continued the war and that is tragic. If the 60 years’ violence has not solved the issue, it’s not going to in the next 60 years either,” he said.

Arun added that the waging war on Pakistan in revenge for the Mumbai terror attacks was also not the answer. “Bombing Pakistan will not resolve a conflict. We have to look at what conflicts exist between the two nations and how to resolve them using dialogue. People think of non -violence as a reactive thing to an injustice but my grandfather’s non-violence was much more than that, it is about how we as individuals practise non-violence in our lives,” he added.

He then quoted Mahatma Gandhi: “They (the Indian people) will follow me in life, worship me in death, but not make my cause their cause.”

He said one of his core aims now was encourage Indians in villages to become self-reliant and not migrate to cities. “I lived with Mahatma between 12 years and 14 years and some of the lessons he taught me were profound and I want to share them with the world,” he added.