Today the founder of the M.K. Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence, Dr. Arun Gandhi shares his grandfather’s teachings and more as the next speaker in the Salisbury University Center for Conflict Resolution’s “One Person Can Make a Difference” Lecture Series. His talk, “Nonviolence in the Age of Terrorism,” is 7 p.m. Monday, November 12, in Holloway Hall Auditorium.
Gandhi is the first Conflict Scholar-in-Residence at SU this fall, thanks in part to a prestigious $80,000 Wilson Elkins Professorship awarded to Dr. Brian Polkinghorn, executive director of the Center for Conflict Resolution. During his residency, Gandhi is guest lecturer in a course on leadership and nonviolence co-taught with Polkinghorn.
During one of the first classes, Gandhi related a story about an early lesson he learned from his famous grandfather about peace and pacifism: To help fund his crusades for peace, independence of India and other issues, Mahatma Gandhi would charge $5 per autograph during public appearances. It was 12-year-old Arun’s job to collect the money and autograph books from audience members. Arun used this task to test his grandfather’s advice that channeling anger toward a solution rather than allowing it to grow was key in his quest for peace. During Mahatma’s meetings with high-level officials, Arun often barged in and demanded a free autograph, expecting Mahatma to become mad over the disturbance.
However, rather than angrily sending him out of the room or giving in and signing his grandson’s autograph book, Mahatma would merely place his hand over Arun’s mouth and hold him close, despite objections from many political leaders who encouraged Mahatma to merely sign the book and move on with the meeting. Arun never got his free autograph, but instead learned that violence is not the only outcome of anger. If channeled properly, it can strengthen bonds and increase the chances for peace.
With his appearance at SU, Gandhi joins the ranks of recent guests in the lecture series, including former President of Poland Lech Walesa and former President of South Africa F.W. de Klerk (who received his first U.S. honorary doctorate from SU). The series is free, but tickets are required. Tickets are available at the Information Desk of the Guerrieri University Center.
For more information call 410-219-2873 or visit the SU Web site at www.salisbury.edu.