Arun Gandhi, grandson of icon Mahatma Gandhi, came to speak at UNH on Wednesday night as a part of the MUB’s Current Issues Lecture Series.
Several organizations worked together to bring the peace and non-violence speaker to UNH, including Amnesty International, STAND, the Memorial Union Building, Residential Life, and Hillel.
Margaret Quick, UNH sophomore and STAND president, was excited to have Gandhi speak for the community in order to “educate” and “empower” individuals in the audience on the peace movement.
“You don’t see a lot of compassion right now,” Quick said. “What we’re trying to promote as an organization is his exact message that we need to bring humanity back to humanity.”
During the talk, Gandhi shared his grandfather’s philosophies on peace that were passed down onto him. Gandhi considers himself to be a “peace farmer,” planting seeds in the minds of individuals to “transform the world and make it a more peaceful one.”
Gandhi’s focus was on a wide range of issues related to peace and non-violence. He spoke of anger and the dangers that come along with it. Gandhi told the story of how he was sent to live with his grandfather in India after he became angry that he was facing discrimination while living in South Africa. With the help of his grandfather, he learned how to control his anger by understanding the nature behind it.
Gandhi also spent time discussing passive violence, which is “the fuel that ignites physical violence.” He shared how his grandfather told him that passive acts of violence are committedconsciously and unconsciously every day. This generates anger in the victim, and this anger leads to physical violence. He also equated passive violence with discrimination, oppression, and wasting resources. He declared the latter as the “worst form of violence.”
“Imagine how many billions of people could be fed with that waste?” Gandhi asked the audience.
Gandhi also touched upon the importance of acting out of compassion, and not pity. Borrowing his grandfather’s words, Gandhi said that we must “become the change we wish to see in the world.”
Nicole Pelizza, UNH senior, came to the lecture out of curiosity and was “inspired” by his messages.
“Gandhi is such a big figure in the whole peace movement,” Pelizza said. “I really liked his ideas on passive violence and loved everything that he had to say.”
UNH sophomore Sriyaa Shah was initially drawn to the lecture because of her background, along with his worldviews.
“I personally came because I’m an Indian and I know what his family did for my country,” Shah said. “They fought for equality for women’s rights and for better education.”
After the lecture, Gandhi took questions from the audience. Some of the questions he received were on spirituality, systemic oppression, the United Nations, and even the presidential candidates. Gandhi also commented on why it is so important for young students to care about peace.
“The young people are going to be leaders of tomorrow and the leaders of this world,” Gandhi said. “I’m just hoping that, like a farmer, I go out and plant seeds of peace and young people will think about and let it germinate so change will take place.”