Arun Gandhi — author, activist and grandson of Mahatma Gandhi — will speak Saturday at Farmington Friends Meeting
FARMINGTON — Arun Gandhi, grandson of India’s philosopher, peace activist and independence movement leader Mahatma Gandhi, will return to Farmington Saturday to share his views on the role of anger, violence and nonviolence.
The 83-year-old author, journalist, activist, university lecturer and Rochester resident will make his second visit to Farmington Friends Meeting (Church) at 7 p.m. on Oct. 28 to spotlight highlights from his recent book, “The Gift of Anger.”
Arun’s poignant and timely exploration of the true path from anger to peace is sponsored by the Peace and Social Concerns Committee of Farmington Friends Meeting, in partnership with the 1816 Farmington Quaker Meetinghouse.
Event organizer Will Bontrager said last year’s event took place immediately after the election, and was very well attended.
“I’m with the Quaker organization and we’re very interested in peace initiatives and nonviolence as an answer to violence,” said Bontrager, who first became friends with Arun through the Fellowship of Reconciliation, based in Nyack, NY .
“Anger can be destructive or constructive,” said Bontrager. “It can make you move in an aggressive, violent manner, or it can make you want to change the situation in a positive way.”
Arum’s aim is to inspire the latter.
Born in 1934 in Durban, South Africa, Arun grew up under South African apartheid law. His childhood was marked by “eye-for-an-eye” justice, shaped when he was beaten by white South Africans for being too black, and by black South Africans for being too white.
At 12, Arun’s parents took him to stay at Sevagram, his grandfather’s famous ashram. There he lived for two years under his grandfather’s wing until Gandhi’s assassination in 1948.
From his parents and grandparents, Arun learned that justice does not mean revenge. It means transforming the opponent through love and suffering — and understanding nonviolence means understanding violence.
In his most recent book, “The Gift of Anger,” Arun describes his moving journey of self-discovery as he learns to harness the power of anger to bring about good. He learns to see the world through new eyes, using his grandfather’s ten vital life lessons of self-discovery, identity, dealing with anger, depression, loneliness, friendship, and family.
Quoting his grandfather, Arun said, “We should not be ashamed of anger. It’s a very good and a very powerful thing that motivates us. But what we need to be ashamed of is the way we abuse it.”
“The Gift of Anger” has been translated in 18 languages and has been on the bestseller list in Germany for 14 weeks, and in Great Britain for four weeks, Bontrager said.
All proceeds from book sales and speaking engagements go to support an orphanage and school in India, Bontrager said.
For 30 years in India, Arun and his late wife Sunanda rescued more than 125 orphan children from the streets and placed them in loving homes around the world. Together they began a Center for Social Change, impacting the lives of thousands of people in more than 300 villages.
After immigrating to the U.S. in 1987, they founded the M. K. Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence, now part of the University of Rochester.
After Sunanda died in 2007, Arun founded the Gandhi Worldwide Education Institute, which promotes community building in economically depressed areas of the world through the joining of Gandhian philosophy and vocational education for children and their parents.
The Saturday event in Farmington will include discussion and the chance to ask questions. Books will be available for sale and book signing, and light refreshments provided. The event is free, and all are welcome.
Following his stop in Farmington, Arun is headed to Holland for another engagement.
If you go
WHAT: Arun Gandhi presents "The Gift of Anger"
WHEN: 7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 28
WHERE: Farmington Friends Meeting (Church), 187 County Road 8, Farmington
DETAILS: Arun Gandhi, grandson of peace activist Mahatma Gandhi, will talk about lessons he learned from his grandfather.
INFO: Visit www.quakercloud.org/cloud/farmington-friends-church
About Farmington Friends Church
The faith community describes itself as “Farmington Friends, Quakers, your neighbors for more than 200 years.”
“We’re not the picture on your grandmother’s oatmeal, nor your father’s oil change, nor a famous university’s mascot,” its website states. “We are a worshiping community where all are welcomed. We are called to listen to one another and to God’s still, small voice, leading us to simplicity and peace-making, stewardship and community-building, service, equality and integrity.”