For Immediate Release — Thursday, March 16, 2006


Mary E. McCrank

Media Relations Officer

(585) 245-5516

Arun Gandhi, grandson of legendary Mahatma Gandhi, to speak at SUNY Geneseo March 28

GENESEO, N.Y. — Arun Gandhi, grandson of legendary peace fighter and spiritual leader Mohandas K. "Mahatma" Gandhi, will speak at 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 28, in the MacVittie College Union Ballroom at the State University of New York at Geneseo. The talk is free and open to the public.

Arun Gandhi, who has committed his life to teaching others the understanding of nonviolence philosophy, will deliver a talk titled "Nonviolence or Nonexistence: Options for the 21st Century." He will talk about his life, including his 18-month stay with his grandfather in India during British rule. Growing up in apartheid South Africa as a person of Indian heritage meant racial confrontations with both blacks and whites. As a young boy, Arun Gandhi was beaten up by black youths for not being black and by white youths because he was not white. Filled with rage and plotting to avenge his beatings, he subscribed to Charles Atlas' bodybuilding magazines so he would have the strength to fight back. When his parents discovered the reason for their 12-year-old son's sudden fascination with exercise, they decided a visit to his grandfather in India was in order.

What followed was an 18-month stay with one of the world's great leaders that would give him the keys to the powerful philosophy of nonviolence, and help shape the foundation for his life's work. It was a dangerous and exciting time, as Mahatma Gandhi was leading the people of India in their revolutionary, nonviolent struggle for independence from British rule.

After leading successful projects for economic and social reform in India, Arun Gandhi came to the United States in 1988 to complete research for a comparative study on racism in America. In 1991, he and his wife, Sunanda, founded the M.K. Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence, headquartered at Christian Brothers University in Memphis, Tenn. The Institute's mission is to foster understanding of nonviolence and to put that philosophy to practical use through workshops, lectures and community outreach programs. His talents have brought him before governmental, social and educational audiences in numerous countries, including Croatia, France, Ireland, Holland, Lithuania and Nicaragua.

His visit is sponsored by the Student Association's Activities Commission.