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Remembering Arun Gandhi: Grandson of Mahatma Gandhi Passes Away at 89

Remembering Arun Gandhi: Grandson of Mahatma Gandhi Passes Away at 89

Written by Sanjay Kumar

On Tuesday (May 2) morning, Arun Manilal Gandhi, the author and grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, passed away in Avani Sanstha located near Kolhapur city.

Arun had arrived in Kolhapur on February 28 with plans to stay for ten days. For the past 24 years, he had been visiting the Avani Sanstha run by activist Anuradha Bhosale, which focuses on aiding girls and women, particularly homeless women.

Bhosale said, “Before planning to leave, he got ill. He had normal flu-like conditions. We got him admitted to a hospital. He got well and returned to Avani Sanstha but doctors had asked him not to travel. On Monday evening, we celebrated Maharashtra Day. He told girls to hold their state and country the dearest among any other thing.”

Bhosale said Arun Gandhi kept on writing till night and in the morning, he passed away on his bed.

Bhosale said, “I have association with Arun Gandhi for the last two and a half decades. Every time he used to visit, he used to stay with us. He wanted to set up a museum of Mahatma Gandhi’s memories in the form of pictures he preserved. He had the fortune to be with Mahatma for two years of his early life. Now since he is no more, we will fulfill his dream to set up the museum at Washi Nandwal where Mahatma Gandhi Mission’s land is available.”

Arun Gandhi’s son, Tushar Gandhi, will be traveling to Kolhapur to be present during his father’s last rites, which will be performed at Washi Nandwal.

Arun Manilal Gandhi

American-Indian-South African author

  • Born: 14 April 1934, Durban, South Africa
  • Died: 2 May 2023
  • Children: Tushar Gandhi, Archana Gandhi
  • Grandchildren: Vivan Gandhi, Kasturi Gandhi
  • Grandparents: Mahatma Gandhi, Kasturba Gandhi
  • Spouse: Sunanda Gandhi (m. 1957–2007)

Arun Gandhi, the grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, was born on April 14, 1934, in Durban, South Africa. His parents, Manilal and Sushila Gandhi were both strongly involved in the Indian independence movement, and they raised Arun in the principles of nonviolence and social justice that were espoused by his grandfather.

As a child, Arun Gandhi lived with his parents in the ashram that Mahatma Gandhi had established in Ahmedabad, India. There, he was exposed to the teachings of his grandfather and witnessed firsthand the impact of nonviolent resistance in the struggle for Indian independence. He also experienced the challenges and discrimination faced by the Indian community in South Africa, where his family had relocated.

In 1946, when Arun was 12 years old, his parents sent him to live with his grandfather in Sevagram, a rural village in central India. Mahatma Gandhi took on the role of his grandson’s mentor and guide, teaching him the principles of nonviolence and how to live a simple, self-sufficient life. During this time, Arun also accompanied his grandfather on his travels across India, participating in his campaigns for social justice and communal harmony.

After Mahatma Gandhi’s assassination in 1948, Arun returned to South Africa with his parents. He continued to be involved in the struggle against apartheid and became a journalist, working for the Rand Daily Mail and other publications. In 1987, he moved to the United States and founded the M.K. Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence, which promotes the principles and practices of nonviolence in education, community development, and conflict resolution.

Throughout his life, Arun Gandhi remained committed to his grandfather’s legacy of nonviolence and social justice. He authored several books, including “The Gift of Anger: And Other Lessons from My Grandfather Mahatma Gandhi” and “Legacy of Love: My Education in the Path of Nonviolence.” He passed away on May 2, 2023, at the age of 89, leaving behind a rich legacy of activism and advocacy for peace and justice.

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