Catalyst House

KonectIDY Interviews Arun Gandhi

“We must bring solace to suffering humanity!”

arun braceletKonectIDY sat down with Arun Gandhi to learn more about the motivation behind this extraordinary man’s lifetime of service as an ambassador of peace and non-violence, and why he believes it is important for all people worldwide – to buy, wear and share his “Gandhi For Children” bracelet.

Q – Who was Mahatma Gandhi to you? What did Gandhi mean to you personally? Please share a story or experience in how your grandfather most influenced or inspired your life?

Arun Gandhi – Personally, Gandhi was my Grandfather and a “light” that guides me in my quest for the purpose in my life. He taught me the value of humility and simplicity the two hall marks of his own life. I think the most important lesson he taught me was that we commit violence in two forms — physical and passive. Physical is the kind of violence where physical force is used, examples, fighting, kicking, wars, murders, rapes etc. Passive violence is more insidious since it hurts people emotionally, economically, spiritually, morally etc. Often without any contact. Examples — exploitation of all kinds, racism and prejudice of various kinds, wasting resources, greed, etc. For instance the US alone wastes $120 billion worth of food every year when half the world dies of hunger. This attitude has given rise to a Culture of Violence that dominates all aspects of our lives — sports, entertainment, economics, religion, relationships etc. It is impossible to build peace if we continue to subscribe to the Culture of Violence. Importantly, Peace is not the absence of war. ghandi_worldwide_bracelet AAA

Q – Who was Mahatma Gandhi to you? What did Gandhi mean to you personally? Please share a story or experience in how your grandfather most influenced or inspired your life?

Arun Gandhi – He taught me that the Culture of Violence can be overcome if we recognize and bring forth our inherent compassion, love, respect, understanding and positive aspects of our emotions and suppress the hate, prejudice, anger, frustration, greed etc which seems to dominate us because we prefer the Culture of Violence. Civilization does not mean that we humans be good and compassionate selectively, it should dominate our life.

Q – Children unify us. Tell me a story of when you forgot yourself by virtue of loving or helping a child.

Arun Gandhi – When we are dominated by love, compassion and respect then the self merges into life, all life. Then the important thing is to remove the pain and distress of others and not be obsessed with the self. The agony of children moves us more than the agony of older people because children are helpless. Read more

Superadobe Live in Kolhapur India!

superadobe in india

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– Repost Via: Scott Kafora Gandhi Worldwide

To commemorate Gandhi’s first civil resistance 120th anniversary we are happy to make the following exciting announcement…

After three years of intensive research, architectural programming, design, development and budgeting by GWEI and AVANI (see Catalyst House October 22 2012 and January 5 2013) the first two of up to 16 Superadobe earthen-based dome structures take shape on a five acre plot of rural farmland just south of Kolhapur, India.

The Times of India (The largest English language newspaper) featured an article on our work on Saturday, June 1, 2013.

A group of four volunteers specialists in both permaculture and Superadobe construction techniques have spent the past six months educating, training and constructing the new landscape and dome structures.

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The Amazing Cal-Earth SuperAdobe Building Method

Nader Khalili invented SuperAdobe

Nader Khalili – visionary, architect, teacher extraordinaire, humanitarian, super-adobe inventor, Rumi scholar.

I have had the pleasure of three visits to the incredible Cal-Earth Institute, in Hesperia California, in recent months.  Our visits have set the stage for Cal-Earth indigenous earth-bag building techniques to be utilized by the Gandhi Worldwide / AVANI Center in Kolhapur India.  The Cal-Earth story and that of its founder’s revolutionary building techniques deserve no small mention and appreciation.

The global need for housing includes millions refugees and displaced persons – victims of natural disasters and wars. Iranian architect, author, visionary and Rumi-Scholar Nader Khalili (1936-2008) believed that this need can be addressed only by using the potential of indigenous earth construction.

Khalili SuperAdobe renderingAfter extensive research into vernacular earth building methods in Iran, followed by detailed prototyping, Khalili developed the sandbag or ‘superadobe’ system.  The basic construction technique involves filling sandbags with indigenous (to a given area) earth and laying them in courses in a circular plan. The circular courses are corbelled near the top to form a dome. Barbed wire is laid between courses (creates a ‘velcro’ effect) to prevent the sandbags from shifting and to provide earthquake resistance. Hence the materials typically found of war – sandbags and barbed wire – are used for peaceful ends, integrating traditional earth architecture with contemporary global safety requirements in an organically aesthetic fashion.

Starting in 1982, Nader Khalili developed and tested the Superadobe prototype in California. In 1991 he founded the California Institute of Earth Art and Architecture (Cal-Earth), a non-profit research and educational organization that covers everything from construction on the moon and on Mars to housing design and development for the world’s homeless for the United Nations.

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God Without Religion – a forward by Arun Gandhi

Arun Gandhi

Arun Gandhi

The question “What is God?” has baffled humankind for eons and will continue to defy logical understanding as long as we live with the concept that there is a heaven up above, where God sits judging all of humanity and punishing those who misbehave. Eminent thinkers throughout history have tried to find a logical answer to this vexing question, with little success. On the other hand His Holiness Gautama, the Buddha, did tapasya (Sanskrit for asceticism) under a banyan tree and, like some others, found that God exists within every human heart in the form of love, compassion, understanding, and other positive attributes humankind is capable of but often chooses to suppress. It seems that instead of trying to assert strict logic or put a solid image to our concept of God, we ought to follow their example and devote greater energy to intuitively understanding the meaning of God.

This book, God Without Religion: Questioning Centuries of Accepted Truths by Sankara Saranam, helps us do just that. It offers a refreshing attempt to provide humankind with a modernized spiritual road-map for use in our eternal quest to comprehend God.

Since the identity of God is so inscrutable (if not the best-kept secret in the world) and the philosophy surrounding this power so impenetrable, religious leaders of various faiths have defined God in ways that raise more questions than they answer. The easiest and most accepted explanation is to see God in the shape of those who are considered God’s messengers-among Jews, Moses and the Hebrew Prophets; among Christians, Jesus; among Muslims, Muhammad; among Hindus, Krishna; and among Buddhists, Gautama.

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Arun Gandhi to provide Keynote for Brazilian Education Conference

Mahatma Gandhi Grandson to provide Keynote Address at Brazilian Education Conference

Arun Gandhi to speak at Salvador Bahia Annual Forum: Education in the First Place 

Arun Gandhi Peace Speaker in Brazil

Dr. Arun Gandhi

Dr. Arun Gandhi, noted peace and human rights activist and president of the Gandhi Worldwide Education Institute (‘GWEI’) has accepted an invitation to provide keynote address from the Brazilian City of Salvador Bahia (Salvador da Bahia) at the City’s annual Education in the First Place Forum, it was announced today by Emilia Queiroga Barros its Executive Director.  Dr. Gandhi’s keynote opening entitled: ‘Education, a Legacy of Love will be given on June 26, 2012 at the Teatro Castro Alves complex.

Arun Gandhi, the fifth grandson of Indian leader Mohandas K. Gandhi, aka Mahatma Gandhi, is an advocate for nonviolence and has been a Washington Post columnist, has worked for 30 years as a journalist for The Times of India, and is the author of several books, including “A Patch of White” (1949) and Legacy of Love (2002). In 2011 Dr. Gandhi provided the keynote address to a gathering of 30,000 attendees at Dali Lama’s birthday event in Washington DC.

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Gandhi Worldwide Education Institute

Gandhi Fight Child labor and Trafficking

In May of 2008, the Institute was founded in the United States by Arun Gandhi, grandson of M.K. Gandhi, to promote community building in economically depressed areas of the world through the joining of Gandhian philosophy and vocational education for children and their parents.  Gandhi Worldwide has embarked on an ambitious multi-pronged program to help eradicate the scourge of poverty and human degradation. Gandhi said: “Poverty is the worse form of violence,” and must be tackled on all fronts to ensure human rights and human dignity to those who are victims of societal exploitation.  The priority of the Institute is to rescue children from the poorest sections of Indian society who are the first to become victims of criminal gangs; the second priority is to build an institution that serves as a shelter as well as a learning institution where the rescued children will receive basic education.  

Arun Gandhi

Arun Gandhi Peace Speaker

Interfaith, Peace & Social Justice

Born in 1934 in Durban, South Africa, Arun Gandhi is the fifth grandson of India’s legendary leader, Mohandas K. “Mahatma” Gandhi. Growing up under the discriminatory apartheid laws of South Africa, he was beaten by “white” South Africans being too black and “black” South Africans being too white; so, Arun sought eye–an-eye justice. However, he learned from his parents and grandparents that justice does not mean revenge, it means transforming the opponent through love and suffering.

Grandfather taught Arun Gandhi to understand nonviolence through understanding violence. “If we know how much passive violence we perpetrate against one another we will understand why there is so much physical violence plaguing societies and the world,” Gandhi said. Through daily lessons, Arun says, he learned about violence and about anger.

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