Arun Gandhi held briefly

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EXPLAINING STAND: Mahatma Gandhi’s grandson Arun Gandhi (second from left) with his son Tushar Gandhi snapped while trying to stage a protest in Mumbai on Tuesday.
EXPLAINING STAND: Mahatma Gandhi’s grandson Arun Gandhi (second from left) with his son Tushar Gandhi snapped while trying to stage a protest in Mumbai on Tuesday.

Special Correspondent

MUMBAI: Mahatma Gandhi’s grandson Arun Gandhi, whose alleged anti-Zionist remarks have created a controversy, was not allowed to stage a protest at the statue of his grandfather near the State Secretariat on Tuesday.

He and 20 others were arrested for violating prohibitory orders even before they could reach the statue to take part in a protest on the Zionist attack on Mr. Gandhi.

Speaking to The Hindu, Mr. Gandhi, 74, who recently resigned from the M.K. Gandhi Institute for Non-violence, said that “I was prohibited from touching the feet of my grandfather.” Police arrested the protesters and released them later.

Mr. Gandhi, who founded the Institute at the Rochester University, U.S., has been working for years to promote peace and better understanding between faiths and is a visiting professor at various universities abroad. Mr. Gandhi said the fact that he had to resign from the Institute had a lot of implications for freedom of thought and speech. It also indicates the power people have because of money and this had made a mockery of democratic principles, he pointed out.

In his short piece titled “Jewish Identity Can’t Depend on Violence,” which appeared on a blog, Mr. Gandhi said he had tried to focus on violence in the larger context. He had not mentioned the Holocaust in derogatory terms and he had not denied it happened.

He said there were two ways to deal with an event such as the Holocaust. One was not allowing this to happen ever again and the Israelis reaffirmed this with every generation. This also necessitated a homeland of their own.

Mr. Gandhi said the more positive way would have been to reaffirm that this should not happen to anyone and this would help broaden the perspective. Then one could find ways to stop violence. One of the reasons for violence is the growing hate and prejudice in the world, he said.

“We want to create world peace. But peace is not merely the absence of war. There is so much internal strife and that prejudice feeds into the national aspect. We have to change ourselves if we want to change the world,” he said. “I tried to present things in that perspective in my article but it generated a lot of anger instead,” he added.

Mr. Gandhi later apologised for his words. He hopes that Parliament would take note of this episode and take some action. He said that he would continue to write and speak on this issue.

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