23 January, 2021

Gandhi In Palestine

The Mahatma's grandson takes his message of ahimsa to the heart of violence, but finds the response mixed

Gandhi In Palestine
When newspapers in Israel reported the decision of the Mahatma's grandson, Arun Gandhi, to visit the West Bank and Gaza, there was disbelief at the task he had set out for himself: teach the virtues of non-violence to a people who believe death as their only freedom. This is the land where an invisible wall separates perceptions about violence and non-violence, freedom and enslavement. For Israelis, (state) violence is necessary to curb suicide-bombers intent on blowing up innocent people. For Palestinians, a non-violent struggle is ineffectual against an army which reduces to rubble apartment buildings only because it suspects one of its inmates to have spawned or sheltered a suicide-bomber.

It was to this troubled land that Gandhi, who heads the MK Gandhi Institute for Non-Violence in South Memphis, US, was invited by left-wing NGOs and political groups. These are the people who have been trying to persuade the Palestinians to initiate a non-violent struggle for freedom. And who better to convince them than the grandson of the Mahatma?

On August 27, Gandhi spoke to a...


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