Arun Gandhi speaks to Hatboro-Horsham High School students

Peace activist Arun Gandhi, grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, came to Hatboro-Horsham High School to teach students about nonviolence and to talk about the two years he lived with his grandfather. He spoke to students in assemblies and small groups Tuesday.

“I just hope it makes students a little more reflective,” high school enrichment teacher Kim English-Murphy said.

As part of preparing for Gandhi, students read his book, “Legacy of Love: My Education in the Path of Nonviolence.” “[The book] certainly made me more reflective.”

“Legacy of Love” is a memoir Gandhi wrote about learning to deal with his anger and frustrations in a nonviolent way. It starts in an apartheid South Africa when the author is a child. At age 12, he is sent to live with his grandfather in India for two years.

In the morning, Gandhi spoke at two assemblies that all students attended. Then in two small groups that afternoon of no more then 30 students, Gandhi answered students’ questions.

“Everyday should not be a day of existence,” Gandhi said to students he met with in small groups. “Become a better human being.”

His main message to students was learning to harness their anger and choosing nonviolent responses.

“Anger is a personal emotion,” Gandhi said. “The most important lesson is learning to deal with anger. Don’t ruin your life.”

English-Murphy said eight ninth-grade classes selected to read the book and have students participate in the small groups — four global studies classes and four English classes. She said the most interested students from the classes were chosen to participate in group discussion.

A second group discussion session was held with the World Affairs Council and the geopolitical studies class.

“It’s surreal,” upper-class student Allison Shafter said. “I’m a huge Gandhi fan.”

Shafter said her main question for Gandhi was whether he feels like he is hindered by having such a famous activist for a grandfather.

“I’m curious if he lives in the shadow,” Shafter said.

“It was [intimidating], especially in the morning when I would get up and there’d be several hundred people outside,” Gandhi said. “It became quite a burden.”

Gandhi said in his teenage years, being in the shadow of his grandfather was something he considered a burden, until his mother told him it could either be a burden that weighs him down the rest of his life or a light that would open his activist path.

“Since then, I’ve been looking at it as a light,” Gandhi said.

Gandhi was brought into the high school by the Hatboro-Horsham Education Foundation, which also donated “Legacy of Love” to the participating classes. Gandhi also spoke to the community at a reception and presentation at the high school that night.

“We focus more on the person rather then the problem,” Gandhi said. “People don’t do bad things because they feel like it.”


Comments

  1. Arun is awesome. I was there.

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  2. I was at the Hatboro Horsham school when Dr. Gandhi spoke and he moved me so much.

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  3. I love Arun Gandhi!

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