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Carrying On a Legacy of Nonviolence: As India and Pakistan Draw Closer to the Brink of War, An Interview with Arun Gandhi

StoryMay 31, 2002
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The threat of war between nuclear-armed Pakistan and India is increasing. Pakistan withdrew troops from the Afghan border today, possibly to move them to the Kashmir frontier for a face-off with India. Militants attacked more police posts in Kashmir, and heavy cross-border shelling, mortar and gunfire continued. Indian Prime Minister Atal Vajpayee has told Indian troops in Kashmir to prepare for sacrifices and "decisive victory."

It seems plausible India is preparing for a "limited war" to flush out Islamic militant camps in Pakistan-administered Kashmir. But Pakistan has vowed to retaliate if attacked, possibly with nuclear weapons.

Meanwhile, President Bush announced Thursday he’s sending War Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to the region next week.

Pakistani physicist and writer Pervez Hoodbhoy argues that the conflict will extend far beyond Kashmir. He writes: "Even more important than the fate of a few million Kashmiris is that of India’s huge Muslim minority, which equals or exceeds the population of Pakistan. Without Pakistan’s decisive action on cross-border insurgency, the Muslims of India will become the target of state-sponsored pogroms and ethnic cleansing. The massacres of Gujarat provide a chilling preview of what may lie ahead at the hands of a fundamentalist Hindu government."

Today we are joined in our studios by nonviolence advocate, teacher and writer, Arun Gandhi. His is the grandson of the great independence leader and nonviolence activist Mahatma Gandhi, who was born in Gujarat. After the religious killings there, Arun Gandhi wrote: "Never have I been so ashamed to be recognized as a Hindu as I am today after the horrendous killings and savagery of Hindus in Gujarat State."

Arun Gandhi has devoted his life to building on the legacy of nonviolence of Mahatma Gandhi. He is the co-founder and director of the M.K.Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence, in Memphis, Tennessee. In 1960, he founded the Center for Social Unity, an economic self-help program for the untouchable caste.


  • Arun Gandhi, nonviolence advocate, teacher and writer, and grandson of India’s great political leader Mahatma Gandhi. He is the co-founder and director of the M.K.Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence, in Memphis, Tennessee. He was recently featured in a visual collection on biographies called "Hope and Heroes: Portraits of Integrity."

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  • Azan Nan Kpe–Angelique Kidjo, Aye (Mango Records CD).

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