Mumbai- Mahatma Gandhi’s grandson and social activist Arun Manilal Gandhi died on Tuesday in Kolhapur district of Maharashtra following a brief illness.
The funeral of the 89-year-old journalist and writer was held at Kolhapur late in the evening, his son Tushar Gandhi told PTI.
Arun Gandhi was born on April 14, 1934 at Durban in South Africa to Sushila Mashruwala and Manilal Gandhi, second of the four sons of Mahatma Gandhi.
He spent his last days at the campus of Avani, an organisation he was associated with for three decades. Avani works towards the empowerment of the marginalized children, child labourers, migrant brickyard and sugar cane workers and the women in the labour force.
A note from the organization said, “At the age of 12, Arunbhai came to India to live with Mahatma Gandhi at Sevagram Ashram. In 1948 he returned to South Africa and was active in various social movements.”
Avani founder Arun Chavan said, “Arunbhai has contributed immensely to Avani’s cause and has been a father figure for us. In February this year, when Arunbhai was visiting Avani, his health deteriorated and he could not return. He had been staying with us at Hanbarwadi campus since then.”
Arun Gandhi married Sunanda in 1957. Shortly after their marriage, they were informed that the South African government would not allow her to accompany him there. Sunanda and Arun decided to live in India, and Arun worked for 30 years as a journalist for The Times of India.”
In 1987, the couple came to the US and in 1991 they started the M. K. Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence at the Christian Brothers University in Memphis Tennessee.
In 1982, when Columbia Pictures released the feature film, Gandhi, based on his grandfather’s life, Arun Gandhi wrote an article criticizing the Indian government for subsidizing the film with USD 25 million, arguing that there were more important things to spend money on.
After attending a special screening of the film, he concluded that it accurately conveyed his grandfather’s philosophy and legacy, despite historical inaccuracies. He wrote another article retracting the first one.
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