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Arun Gandhi: ‘My grandfather saw my anger as fuel for change’

The grandson of Mahatma Gandhi talks about why his parents sent him to live with the Mahatma and what he learned

Walking back from school one day in 1945 in rural India, an 11-year-old boy threw his pencil nub in the bushes. It had become too short to use. But as night fell, he was sent back with a torch to search for the pencil: the boy’s grandfather had refused him a new writing implement and insisted he find the old one, which took the boy two hours.

If it seems a strange overreaction or a case of extreme stinginess on the part of the grandfather, it becomes easier to comprehend once you learn that the schoolboy was Arun Gandhi and the grandfather Mohandas K Gandhi, the Indian spiritual leader whose nonviolent civil disobedience movement was among the most influential of the 20th century.

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