North Korea has its finger on the button. White supremacists are on the rise in America. War still rages in the Middle East. Racial violence seems prevalent across the globe. It often seems that the world is endlessly violent and global peace impossible. Arun Gandhi, grandson of Indian Independence leader Mahatma Gandhi, spent years as a young boy learning from his grandfather a philosophy of non-violence and respect for other human beings and nature. He has turned those words of wisdom into a book - The Gift of Anger And Other Lessons from My Grandfather Mahatma Gandhi. Now touring the book in the UK, the Sunday Herald caught up with him on a whistle-stop visit to Scotland where he passed on some words of wisdom from his granddad to our readers.

Appeal to the good in bad people

Donald Trump is a key part of the problem in the sense that he has made wild statements and wild claims, and roused the passions of the people. He's more into violence than any other president that I can think of, and I'm afraid of him having his finger on the nuclear button. But my grandfather felt there is always some good in everybody and we should appeal to that goodness in them. He even thought that of Hitler. When Hitler was doing all these terrible things, he wrote a letter to him, before the war began, and appealed to him respectfully. Whether that letter would have changed Hitler's mind, I don't know, because the British didn't allow the letter to go. So I think my grandfather would have tried to appeal to the good in Donald Trump – whether that would have succeeded or not, I don't know.”

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Tackle Poverty

“When we have economic disparities in the world, we are going to create conflicts. My grandfather used to say that poverty is the worst form of violence, and so as long as we ignore poverty we are part of that violence. It leads to so many other kinds of violence, because poor people who don't get what they need in life are going to resort to violent means and crime. It keeps escalating and growing. Unfortunately all of the countries of the world have become so selfish. Their foreign policy is based on what is good for their country. Nobody thinks of what is good for the world. The result is that all the countries of the world are exploiting each other. And that increases the poverty and disparities and causes a lot of anger among people who get left out or marginalised.”

Defuse the nuclear threat

“The United States has to shoulder its responsibility for the situation with North Korea. After the Korean War instead of walking away from it, they divided the country and created a base there. US troops with all the armaments are sitting right on the border with North Korea. And every time they have an exercise it's provocation. Nobody likes another foreign power to be sitting at your border. So another madman comes to power and wants to throw them out.”


“No nation can survive on its own in this world. We have to remember that we are part of this world and not apart from it. But all over the world in the United States, in the UK, everyone is thinking we can survive on our own, that we don't need anyone else. We need to cultivate interconnectedness.”

Fight terrorism by fighting prejudice

“[Islamist] terrorism has come about because of a lot of factors. Colonialism has played a role. That part of the world has been exploited for economic reasons. But also, when these people have come here as immigrants to western countries they have not been treated well. They have suffered prejudice. Many of the people I have spoken with complain that they try to do everything to be a part of this society but are never part of society. They are always treated as strangers. Even in the US it's the case, and I feel that. I'm a US citizen, I've lived there thirty years, and they not only look at me as an Indian, but as a second class citizen. I can see and feel the prejudices.”

Get to the Root Of Racism

“One of my biggest worries is the rise in extreme racism we are seeing in the world right now. To a large extent we have seen a rise in white supremacism, in the United States, where I live, because the majority of the community has ignored the poverty, the ignorance and the destitution of a lot of people. Many companies shifted factories to Third World countries for production because capitalists wanted to make more profit. The result is that all those American workers were out of jobs and without any means of survival. The people have been destituted and no political party has done anything. The Democrats made all kind of claims and then did nothing. When Trump told them I'm going to clean up the swamp in Washington DC, they were very happy. So they elected him. But Trump is not going to do anything for them either."

Solve Israel/Palestine

“To a large extent I think all the conflicts we see now, especially the terrorism and the anger of the Arab nations towards the West, is generated by that problem. I think Israel has a responsibility for putting things right because they have the means to do it. Israel has to take the first step towards resolving that whole issue. But I see, every time, when world pressure comes, the Israeli government talks about reaching out to the Palestinians to create peace, but then they provoke the Palestinians into fighting. They should stop playing that double game.”

Shun materialism

“Because of the materialistic lifestyle that we have chosen, everywhere, all over the world, we have very poor relationships with other people. We are always looking at what is good for ourselves. We become selfish and greedy, and we build walls between people, want to exclude people. My grandfather would have been very unhappy with the way India has become so materialistic, and India is a microcosm of the world. Half of the population of India is poverty-stricken, and the other half is enjoying a good life. You see the stark reality of it rubbing up against each other.”

Be the change

“My grandfather said, 'We must become the change we wish to see in the world'.If we don't change our habits and our beliefs and our relationships, the world is not going to change. And this change that grandfather sought in people is not the kind of change that can come from top down. You can't legislate it. It has to e an awakening from within.”

The Gift of Anger by Arun Gandhi is published by Penguin