Extract from ABC News
Photo: Ela Gandhi says people are not heeding the warnings of her grandfather. (ABC News: Nicole Mills)
Ela Gandhi was just seven years old when she travelled from her birthplace of South Africa to visit her grandfather, peace activist Mahatma Gandhi, in India.It was 1947 and the height of India's independence movement, whose leader Gandhi advocated non-violent resistance.
"The three months that I spent with him were absolutely wonderful," she said.
"I have that memory which I cherish deeply of a very, very warm grandfather, someone who gave us individual attention."
When Ms Gandhi returned to South Africa, like her father and grandfather before her, started working as a peace activist.
She was instrumental in the struggle against apartheid and was one of the members of the United Democratic Front who met with Nelson Mandela shortly before his release from prison.
Photo: Mahatma Gandhi led a non-violent revolution to secure India's independence. (Supplied: Immigration Museum)
On a visit to Melbourne this week Ms Gandhi shared with ABC Radio Melbourne's Jon Faine some valuable advice for people navigating the modern world.
She said the meaning of life was being able to transform your thoughts and actions in the same way her grandfather did over the course of his life.
Holding on to the same ideals without opening your mind to other possibilities was a sign of stubbornness, she said.
"He was an ordinary human being who changed, consciously changed," Ms Gandhi said.
"All of us can change. We have to see what is wrong with us and be able to change it."She also spoke about the importance of preserving the natural world.
"I think a lot of people are disappointed not only with the India of today but with the world of today."I think there are lots of issues, particularly the rising inequalities that we see in every country, the poverty, the exploitation of people, of the environment, of resources.
"People are not heeding the warnings that my grandfather gave us so many years ago.
"If we don't control our desire to possess as much as we can, future generations are not going to have the resources of the world and we don't know how they will survive."
Ms Gandhi said another element of the modern world that would likely disappoint her grandfather was the rise of populism.
"Populism of its own is something that just arouses emotion in people and there's no reasoning."For my grandfather, reasoning was a very important thing. He would think carefully before he does anything."
Photo: Many of the items are on loan from the Mahatma Gandhi Digital Museum in Hyderabad. (ABC News: Nicole Mills)
Diversity should be encouraged, not feared, she said.
"Diversity is important. Diversity can teach us a lot of things and we can learn from each other.
"Diversity should not be regarded as being a threat. We need to understand each other and learn from each other."
Ms Gandhi said non-violent methods of activism were as important and effective today as they were when her grandfather led a non-violent revolution to secure India's independence from Britain.
"We should make every attempt to stick to non-violent methods, because at the end of the day if you look at non-violent methods they produce much better results.
"With non-violence you are trying to transform, you don't try to conquer somebody, whereas with violent methods you are now saying, 'I've got the power and I am going to conquer you'.
"Once you do that there is always an opponent, bitterness, a victim who has lost the battle and a conqueror who has won the battle."There will always be that antagonism between the two, whereas non-violent methods, the result is very good because both parties would always remain friendly."
Photo: Gandhi's time in South Africa shaped his approach to non-violent activism. (Supplied: Immigration Museum)
Ms Gandhi spoke at an exhibition at Melbourne's Immigration Museum entitled Mahatma Gandhi: An Immigrant.
The exhibition looks at Gandhi's time in South Africa and how it influenced his approach to social activism.
Through more than 1,000 photographs, archival footage, voice recordings of speeches and other objects on loan from the Mahatma Gandhi Digital Museum in Hyderabad, the exhibition looks at Gandhi's migrant story and the methods of non-violent resistance he developed.
Museums Victoria chief executive Lynley Marshall said visitors had the chance to interact with "a significant collection of objects and digital material from the period of Gandhi's life in which he migrated from India to England and then South Africa".
The exhibition is showing at the Immigration Museum until July 15.