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GANDHI, an inspiration and a despair to all who approached him, has been subjected to more analysis than any other person in contemporary history. And yet something is missing in the puzzle that Gandhi was and it. This volume attempts to understand and to explain him by laying a little more emphasis on the societal factors and the situations that shaped him and structured his personality during his formative years in England and Sough Africa.
Apart from what little Gandhi told us in his autobiography, My Experimentswith Truth, nothing much is known about the society in which he lived and the cultural and intellectual ethos with which he grew. The autobiography, while a book of great historical importance, is not of much value as a source of information and needs to be supplemented, corrected and balanced by drawing upon contemporary documents.
This is by no means an easy task. Gandhi is many men in one. Moreover, as a continuously evolving phenomenon, Gandhi underwent several startling changes in his habits, views, and approaches to life. He therefore cannot be evaluated out of the time-frame that was in existence at the time we talk about.
Gandhi suffered a lot by the process of deification that started with his death or even before it. Much that is written about him is sheer hagiography interspersed with a few pieces of demonology. His human face is disfigured and almost lost in the eulogies and the condemnations heaped on him. We must strive to brush off the cobwebs gathering around him and portray him as the simple yet stupendous figure he was. He was not born a saint but raised himself to Mahatmahood by strenuous efforts. He was singularly unfit for public life but made himself 'The Leader' through agonizing struggles, converting his several failures and mistakes into stepping stones to the ultimate glory.
Sanghavi chronicles these changes that were full of difficult decisions in personal and public matters till Gandhi arrived to occupy the top position in the list of those who lead their fellow beings to their mundane goals.
About the Author:
Prof. Nagindas Sanghavi earned his Masters degree from the University of Mumbai in 1946. He taught undergraduates in various colleges as a lecturer and headed a Department of Politics and History. He handled a course in 'Government and Politics in India' for the post-graduate students of the University of Mumbai. He retired in 1981.
he has translated into Gujarati many treatises on political science and a history of USA. The Parichaya Trust published a series of his lengthy articles on the Indian Constitution and political developments. He is the main author of Swaraj Darshan, which deals with post-graduate students of several universities in Gujarat. His Gujarat- A Political Analysiswas published by the Centre for Social Studies, of which he was a Fellow for two years. Two collections of his political essays received awards from the Gujarati Sahitya Parishad, and in 1995 he was adjudged by Gujarat State Sahitya Akademi as the best political communist in Gujarati language.
He is a regular commentator on the political happenings in India and his syndicated columns are published by various dailies in Mumbai, Surat, Anand and Ahmedabad.
Excerpts from Review:
THIS is one book that was waiting to be written. As a comprehensive study of the formative years of Gandhi and written primarily as an individual's political biography, it will surely be not only a contribution to our understanding of Gandhi's life and work, but also to peace and conflict studies in general. This is not dry history but a historian's attempt to gauge something of the spirit of Gandhi's times and to define the matrix-personal, social and political-from within which Gandhi's worldview emerged.
|Foreword by Lord Bhikhu Parekh||ix|
|1.||The Land of Gandhi||1|
|2.||The Family and the Child||16|
|3.||Journey to London||33|
|4.||Gandhi in London||55|
|6.||Indians in South Africa||83|
|7.||The First Encounters||106|
|9.||Natal Indian Congress||133|
|11.||Indian and Back||169|
|12.||The Lawyer Leader||191|
|13.||Boer War and India||213|
|16.||A Pyrrhic Victory||273|
|19.||At the Crossroads||333|
|21.||Emergence of Mahatma||370|