"Without Gandhi," wrote Raja Rao once," there can be no world of tomorrow." Now at the dawn of a new millennium, and Gandhi internationally acknowledged as a most influential figure of the twentieth century, THE GREAT INDIAN WAY Offers fresh, important perspectives on his life - and Gandhism.
The book focuses especially on Gandhi's South African days. The birth of Gandhism, Raja Rao holds, lay in the confrontation between the Briton, the Boer and the Indian "coolie". Gandhism was tested and fashioned in many a struggled in the "dark continent": the most cataclysmic of all, perhaps, the mass strike by Indian coal miners in Newcastle against the move to hold Indian marriages invalid. Thus was born the truth-warrior - and satyagraha and non-violent resistance forged - in a pilgrimage processional almost, the great march by more than two thousand Indian men, women and children from Newcastle to the Transvaal frontier. Gandhism touched the very nerve centre of the British Empire and within fifty years catalysed the political transformation of India and the world.
That South African too it was that Gandhi sought the right way to live and experimented with all that he later Practised both in his public and private life. By the time Gandhi left South Africa for India in 1914, the manifesto for India's freedom was already well scripted. In India, it unfolded on a much grander scale.
Raja Rao weaves together the whole chronicle in epic dimensions - in vigorous, rhythmic, moving cadences, uncovering hidden meaning in an aside here, a parable there, unfolding the Mahatma's life and the meaning of Gandhism on a vast canvas.
"An astonishing book, a moving, shifting kaleidoscope which moves the story of Gandhi from mere fact to one of meaning
"Its unique character lies in the evocation of the man."
"Raja Rao's is a wonderful work a profound biography."
About the Author
Raja Rao has long been recognised as "a major novelist of our age." His five novels - Kanthapura (1932), the Serpent and the Rope (1960), The Cat and Shakespeare (1965), Comrade Kirillov (1976) and The Chessmaster and His Moves (1988) - and three collections of short stories - The Cow of he barricades and Other Stories (1989) - have won wide and exceptional international acclaim. In 1996, Raja Rao published the Meaning of India, a book of essays which explore the philosophical underpinning that sets Inda apart, uniquely distinguishes its civilization.
Born in Mysore on 8 November 1908, Raja Rao went to Europe at the age of nineteen, researching in literature at the University of Montpellier and at the Sorbonne. He wrote and published his first stories in French and English. After living in France for a number of years, Raja Rao moved to the U.S. and taught at the University of Austin, Texas, going on to become Professor Emeritus of Philosophy in 1980.
Raja Rao was awarded the 1988 Neustadt International Prize for Literature which is given every two years to outstanding world writers. Earlier, in 1964, the serpent and the Rope won the prestigious Sahitya Akademi Award, India's highest literary honour. In 1969, the Indian government conferred on Raja Rao the Padma Bhushan, among the highest honours possible for an Indian citizen. Raja Rao was a Fellow of Woodrow Wilson international Centre for Scholars, Washington, D. C. (1972) and, in 1997, was elected a Fellow of India's Sahitya Akademi.
Raja Rao has created a unique body of writing through which runs a profound metaphysical quest. Writing in a magical style of language and structures which he first fashioned in Kanthapura, Raja Rao's books are unceasingly focused on understanding the fundamental truth about man's existence and that of the world.
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