ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Gandhi's Politics

RAVINDER KUMAR is one of those few Indian historians who are acutely aware of the many yawning gaps in the study of modern Indian history. These relate to areas of enquiry as well as to methods of investigation. This is undoubtedly a stupendous task, and in the existing state of our historiography it is no mean achievement to he able to diagnose some significant lacunae. And this is the least that one can say about the essays edited by Kumar tu order to get some insight into the first major agitation led by Mahatma Gandhi. This is a crucial phase for understanding an important shift in modern Indian politics. The Rowlatt Satyagraha was the first countrywide anti-British agitation which facilitated the trans- formal ion of Indian nationalism from a movement of classes to one of masses. It also ensured Gandhi's emergence as a dominant political figure, a fact which was to have a variety of effects on subsequent national development. But these were consequences which maybe even Gandhi had not visualised while issuing the call for agitation. Convinced of the righteousness of his cause, but unsure of the response to his call, Gandhi was really acting on faith rather than on calculation. He was at the time virtually a lone, though widely admired and respected, individual unbacked by any political organisation or group interest. If anything, there was a good deal of cynicism in the contemporary political circles regarding the efficacy of his methods in India.

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