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

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Two Little Prehistories of the Great Soul

Gandhi before Gandhi

This paper attempts to show that certain practices and symbols which have become prominent and pan-Indian only after their association with Gandhi were nonetheless available for retrieval as they were always indigenous and pre-Gandhian. Gandhi's triumph lay in his "rediscovery" of India after decades of life away from it. Upon his return from South Africa, he did not want to come across as an alienated Indian; and tried to adopt a cultural semiotic around himself, both in words and deed. How successfully he did this is clear from the way latter-day historians have identified those very symbols as "Gandhian".


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