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Narrating an Epic Life

Gandhi: The Years That Changed the World, 1914–1948 by Ramachandra Guha, Gurgaon: Penguin Allen Lane, 2018; pp xx + 1129, ₹ 999.

 

Ever since he came to dominate Indian public life a century ago, M K Gandhi has been a source of endless interest and fascination. He played a fundamental role in India’s freedom movement, and in turn, enabled the demise of the idea of empire. As important as his leadership of the Indian struggle for swaraj was, Gandhi’s position in history was doubly assured by his invention of a new idiom of non-violent political action—satyagraha. This twin legacy ensured that Gandhi’s life achieved salience beyond our national borders. Indeed, as the subtitle of the volume under review suggests, through his work in India, Gandhi changed the world.

As if this were not enough, Gandhi crammed many more vocations into one life. As the author writes in an earlier volume Gandhi before India (2013), in South Africa, Gandhi was at once a “writer, editor, leader, bridge-builder, social reformer, moral exemplar, political organiser and political theorist.” Back in India, he was to further expand on this dizzying array of callings.

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Updated On : 28th Sep, 2019

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