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

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Socio-historical Contexts of Gandhi’s Ideas

Why Gandhi Still Matters: An Appraisal of the Mahatma’s Legacy by Rajmohan Gandhi, New Delhi: Aleph Book Company India, 2017; pp xiii + 201, ₹ 499.


M K Gandhi has received sustained attention from scholarly circles for many decades and it has only increased in the last few years for a variety of reasons. In the last few years, many important books have deliberated upon why Gandhi still matters or does not matter. Rajmohan Gandhi’s Why Gandhi Still Matters: An Appraisal of the Mahatma’s Legacy is a decisive intervention in this discourse. In terms of genre, this book is akin to other biographies but in theme and tenor, it is very different. It is a collection of essays or, to be precise, a collection of revised lectures, which the author had delivered at James Madison College, Michigan State University in 2016. The essays/lectures are on diverse areas and address disparate sets of issues.

These essays/lectures appear to be stand-alone pieces of intellectual exploration and do not fit into a common a priori framework; neither do they address a shared set of issues or questions. Only someone like Rajmohan Gandhi with deep insight into Gandhian scholarship and a passionate commitment can string these essays/lectures together with the aid of a brief introductory essay that would lend coherence to the whole collection of essays/lectures. In this way, Why Gandhi Still Matters is a skilful mastery of embracing different stand-alone essays/lectures into a seemingly consistent body of thought that tries to address the major question of why Gandhi still matters in a different but very effective manner. This collection of essays is primarily intended to stimulate and promote the serious study of Gandhi’s life and philosophy. The author interest has not been in simply documenting what Gandhi said or wrote on various occasions. Rather, his interest has been in analysing the socio-historical contexts in which Gandhi’s idea emerged, and the socio-historical changes that these ideas were intended to bring about.

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Updated On : 5th Oct, 2019
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