Gandhi, essentially....

October 2. Gandhi Jayanti. This year has seen a number of books on or around Gandhi, and a number of films and plays as well. The book that prompts this blog is the forthcoming Oxford India Gandhi: Essential Writings; compiled and edited by Gopalkrishna Gandhi, from OUP. This promises to be charming, not least because the author is Gandhi's grandson, and has written it from this perspective. In his words, it is "the story of his life as Gandhi might himself have narrated it, to a restless grandson. Narrated in time snatched between visitors, meetings, marches, mud packs, bursts of temper, explosions of love. A story as expressed in speeches and articles, but also in diary entries, letters and, most importantly, in conversations."

Earlier this year saw another view of the man emerge in "Mohandas
- A True Story Of A Man, His People And An Empire" by Rajmohan Gandhi from Penguin, India, described as "a candid recreation of one the most influential lives of recent times, Mohandas finally answers questions long asked about the timid youth from India’s west coast who became a century’s conscience and led his nation to liberty: What was Gandhi like in his daily life and in his closest relationships? "

I'm not sure that that the man was simple enough for anyone to "finally" answer questions about, not least because yet another of the grandsons, Tushar Gandhi also brought out (from Rupa) the strangely titled "
Let's Kill Gandhi: Chronicle of his Last Days, the Conspiracy, Murder, Investigation and Trial."

And then, "Harilal Gandhi: A life" by C B Dalal (Orient Longman) as yet another way of trying to understand Gandhi- what he might have been as a son's father, not just as father of the nation... Turned into a movie this year as well, as "Gandhi, my father" which was surprisingly well received.

The books are (or will be soon) in our Gandhi Studies section, variously priced. Very readable, and always relevant.

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