Cher ami...

Gopal Gandhi has edited the correspondence between his illustrious grandfathers in My Dear Bapu: Letters from C. Rajagopalachari to Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, published by Penguin. 

Nine years younger than Gandhi, Chakravarti Rajagopalachari or Rajaji was described by him as his conscience keeper and, at one time, as his only possible successor. As his southern general, Rajaji campaigned for freedom, promoting khadi and prohibition. Though they shared nearly thirty years of colleague-ship, hardship, friendship and kinship, when daughter Lakshmi married Devadas Gandhi, Rajaji remained throughout a man of his own mind.

The eighty odd largely unpublished letters from this contrarian statesman to his leader, Mahatma Gandhi, and those to his son-in-law Devadas Gandhi and to his grandson, that are presented here come from family archives and public repositories and cover the years from 1920 to 1955, in the run-up to Independence and its early years. Described are the struggles and endeavors, large and small, made in the public arena, besides the inner world of friends, of home and hearth, with both spheres coalescing seamlessly. Frank, brave at times, bitter, the letters are remarkably free of recrimination or anything that would diminish the dialogue. Observed always is the healthy respect of the freedom to differ, to persuade, to agree to disagree, but never to let down or part.

Complied, edited and annotated in a manner he believes his father, Devadas, would have approved, these letters are accompanied by a deeply felt and illuminating introduction by Gopalkrishna Gandhi. He has earlier written the novel Refuge on ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka (1987) and a play in verse, Dara Shukoh. His other books are The Essential Gandhi and Of a Certain Age, a collection of biographical sketches on twenty notable Indians. 

In hardcover, 356 pages, Rs. 599. ISBN: 9780670085019

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