The early life of Mahatma Gandhi in new book

Last Updated 04 May 2018, 11:49 IST

The early formative years of Mahatama Gandhi as well as lesser known facts about the man who went on to become the Father of the Nation,  written by historian and author Ramachandra Guha is set to hit bookstores on October 1.

"An international lead title for 2013, the book titled 'Gandhi Before India' will be published in India on October 1 under Penguin’s prestigious Allen Lane imprint," according to a statement from the publishers.

In 1893, when Mohandas Gandhi set sail for South Africa, he was a 23-year-old briefless lawyer who had failed to establish himself in India. The two decades that he spent in South Africa were to be the making of the Mahatma.

In this biography, Guha argues that Gandhi's ideas were fundamentally shaped before his return to India in 1915.

"It was during his years in England and South Africa that he came to understand the nature of imperialism and racism; and it was in South Africa that he forged the philosophy and techniques that would undermine and ultimately destroy the British Empire," Guha says.

Based on a new material, and archival research in four continents, the book presents a vivid portrait of Gandhi and the world he lived in, a world of sharp contrasts between the coastal culture of Gujarat, High Victorian London, and colonial South Africa.

"It explores in rich detail his experiments with dissident cults such as Tolstoyans and vegetarians; his friendships with radical Jews, heterodox Christians, and devout Muslims; his enmities and rivalries; and his failures as a husband and father," the publisher says.

"Before I come to the argument about the man, I thought that I should first understand the man. During my research, I realised that virtually everything written on Gandhi was in Gandhi's own words, all that he said or wrote. I wanted to go beyond Gandhi's point of view, everything that he wrote on including caste, culture, and religion," Guha had told PTI earlier this year.

The upcoming tome tells the dramatic, profoundly moving story of how he inspired the devotion of thousands of followers as he mobilised a cross-class and inter-religious coalition, pledged to non-violence in their battle against a brutally racist regime.

The author Ramachandra Guha had previously looked at the story of modern India in his 2007 book "India after Gandhi: The history of the world's largest democracy" for which it won the Sahitya Akademi award for English in the year 2011.
Raised in Dehradun and educated in Delhi and Kolkata. and now based in Bangalore, Guha's books and essays have been translated into over twenty languages. PTI ANS 09251118

(Published 25 September 2013, 07:28 IST)

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