For a man who made such a powerful intervention in the history of the 20th century, many of Mahatma Gandhi’s ideas were misunderstood or obfuscated during his lifetime. This book draws our attention to Gandhi’s last years, particularly the marked change in his understanding of the acceptance of non-violence by Indians. It points to a startling discovery Gandhi made in the years preceding India’s Independence and Partition: the struggle for freedom which he had all along believed to be non-violent was in fact not so. He realised that there was a causal relationship between the path of illusory ahimsa which had held sway during the freedom struggle and the violence that erupted thereafter during Partition.
Calling for a serious rethink on the very nature and foundation of modern India, this book throws new light on Gandhian philosophy and its far-reaching implications for the world today. It will interest not only scholars and researchers of modern Indian history, politics, and philosophy but also lay readers.
Table of Contents
1 Facing Gandhi: facing oneself
2 Gandhi’s swaraj
3 Gandhi’s sorrows
4 The possibility of ahimsa?
5 An impossible possibility?
Sudhir Chandra is a historian based in Delhi, India. He has been associated with several universities and centres of advanced learning, such as the Nantes Institute for Advanced Studies; Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Shimla; Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities, Edinburgh; Banaras Hindu University; Aligarh Muslim University; Jamia Millia Islamia; Maison des Sciences de l’Homme, Paris; Melbourne University; Bellagio Study and Conference Center; University of Chicago; Cornell University; Tokyo University of Foreign Studies; Indian Council of Historical Research; and Indian Council for Social Science Research, New Delhi. Among his publications are The Oppressive Present: Literature and Social Consciousness in Colonial India (2014/1992) and Enslaved Daughters: Colonialism, Law and Women’s Rights (1998).
Chitra Padmanabhan is an independent journalist and writer based in New Delhi, India. In her 30-year career, she has worked in an editorial capacity with The Economic Times, Hindustan Times, The Pioneer, Tehelka, the Women’s Feature Service and Katha. As a freelance journalist, her articles have appeared on the edit pages and as feature essays in The Hindu, Times of India, Economic & Political Weekly, The New York Times’ India Ink and The Wire. Her interests have focused on art and culture, social change and political behaviour and the economic and environmental costs of development.
'One outstanding merit of this book is its concentration on a relatively neglected aspect of Gandhian study, the Prarthana Pravachans or prayer discourse - sermons would be a misnomer in the context... For its analysis, understanding, lucidity, and undoubted topicality, it is difficult to overemphasise the value of the book.'
Gangeya Mukherji, The Hindu