Gandhi in India’s Literary and Cultural Imagination  book cover
1st Edition

Gandhi in India’s Literary and Cultural Imagination

ISBN 9780367702847
Published July 5, 2022 by Routledge India
282 Pages 33 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

This book engages with the socio-cultural imaginings of Gandhi in literature, history, visual and popular culture. It explores multiple iterations of his ideas, myths and philosophies, which have inspired the work of filmmakers, playwrights, cartoonists and artists for generations.

Gandhi’s politics of non-violent resistance and satyagraha inspired various political leaders, activists and movements and has been a subject of rigorous scholarly enquiry and theoretical debates across the globe. Using diverse resources like novels, autobiographies, non-fictional writings, comic books, memes, cartoons and cinema, this book traces the pervasiveness of the idea of Gandhi which has been both idolized and lampooned. It explores his political ideas on themes such as modernity and secularism, environmentalism, abstinence, self-sacrifice and political freedom along with their diverse interpretations, caricatures, criticisms and appropriations to arrive at an understanding of history, culture and society.

With contributions from scholars with diverse research interests, this book will be an essential read for students and researchers of political philosophy, cultural studies, literature, Gandhi and peace studies, political science and sociology.

Table of Contents

List of Figures

Notes on the Contributors



Nishat Zaidi


Gandhi in Sonic and Visual Practices: Enunciations of “Darsan” and Activism

1 Gandhi’s Image and Images of Gandhi: The Culture and Politics of Visual Representation

Vinay Lal

2 Music for the Congregation: Assembling an Aesthetic for Prayer

Lakshmi Subramanian

3 Visualizing Gandhi: The Icon and His People

Ruchika Wason Singh


Consumptions of Gandhi: Articulations or Disarticulations?

4 Mahatma in Memescape: Making of Gandhi in Participatory Digital Culture

Haris Qadeer

5 Mahatma in Antiphony: Gandhi in Indian Nationalist, Muslim and British Press Cartoons, 1946–1947

Barnali Saha

6 Exploration of Indian Visual Practices From 1960 to 1970: A Study of Indian Comic Books on Gandhi

Aparna Pathak

7 Gandhi, the New Divine: Gandhi Ethos in the Malayalam Socials of 1950 and 1960s

M.H. Ilias

8 Framing Gandhi

Nishat Haider


The Construction of Self: Experimental Site of Praxis and Its Discursive Limits

9 An Untouchable in Search of an Asketic Gandhi: The Religiosity of Postcolonial Political

Dhritiman Chakraborty

10 Reformulation of Public–Private Dynamics in Bengali Women’s Autobiographies: Exploring Gandhi and Women’s Activism

Bhaswati Chatterjee

11 Examining Gandhi’s Disavowals and Re-thinking the “Experiment” in The Story of My Experiments with Truth

Aishwarya Kumar

12 Gandhian Environmentalism and Its Limits: A Reading of C. K. Janu’s “Autobiographical Testimonio” Mother Forest

P. Rajitha Venugopal


Gandhian Presence in Intimate and Public Spheres: Reflections on Corporeality, Ethicality and Society

13 The Missing/Divergent Inscription of the Gandhian Body: Examining Corruption in Shrilal Shukla’s Raag Darbari

Indrani Das Gupta

14 Gandhi, Abstinence and Political Freedom: Reading Saadat Hasan Manto’s “Swaraj Ke Liye

Baran Farooqi and Disha Pokhriyal

15 Gandhi and Peasant Organizations in Colonial India: A Reading of Satinath Bhaduri’s Dhorai Charit Manas

Bharti Arora


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Nishat Zaidi is Professor of English at Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi. A scholar, critic and translator, she is the recipient of several prestigious grants and has conducted collaborative research with the Centre for Indian Studies in Africa, University of Witwatersrand, SA, South Asia Institute, Heidelberg University, Germany, and Michigan State University, USA. Her publications include her monographs, Makers of Indian Literature: Agha Shahid Ali (2014), Ocean as Method: Thinking with the Maritime (with Dilip Menon et al. 2022) and Terrains of Consciousness: Multilogical Perspectives on Globalization (Wurzburg University Press, 2021, co-authored with Zeno Ackermann et al.) and her translations and edited books, Day and Dastan (2018, with Alok Bhalla) and Between Worlds: The Travels of Yusuf Khan Kambalposh (2014, with Mushirul Hasan), among others. Her forthcoming work is Karbala: A Historical Play (translation of Premchand’s Play Karbala with a critical introduction and notes) to be published in 2022.

Indrani Das Gupta is Assistant Professor in the Department of English, Maharaja Agrasen College, University of Delhi, India. Currently pursuing her PhD from Department of English, Jamia Millia Islamia, India, in the area of Indian Science Fiction. She is engaged in the examination of the interface of science fictionality with the paradigms of nation state and the social variables that constitute the ontological human existence. Her research interests include science fiction studies, crime fiction, children and young adult narratives, utopia/dystopia, sports culture, popular culture and postmodern narratives. She is the non-fiction editor of Mithila Review: An International Journal of Science Fiction and Fantasy.