Saturday, July 23, 2011

No single Gandhi

Boat ride in the Sundarbans is an exhilarating experience, large canvas on which innumerable canals packed with nature’s amazing creation pour their riches into the sea. The sea returns the favors through backwaters that carry a cache of invaluable gifts for those who depend on it. ‘You have Gandhi to return the favors in time of moral crises, we have none,’ a young Bangadeshi had caught me unaware with his reflective query.

My spontaneous response then echoes in Understanding Gandhi now. Gandhi constitutes the moral capital of humanity, and persons as well as societies all over the world (must) draw strength from his ideas and work especially during crises. Gandhi belonged to an era and not to any nation, he is part of humanity’s collective history and would continue to be so. Close associate

J B Kripalani had wondered if one lifetime was enough to understand Gandhi.
Understanding Gandhi through the minds of those who spent valuable time with the apostle of peace and non-violence only reflects that there is ‘no single Gandhi’. Fred Blum – an academician with a life-long commitment to understanding the socio, economic and spiritual dimensions of non-violence, had conversation with six of Gandhi’s close associates in unfolding Gandhi as they had perceived. The narrative conversation is insightfully enriching.

Kripalani, who taught history, had once questioned Gandhi: ‘No where in history could regimes be toppled through non-violence.’ In his impeccable style, Gandhi had responded: ‘Professor, you teach history but I’m writing history.’

Understanding Gandhi captures that bit of history which can assist readers and researchers in drawing their version of Gandhi. Without doubt, it is a valuable addition to the Gandhi literature.....Link

Understanding Gandhiby Usha Thakkar and Jayshree Mehta
Sage, New Delhi
550 pages, Rs 550

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