Gandhi Before IndiaBook - 2014
Here is a revelatory work of biography that takes us from Gandhi's birth in 1869 through his upbringing in Gujarat, his 2 years as a student in London, and his 2 decades as a lawyer and community organizer in South Africa. Ramachandra Guha has uncovered a myriad of previously untapped documents, including: private papers of Gandhi's contemporaries and co-workers; contemporary newspapers and court documents; the writings of Gandhi's children; secret files kept by British Empire functionaries. Using this wealth of material in a brilliantly nuanced narrative, Guha describes the social, political and personal worlds in which Gandhi began his journey to become the modern era's most important and influential political actor. And Guha makes clear that Gandhi's work in South Africa--far from being a mere prelude to his accomplishments in India--was profoundly influential on his evolution as a political thinker, social reformer and beloved leader.
From the critics
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"For Gandhi, those who wrote history were preoccupied with wars and bloodshed. Thus, if two brothers quarrelled, their neighbours and the newspapers, and hence history, would take notice of it; but if they peaceably settled their dispute, it would remain unrecorded. ... Gandhi said, in a striking passage, that 'hundreds of nations live in peace. History does not, and cannot, take note of this fact. History is really a record of every interruption of the even working of love or of the soul.' ... non-violence ha[s] been a far more active force in human affairs than violence. The 'greatest ... evidence of the success of this force is ... the fact that, in spite of the wars of the world, it still lives on'." (p. 368)
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