Friday, December 16, 2011

Gandhi - Naked Ambition

Author:         Jad Adams
Published:   2010
Publisher:    Quercus
Hardcover:  336 pages
I doubt whether there is any Indian who has not heard about Mahatma Gandhi. We revere him as the Father of the Nation and generally have some idea (however vague it may be) about the values and ideals he stood for. His role in leading India to independence from the British Raj is well recognized all over the world.  
But how many of us  really know beyond what met the public eye and know him as a person? I must confess that apart from Gandhi's autobiography: My Experiments with Truth, which I read more than a decade ago (and forgotten almost all its content), I had not read much about his life. That's the reason I borrowed this book from the British Library.

This biography is mainly based on Gandhi's own writings and that of his secretaries Mahadev Desai and Pyarelal. It is a fairly well narrated account of Gandhi's life. I came to know several little known facts about Gandhi.
While the author has based this biography on authentic sources he has his own interpretation of the facts. In his introduction to the book he conveys that:
  • Gandhi was very image conscious and knew very well how to make best use of the media to promote his image.
  • Gandhi's striving for truth was not an attempt to reach unquestioned factual accuracy, but stretching out towards spiritual perfection.
  • The battle with the government over Indian rights was what Gandhi did, the struggle with his sex drive was what Gandhi was.
  • Gandhi was an intensely ambitious man. The ambitious was not for fairness of laborers or Indian independence but for spiritual perfection.
The above interpretations form the underlying theme of the entire book . 
While I am not sure how far these interpretations are correct, the book is quite an interesting read. However one needs to read a few more books on Gandhi to get a complete picture and understanding of  his multifaceted and often contradictory character.

[Please feel free to leave your comments below or bookmark/share this summary]

No comments:

Post a Comment