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The Man, His People, and the Empire

Rajmohan Gandhi (Author)

Available in US and Territories, Canada

Hardcover, 759 pages
ISBN: 9780520255708
March 2008
This monumental biography of one of the most intriguing figures of the twentieth century, written by his grandson, is the first to give a complete and balanced account of Mahatma Gandhi's remarkable life, the development of his beliefs and his political campaigns, and his complex relations with his family. Written with unprecedented insight and access to family archives, it reveals a life of contrasts and contradictions: the westernized Inner Temple lawyer who wore the clothes of India's poorest and who spun cotton by hand, the apostle of nonviolence who urged Indians to enlist in the First World War, the champion of Indian independence who never hated the British. It tells of Gandhi's campaigns against racial discrimination in South Africa and untouchability in India, tracks the momentous battle for India's freedom, explores the evolution of Gandhi's strategies of non-violent resistance, and examines relations between Muslims and non-Muslims, a question that attracted Gandhi's passionate attention and one that persists around the world today. Published to rave reviews in India in 2007, this riveting book gives North American readers the true Gandhi, the man as well as the legend, for the first time.
Preface ix

Chapter 1 Boyhood 1
Chapter 2 London and Identity 25
Chapter 3 South Africa and a Purpose 53
Chapter 4 Satyagraha 91
Chapter 5 Hind Swaraj 117
Chapter 6 A Great March 147
Chapter 7 Engaging India 177
Chapter 8 The Empire Challenged 222
Chapter 9 Building Anew 258
Chapter 10 Assault – with Salt 302
Chapter 11 Negotiating Repression 353
Chapter 12 Dream Under Fire 385
Chapter 13 ‘Quit India!’ 425
Chapter 14 Rejected 497
Chapter 15 Walk Alone … 541
Chapter 16 To Rama 574

Postscript 657
Notes 665
Further Reading 703
Glossary 709
Index 715
Rajmohan Gandhi is Research Professor at the Center for South Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. A former member of the Rajya Sabha (the upper house of the Indian Parliament), he led the Indian delegation to the UN Human Rights Commission in 1990. His other books include Ghaffar Khan: Nonviolent Badshah of the Pakhtuns, Revenge & Reconciliation: Understanding South Asian History, and Eight Lives: A Study of the Hindu-Muslim Encounter.
“Gandhi has skillfully narrated events in the life of his grandfather, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi . . . [who] continues to fill the reader with awe throughout this excellent book. Although many commendable studies of Gandhi have been written, this one is a comprehensive and therefore invaluable resource both for scholars and for those embarking on a beginning study of the man.”—Uma Doraiswamy, Western Kentucky Univ. Lib., Bowling Green Library Journal
“Rajmohan Gandhi, has made it possible to know the Mahatma in real depth, in a monumental biography that looks likely to stand as definitive for the foreseeable future. . . . The younger Gandhi has studied the elder's life in about as great detail as one can imagine, and with his family tie to his subject has had access to previously unavailable private documents and photographs. Because Mahatma Gandhi was a prolific writer and, in keeping with his religious/philosophical position, practiced relentless self-examination his whole life, the result is a biography as intimate as it is epic.”—Michael Buettner Charleston Post & Courier
“I was not prepared to be as educated, entertained, and inspired as I was by this mighty work of his grandson Rajmohan Gandhi. Rajmohan Gandhi combines scholarly competency with unique access to many records of his famous and well-documented grandfather. More importantly—for it can be disastrously hard to understand Gandhi, no matter how well informed one is—he combines objectivity with devotion, managing to present the human side of the Mahatma along with his incredible greatness and accomplishments in a way that enlarges our imagination of what it means to be a human being.”—Michael N. Nagler Tikkun
“This thorough, inspiring account is notable not just for the author’s personal ties and obvious passion, but for his considerable research and the enormity of his undertaking.”—Publishers Weekly
“The book is a huge new ‘definitive’ biography, but it's also full of memorable windows into the great man's spiritual wisdom.”—Read The Spirit
"No one has ever succeeded in pinning Gandhi to paper as well as Rajmohan Gandhi has. He has managed somehow to evoke the whole of his grandfather-including the human flaws that made his triumphs all the more remarkable."—Geoffrey C. Ward, prizewinning biographer of Franklin Roosevelt and scriptwriter for Ken Burns documentary The War

"Rajmohan Gandhi's weighty, authoritative, and comprehensive biography is a great achievement."—William Dalrymple, Financial Times

Barpujari Prize, Indian History Congress

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Interview with the author, Rajmohan Gandhi

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