17 June, 2021

Lengthening Shadow Of The Lifelong Quester

Accessible, humane, unsparingly critical—this is a clear-headed account of the years that made the Mahatma, with a few curious absences

Ramachandra Guha has written an excellent narrative biography, not digressing much from his subject
Photograph by Tribhuvan Tiwari
Lengthening Shadow Of The Lifelong Quester

The Indian freedom movement did not take place on a smooth plain. Its terrain was rough, full of ups and downs and twists and turns. Many of those who travelled in that terrain were of an uncommon calibre.  Still, a great number of them stumbled and fell by the wayside. A few managed to survive and reach the destination. And Gandhi led them all. His is easily among the most extra-ordinary stories ever told and he easily the most widely known modern Indian anywhere in the world. I had been asked about him by ordinary people in countries as far away as Costa Rica. They were amazed, as Einstein rightly predicted, that such a man could really exist. Nearer home, there are a few who revile him and attribute to him diabolic qualities which, if he had been told that he had had them, would have induced a smile from him. Just a few days ago, I saw a poster carrying a huge picture of a Southern politician (with an inset of Modi) and rather triumphantly calling him the Godse of South India.

It did not elucidate which modern Gan­­dhi he was zeroing on. Seventy years after...

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