when you write or asses some one you must know that culture, their language, and just understand the character well. NO WESTERN AUTHORS CAN EVALUATE MAHATMA GANDHI WELL THE REASON YOU CANNOT DO IT BY A FEW INTERVIEWS OR SPENDING A MONTHS WITH HIM.
TO UNDERSTAND GANDHI YOU READ HIS OWN AUTO BIOGRAPHY ,COLLECTED LETTERS OF MAHATMA GANDHI OR SPEND 2-3 MONTHS WITH REAL GANDHIAN. READ MAHADEV DESAI.GANDHI WAS FAINEST SPOTLESS CHARACTER AFTER GAUTAM BUDDHA.WE DON'T NEED SOME VESTED INTEREST TO BALANCE BY NEGATIVE CRAPE. YOU CAN'T BALANCE , GANDHI CANNOT BE BALANCED BY SOME VESTED INTEREST. GANDHI WAS A PHYSICAL FORCE OF MARVELOUS HINDU CULTURE, AND TRUTHS.THAT PENETRATES AND GO UP AND UP FOR MORE INSPIRATION, NO MATTER HOW MUCH THOSE VESTED INTEREST TRY TO THROW DIRT.NOW IT IS BEYOND REACH.
Dually noted, he was oddly obsessed with bowel movements, sent the infamous telegram to Hitler signed something like "Your Friend, Mahatma" and suggested that all Jews slit their throat en masse to avoid future murder.
Gandhi was a lifelong horndog, as he describes in his autobiography. But as far as I know, he fought the good fight, though some of his tactics were questionable. Like sleeping with young maidens and forcing himself not to desire them. His poor wife.
"Beyond the minute details of a long public life, and now, thanks to Lelyveld, a much-exposed private life, one is struck by the contradiction between Gandhi’s actual political failures and his enduring influence."
What thanks to Lelyveld ? There are thousands of books on Mahatma. 50000 pages of Collected works of Mahatma Gandhi, comprising all his letters and speeches is all online. They have been preserved because Gandhi believed secrecy was the enemy of truth (Read Louis Fischer). It seems every biographer comes with his own colored interpretation. Interpretation is just that an interpretation. If you were red spectacles you see the sky as red. And when you publish after 10000 books have already been published on the subject, you have to write something controversial to make a mark. In this case after seven decades by a New yorker interpreting a Vaishnava born in the 19th century, who hasn't met him nor any of his closest followers who were inspired by him. Interpretation is just that an interpretation. I will quote Khuswant singh, an veteran Indian Journalist (also an atheist),
"The more I ponder over the lives of great men in world’s history, the more I feel compelled to conclude that Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was perhaps the greatest of them all. What we knew of our prophets,
messiahs, and teachers is from hearsay: most of it entrusted with myth, magic, miracles and make-believe. Any thinking person has to take it with large spoonfuls of salt. Not so in the case of Gandhi. Not only did he expose himself in stark nakedness and confessed to all his shortcomings, there were dozens of men and women close to him who bore witness to what he did and said everyday. Like many great men, he was a bit of a crackpot, a very loveable crackpot. But in his life did he ever tell a lie? He was full of compassion of the kind of which Gautama the Buddha was the living embodiment."
- Khushwant Singh, The Tribune.
I have read extensively on Gandhi. I cannot agree with Khuswant Singh more.
Sorry, I don't see the influence or power of Ghandi in today's world. I have no interest in him whatsoever. His economic policies were disastrous and set India back decades. If countries like the US would have followed his teachings we would have been toast a long time ago.
Gandhi's legacy, it would seem, is chiefly to be invoked by those who imagine they can validate their policies or opinions by the simple expedient of name-dropping.
It was pretty comprehensive in critiquing Gandhi's legacy. Similar to Attenborough's Gandhi, it lacked serious consideration of Gandhi's spiritual perspective and life. Satyagraha and swaraj cannot be understood outside the spiritual dimension. It would be like trying to reconcile string theory in quantum mechanics without eleven dimensions, seven of which are only mathematical constructs and not empirically experienced. Yet, without the seven, contemporary physics collapses into contradictions. Without the spiritual dimension, Gandhi's perspective cannot be either understood nor practiced. Yet, Martin Luther King, Jr, Nelson Mandela and John Paul II saw the efficacy in Gandhi's perspective. By the way, I see no blood on the hands of these three 20th century leaders either. Fr. Jim Loiacono, OMI
Where you find any better straight shooter then Mahatma Gandhi himself? Why this third or fourth party cheap Authors can ever understand Gandhian thinking. To know Mahatma you need to know Hindu civilization, Hindu culture, Gujarati, Hindi, Gandhi’s cast, Gandhi’s kathiawadi background, and then you may know Gandhi well. No one can know Gandhi better then Mahadev desai. Any book on Gandhi by any western Author just put in Garbage.
This an another Author who does not speak Hindi nor Gujarati become fly by night authorities on Mahatma Gandhi, he claimed or I think Copied from Mr. Fishers Book about Tagore first bestowed the name "Mahatma" on Mohandas Gandhi. However, there is no known evidence of this statement. Even the Gandhi Museum doesn't have proof of this. Actually, Nautamlal Bhagvanji Mehta ( Kamdar ) was the first to do so on January 21, 1915 in Jetpur, India. The proof is evident at www.kamdartree.com. copy of this documents is also at National Gandhi Musum ,New Delhi. His book has no value nor he can do any more info. For all reader of times of india , please do not waste your time and money on this book. This is a matter of world history and we would appreciate you looking into this matter.to know Gandhi the most authentic books his own autobigraphy, collected work of Mahatma gandhi and in Gujarati mahadev bhai ni diary.
Read Richard Grenier's "The Gandhi Nobody Knows" for balance, perhaps.
Grenier was a straight shooter.