Tuesday, November 30, 2010

I am thankful that I have found, I think, the Gandhi biography I've been looking for.

I knew I wanted a biography of Gandhi by an Indian who could tell me, for one thing, about the details of political situations Gandhi faced.

One of the mainthings Gandhi was was a politician. He had to face situations where all the choices were not wonderful and act. Or not act.

I've read enough Gandhi biographies to know that sometimes he could act by not acting, that much of a sub-continent could be riveted on him as he did nothing, which was sometimes his dramatic and transforming action.

I wanted to know more specifically about the situations he was responding to when he acted or didn't.

I also wanted a biography of Gandhi, though I didn't articulate this--I daren't not hope--that wasn't so dull at the beginning.

Gandhi, the civil rights leader in South Africa and the civil rights and nationalism and democracy-seeking leader in India was intrinsically very interesting, charasmatic.

Gandhi biographies I've struggled with gave me the feeling that Gandhi after the start of his life and a quite a while after wasn't interesting--timid, borderline vapid.

[more to come]

"Gandhi: The Man, His People and the Empire" by Rajmohan Gandhi, one of his grandchildren. Already it's helped ground me in Gandhi and India.

Gandhi. I really knew that the man's first name was Mohandas and that Mahatma was a religious title of huge respect. Rahmohan Gandhi helps cement that more firmly in my mind by calling Gandhi the young by one of his young nicknames--Mohan.

India. What, R. Gandhi asks in the introduction, would have happened in India if M. Gandhi hadn't existed.

It would have probably, he thinks, split into many more pieces with little chance of any of them being as democratic and stable as India is.