MAHATMA GANDHI by Vincent Sheean


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This differs quite sharply from Sheean's own Lead, Kindly Light in the lack of emphasis on the spiritual nature of Gandhi's mission. While that aspect is there, inevitably, there is no element of evangelism, which was characteristic of the other book, (and a great measure of its popular appeal). Here is the story- an extraordinary one, but a difficult one for the Western mind to compass. For Gandhi, though a man of peace, was a man who used such extreme methods to achieve his ends that to read of them is to feel, again, the remoteness of India. ""Satyagraha"", in which he stressed the three goals of truth, self-control and non-violence, provided the instrument of his early experiments. The fast, always a difficult thing for the British to cope with, he viewed as a form of prayer, while to the overlords it smacked of blackmail. The Rowlatt Act- following a period of abstention on Gandhi's part pushed him back into politics, when the Amritsar massacre destroyed all the British had built. When later following the Declaration of Independence (1930) and the Salt March demonstration, he withdrew to his Ashram, he was still in essence the Super-President of the Congress. The Cripps Mission- in 1942- failed of its goal; had it succeeded, would the ordeal of '47 been avoided. By then Jinnah, with the backing of the Moslems, held out for partition, and only Gandhi's tragic death preserved an uneasy avoidance of open war....The facts of Gandhi's life and cause are here, for those who hesitate to approach the bigger works. But somehow it lacks the spark.

Publisher: Knopf