Mohandas — A True Story Of A Man, His People And An Empire

January 11, 2007

mohandas.jpg
Image courtesy: PENGUIN 

The venue: Crossword. The audience: Writers, journalists, book lovers, freedom fighters and commoners alike. The event: Book release ceremony.

My friend, a noted writer, called me on Monday evening (8th) and told me to join him at Crossword. He also told me to get the scrapbook that I had made on ‘Gandhi’s last 200 days’.

The book “Mohandas– a true story of a man, his people and an empire, on Mahatma Gandhi” by former Parliamentarian and writer Mr. Rajmohan Gandhi was released amidst thunderous applause. The book with an attractive cover has more than 600 pages and is priced at Rs.650.

Historian Ramachandra Guha in his introductory note said it was “a major book by a major scholar” and added that “the book breaks new ground”. Choosing to question Mr. Gandhi on the themes of family and politics from Gandhiji’s life, Mr. Guha asked Mr. Gandhi on the Mahatma’s interaction with his wife and children, often perceived as harsh and cruel.

Because the Mahatma had taken up such a large undertaking for the nation, he had little love left for his family, Mr. Gandhi opined.

Mr. Gandhi said that the intention behind writing the Mahatma biography was to make Gandhi look more human. “The Sarla Devi episode in his life establishes his humanity. To suppress any information on Gandhi would have meant doing injustice to what he stood for all his life – truth. I have only presented the facts as a scholar not a sensationalist journalist,” he added.

Mohandas also mentions Gandhi’s practice of brahmacharya in his life. He would sleep nude with his niece Manu. “It’s a matter of historical record. This has been written about many times. Even Gandhi wrote about it. In doing so, he was surrendering his sexuality and that of his partner’s, after passing a huge test,” he said.

In reply to a question by a member of the audience, Mr. Gandhi said that non-violence had a tremendous opportunity in today’s strife-ridden world. To a question whether India and Pakistan would have been different countries had Mahatma Gandhi’s assassination not taken place, he said: “There is a possibility, a likelihood that India-Pakistan relations might have taken a better turn,” adding that he [Gandhiji] could have helped the people of the two countries shed their suspicion and resentment.

When asked on the Mahatma’s transformation from a shy person to a charismatic figure, he said: “Gives hope to all of us, doesn’t it?” As his parting shot, Mr. Gandhi said: “Gandhiji was great and effective not because he had no fear but because he acted despite his fear.”

Mr. Gandhi, grandson of both Bapuji and Rajaji, was pleased to go through my scrapbook and wished me luck . Amongst other articles, he was surprised to see a 1938 newspaper clip, which has a photo of Gandhi, Jinnah and Mahadev Desai. While we posed for a picture, he autographed and advised me to preserve the book for posterity.

Also read:
The man and the metaphor
Beyond the veil of fame

8 Responses to “Mohandas — A True Story Of A Man, His People And An Empire”

  1. praneshachar Says:

    Bellur one more feather in the cap great going keep it up atending such event knowing about it because of your contacts and showing your scrap book to grandson of two great illuminories of India. wonderful naration enjoyed it. where is photo? not posted? get it post for everbodys consumption

  2. prashanth m Says:

    Way to go RK…

    Have read Kannada version of Gandhi’s autobiography – satyanveshane by Gorur. Got to check this book.


  3. […] Rambling with Bellur writes about his experience in the book release function of Mohandas– a true story of a man, his people and an empire, on Mahatma Gandhi The book “Mohandas– a true story of a man, his people and an empire, on Mahatma Gandhi” by former Parliamentarian and writer Mr. Rajmohan Gandhi was released amidst thunderous applause. The book with an attractive cover has more than 600 pages and is priced at Rs.650. […]

  4. Edelgard Orglmeister Says:

    I whish to congratulate Mr. R. Gandhi on this book and woud like to know how to get a copy. In Brazil many people are waiting for this biography.

  5. rk Says:

    praneshachar,
    thanks. expect the photo in the future…

    prashanth,
    do read this. has got a good review.

    krish,
    thanks for linking. visit again.

    Edelgard Orglmeister ,
    very happy to know that my friends in brazil are eager to read this book.
    for details, do visit the publisher, Penguin India’s website.
    for your info:
    Published by Penguin Books India
    • Published: January 2007
    • Imprint: Viking
    • Special Price: Rs 650.00
    • Cover Price: Rs 650.00
    • ISBN: 0670999326
    • Edition: Hardback
    • Format: Royal
    • Extent: 760pp (with 24 pp b/w photos)
    • Classification: Biography
    • Rights: World

    thanks for dropping by.

  6. Gauri Shankar Antarvedi Says:

    It is sad to see in several websites and blogs about Gandhi’s love affair and personal habits which are, i feel, being used as negative advertisement to attract. Several great things were written in the book but only Saral Devi affair and sleep styles were being putup. This is unfortunate and lets not look at the book as a collection of revelations! Thanks.

  7. Vijay Sai Says:

    Good reporting Ramki……keep writing……also see if u can do a DETAILED review of the book……it is very very interesting…..

  8. ganaraj Says:

    interesting


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