ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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New Light on Gandhi's Early Life

Gandhi Before India by Ramachandra Guha (London and New Delhi: Allen Lane), 2013; pp xiv + 673, Rs 899.

This large book of 561 pages of text with another 110 pages of endnotes and indexes is the first of a projected two-volume life of M K Gandhi. It is an ambitious undertaking, as Ramachandra Guha has sought to reconstruct his biography, in his words, “on the basis of contemporary records rather than retrospective accounts”. To this end, he has for this first volume delved into archives in India, South Africa and Britain, in the process uncovering new material and re-evaluating old interpretations. As one expects from Guha, it is all put together in a most readable form. Almost all of it is on Gandhi’s career in South Africa (Gandhi’s life from his birth in 1869 to his arrival there in 1893 only covers the first 64 pages). It is on this that the book must therefore largely be judged.

Before South Africa

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