Thoroughly researched – Gandhi 1914-1948: The Years That Changed the World

A highly readable and brisk biography of 1000 pages on The Mahatma from his return to India in 1915 to his assassination in 1948 .

Ramachandra Guha has written an excellent second and concluding biography of Gandhi. His first volume ‘Gandhi Before India’ sheds new light and interesting facts unearthed through diligent research in archives all over the world. This 2nd volume is equally well-researched.

I would recommend these two volumes to readers who are interested in Gandhi in particular and in the Indian Fight for Independence in general. I have myself read 9 biographies on Gandhi and 7 books on the Indian fight for independence, and yet there is much that is new here. A new revelation is the

platonic love between Gandhi and a highly educated married woman who lived in Lahore . Gandhi was charmed by her. She was the daughter of a sister to a famous Indian poet.

The only shortcoming in this concluding volume , if I may use the word, is the mere 100 pages devoted to the Indian Independence movement from the arrival of Mountbatten to Partition. GUHA at pages 809 to 811 {Knopf hardcover edition} raised { still} burning questions like Who was most responsible for Partition? Should the blame be put on Gandhi, Jinnah, Nehru or Mountabatten? It is a pity Guha refused to offer his “own answers” on “these important questions” on the ground that ” this is not the place to offer them. The biographer’s task is to document what happened at the time, not to pose counterfactuals.” { page 811}. I look forward to Guha offering his answers in a future book on the fascinating Indian fight for independence and Partition. Until then, readers are recommended to read Liberty or Death India’s journey to independence and division by Patrick French and Indian Summer by Alex von Tunzelmann. Both are magnificent histories.

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