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Tolstoy and Gandhi, Men of Peace: A Biography Paperback – February, 1999

4 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 319 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins India; 2nd edition (February 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 8172233396
  • ISBN-13: 978-8172233396
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #11,519,141 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Two great men of two centuries; resemblances in their life and death is the theme of this book by Martin Green. Green has done an excellent and painstaking research juxtaposing these two men who advocated for love, peace and brotherhood than anyone else in these two centuries.

Though Gandhi had traits of piousness and adherence to truth in him from an early age, his unshakable belief in non-violence, selfless service and simple living had not became his sole doctrines until he came across Tolstoy's teachings through his books, most notably `Kingdom of God is within you' much later when he was in jail in South Africa. Though Tolstoy died within couple of years since Gandhi had made his first contact with him at the age of forty, it was Tolstoy more than anyone else from whom Gandhi had continued to draw inspiration throughout his life.

Even while considering Tolstoy as his role model, Gandhi could never completely agree with Tolstoy on many of his views, most importantly his views on religion. The Tolstoy whom Gandhi knew had renounced religion, its superstitions, science and politics whereas for Gandhi religion and its teachings were as essential as the air he breathed. Tolstoy was against any kind of organization when Gandhi was part and parcel of Indian national congress and freedom movements. While Tolstoy was against class structure of any sort Gandhi supported the caste system in India.

For Tolstoy, the nationalism and patriotism were two meaningless words used by politicians, which he considered as ideology of slavery, imposed by the institutions to justify their own existence. Gandhi never considered himself a patriot or nationalist in the sense Tolstoy defined them.
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