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Mohandas K. Gandhi, Autobiography: The Story of My Experiments with Truth Paperback – June 1, 1983
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Gandhi's nonviolent struggles in South Africa and India had already brought him to such a level of notoriety, adulation, and controversy that when asked to write an autobiography midway through his career, he took it as an opportunity to explain himself. Although accepting of his status as a great innovator in the struggle against racism, violence, and, just then, colonialism, Gandhi feared that enthusiasm for his ideas tended to exceed a deeper understanding. He says that he was after truth rooted in devotion to God and attributed the turning points, successes, and challenges in his life to the will of God. His attempts to get closer to this divine power led him to seek purity through simple living, dietary practices (he called himself a fruitarian), celibacy, and ahimsa, a life without violence. It is in this sense that he calls his book The Story of My Experiments with Truth, offering it also as a reference for those who would follow in his footsteps. A reader expecting a complete accounting of his actions, however, will be sorely disappointed. --Amazon.com --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
Text: English (translation)
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This book starts with Gandhi's birth & ends somewhere around the end of the first world war. The language, in the second decade of the twenty first century, seems a little archaic. I cannot seem to recollect if this work was penned by Gandhi much like a diary written regularly or he wrote it down all together at a certain time. If it is the latter, then Gandhi definitely possessed a very remarkable memory. Of mirth & humor, there is very little.
By & large, there are some traits that consistently emerge. Conviction definitely stands out. Needless to say, there are many principles that Gandhi espoused that have stood the test of time - non-violence, satyagraha, non-cooperation etc - however, certain others really appear awfully obstinate - like refusal to take medicines regardless of the criticality of the disease, emphasizing building character in children at the cost of regular grammar & arithmetic, his fascination with the spinning wheel etc.
However, the most outstanding trait in all of this is Gandhi's scrupulous honesty. And it is from this that his great courage emerges. I'll also say that such courage & conviction was also aided by sharp skills to negotiate - it is interesting to me that in spite of some of his convictions noted above, Gandhi never came across as naive - & an uncompromising attitude towards taking no for an answer.
In essence, I'd definitely say that I know more about Gandhi, & learnt to admire him as a leader of men, & an apostle of truth. The polemic surrounding his impact on the Indian freedom struggle, however, remains unanswered by this book.