Description - Gandhi's Passion by Stanley Wolpert
Mahatma Gandhi, through his indomitable will and selfless determination transformed himself into a model of courage and integrity for India's people to emulate in their non-violent struggle for political power. More than half a century after his death, Gandhi continues to inspire millions throughout the world. Yet modern India seems to have abandoned much of his non-violent vision, joining the nuclear arms race. Inspired by recent events in India, Stanley Wolpert offers this subtle and profound biography of India's 'Great Soul'. Wolpert compellingly chronicles the life of Mahatma Gandhi from his early days as a child of privilege to his humble rise to power and his assassination at the hands of a man of his own faith. This trajectory, like that of Christ, was the result of Gandhi's passion: his conscious courting of suffering as the means of reaching divine truth. From his early campaigns to end discrimination in South Africa to his leadership of a people's revolution to end the British imperial domination of India, Gandhi emerges as a man of inner conflicts conquered by his political genius and moral vision.
Early influenced by nonviolent teachings in Hinduism, Christianity, and Buddhism, he came to insist on the primacy of love for one's adversary in any conflict as the invincible power for change. He fearlessly courted suffering and imprisonment in pursuit of his moral vision. The sweet reasonableness of his 'Great Soul', combined with the steel of his unyielding opposition to intolerance and oppression, would inspire India like no leader since the Buddha - creating a legacy that would encourage Martin Luther King, Jr, Nelson Mandela, and other global leaders to demand a better world through peaceful civil disobedience. Gandhi's Passion is a remarkable tribute by a historian at the height of his narrative and analytical powers. Wolpert boldly considers Gandhi the man, rather than the living god depicted by his disciples. He thus provides an unprecedented representation of Gandhi's passionate personality and the profound complexities that compelled his actions and brought freedom to India.
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(233mm x 152mm x 21mm)
Oxford University Press Inc
Publisher: Oxford University Press Inc
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UK Kirkus Review »
Mahatma Gandhi is still acclaimed as father of the Indian nation and regarded by many as humanity's nearest thing to a god. When Indian politicians run into trouble they often quote his teachings of tolerance, hoping to win popularity vicariously as US politicians seek to deflect criticism by quoting John F Kennedy. Yet, as Stanley Wolpert points out, many of Gandhi's pacifist ideals have long been abandoned in his homeland. He would never have countenanced India arming itself with nuclear weapons, for instance, and he would have despaired at the greed, corruption and power abuse that feature so strongly in Indian politics. As Professor of South Asian History at the University of California, Wolpert has a special interest in and affection for Gandhi. His enthusiasm for the man is evident although the book is no fawning tribute. Indeed, Wolpert sets out to find what motivated Gandhi and concludes that here was a man of many complexes and contradictions - who showed one face to the world while wondering how much he believed in himself. From his early days of privileged living, Gandhi rose to power through humility and a benign brusqueness that many Western politicians dismissed as rudeness. What the brusqueness concealed was a wealth of inner doubt and conflict. Gandhi was not always comfortable in forcing himself to do what he knew to be right. There is a suspicion that he sometimes found his pious conscience an inconvenience. Whether without it he would have made an even stronger and iconic leader we will never know. What is certain is that he influenced the thinking of figures such as Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela. Other biographers have often pointed with some asperity to Gandhi's apparent inconsistencies, inferring that they revealed weakness or lack of conviction. In fact they revealed the opposite, as Wolpert explains. The book is perceptive and scholarly, depicting a man who beneath his diminutive exterior possessed all the strengths we knew about - and some weaknesses we didn't. (Kirkus UK)
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Author Biography - Stanley Wolpert
Stanley Wolpert is Distinguished Professor of South Asian History at the University of California, Los Angeles. He has published twenty books on South Asia, including Nehru: A Tryst with Destiny, A New History of India, and Jinnah of Pakistan. He lives in Los Angeles.