Gandhi Before India
In 1893, when Mohandas Gandhi set sail for South Africa, he was a briefless lawyer who had failed to establish himself in India. In this remarkable biography, Ramachandra Guha argues that the two decades that Gandhi spent in the diaspora were the making of the Mahatma. It was here that he forged the philosophy and techniques that would ultimately destroy the British Empire.
Based on archival research in four continents, this book explores Gandhi's experiments with dissident cults, his friendships and enmities, and his failures as a husband and father. Gandhi Before India tells the dramatic story of how he mobilized a cross-class and inter-religious coalition, pledged to non-violence in their battle against a racist regime.
Deeply researched and beautifully written, this book will radically alter our understanding and appreciation of modern India's greatest man.
Ramachandra Guha was raised in Dehradun and educated in Delhi and Kolkata. Now based in Bangalore, he has previously taught at Yale, Stanford, Oslo, and the London School of Economics. He has pioneered three distinct fields of historical inquiry: environmental history (as in The Unquiet Woods, 1989), the social history of sport (A Corner of a Foreign Field, 2002), and contemporary history (India After Gandhi, 2007). His most recent book is a collection of essays, Patriots and Partisans, published by Penguin in 2012. His other books include Savaging the Civilized: Verrier Elwin, His Tribals, and India (1999).
Guha's awards include the Leopold-Hidy Prize of the American Society for Environmental History, the Sahitya Akademi Award, and the Padma Bhushan. His books and essays have been translated into more than twenty languages. In 2008, and again in 2013, Guha featured on Prospect magazine's list of the world's most influential thinkers.