Historian Ramchandra Guha on Saturday gave the city a glimpse of his latest book,Gandhi Before India,which was released by S B Majumdar,Chancellor,Symbiosis International University.
Talking about his motivation to write the biography,which throws light on the first four decades of the Mahatmas life,Guha said he did not want to write about him from all the works that have been published.
There is so much more to learn about Gandhi through letters written to him,letters about him in folklore,songs,paintings and cartoons,intelligence reports and so on. This book highlights events which are less known, said Guha after the release of the book – the first of a two-volume biography.
Guha said he has highlighted the role of less-known people who were crucial in shaping Gandhis life and with whom he interacted while in South Africa. My book starts in Porbandar,Gujarat,in 1869 when he was born and ends 44 years later in the ship that he boarded from Cape Town to return to India, said Guha.
He said Pranjivan Mehta,Henry and Millie Polak,Thambi Naidoo and Sonja Schlesin are among the friends who have been forgotten but were pivotal to Gandhis growing into a writer,propagandist and political figure. Responding to a query by Dileep Padgaonkar,who hosted a discussion with Guha,on speculations on Gandhis search for truth and the pursuit of politics,Guha said,He knew how to run an organisation and garner support,which is also important for any political career. But he was transparent, he said.