Gandhi Before India is a Bulk of a book , but Ramachandra Guha’s writing is very lucid and simple , with 688 pages to go I started this book with huge expectations(I pre-Ordered it). I read 150 pages in one day and kept the book aside for few days ,then slowly I completed the book in 1 week .
This is really a wonderful book , but not for every one , seriously If you like Gandhi or Guha then only you will read this book completley and dont even think of comparing this with India after Gandhi . This is purely about Gandhi and through the eyes of researcher who wants to tell the story of Gandhi with facts and records as the guiding light .
Guha’s research is massive and impressive , and in some pages it’s clearly evident , take for example Gandhi never uses telephone in his life but for his sons arrival in South Africa he uses it this Guha Interprets as a father who is longing for his son , the emotional side of Gandhi .
This book Starts with Gandhi’s Ancestors who were Diwans educated and rich then he proceeds to tell about Gandhi’s childhood and that too in very detailed manner .
Then he explains the life of Gandhi in London , the Vegetarian society ,Raychand bhai , His Mother and brothers , his community and each one them played a very very important role in Gandhi’s life . No spoilers !
Then he goes to South Africa and then Returns to India for a short time and then goes back to South Africa . The Marriage the Vow of celibacy every thing is explained in fine detail.
And the Major part of the book is in South Africa . Where Gandhi became ” MAHATMA ” .
How ? that is the book all about , How Gandhi’s life till this point (South Africa) is impacted by the life he seen by then and what are the beliefs and prejudices he have , The friends he made and how he turned ordinary men in to hero’s and how he stood for a noble cause the sacrifices he has to make , you will start seeing him in a new light , trust me on this one this book will make you realize that he was very human and he never wanted to be mahatma , all he tried to do is to fight the injustice in-front of him .
For that he was ready to go to any distance ,ready to make the ultimate sacrifice, always will be the first one to take that blow and pain , he believed in some principles and he went to great lengths to follow them all his life , he was a loving father a caring husband and a great human being .
Gandhi is an enigma , hard to understand difficult to follow , but this book helps you look at the man closer and it explains how Gandhi acquired all the devices and strategies he later used in India . And this book ends when Gandhi finally leaves for India.