Dean's Blog

Gandhi before India by Ramachandra Guha

Gandhi before IndiaIn July 2014 the Centenary of Gandhi leaving South Africa to London and onto India will be marked; only today I read of a tour of important Gandhi sites in India marking this significant date. Over these past few weeks I have been reading this important book about Gandhi, a prequel to India after Gandhi. The author argues that Gandhi’s political ideas were shaped by his experiences studying to be a lawyer in England and in particular in South Africa. His friendships crossed ethnic and religious divisions and through clarity of principled argument and identification with the poor, he inspired and was able to draw together a remarkably committed and powerful opposition to racist policies in South Africa through peaceful protest. When eventually those in power in South Africa repealed much of the legislation against the Indian community, he was urged to return to his home country to address the much larger issues there.