The literature I have reacted most to has been Japanese, especially Shusaku Endo whom death deprived of a Nobel Prize. In Endo's great novella, The Girl Left Behind, a nondescript factory worker, Mitsu, who has been wrongfully confined to a leprosy sanatorium, is found to be free from the dreaded disease but returns to be with her stricken friends in an act of Christian charity. Christ himself, a critic has noted, speaks to Mitsu. But Gandhiji could have spoken to her as well. In turn, she speaks to all of us.
The Endo novels intensified the sense of public purpose that I received from Narsimha Mehta's bhajan 'Vaishnav Jan To..' in my teens, while Tagore's 'Ekla Cholo Re' added to the spirit of 'going alone' that drives my work as a Professor of Economics.