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Thursday, Oct 21, 2021
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Two Men From Gujarat

In 'Liberty or Death', acclaimed by the likes of Philip Ziegler, brilliant, young historian Patrick French reassesses the architects of Indian independence. Exclusive extracts:

Two Men From Gujarat
Two Men From Gujarat
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53

IF Gandhi is your hero, it can be a deflating experience to read what he actually did and said at crucial points in India's political history. The authorised version of the Mahatma is very different from the real one. Far from being a wise and balanced saint, Gandhi was an emotionally troubled social activist and a ruthlessly sharp political negotiator. As India's Transport Minister Dr John Matthai said in 1947, the final failure to reach a satisfactory settlement with the Muslim League stemmed in part from the 'Gujarati mentality' of the Congress leadership—'ie that of a trader driving a hard bargain'.

Gandhi remains the most baffling and inconsistent figure in the Indian freedom movement, a man who worshipped truth yet often had trouble identifying it, who shunned adulation yet seemed to do all he could to encourage it.

A close reading of his statements on a particular subject usually results not in a sense of illumination, but of obfuscation. He often changed his mind, and many of his pronouncements amount to ental spring-cleaning...

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