Satyagraha, ashram life, constructive programmes and institutions that nurture these three have been Gandhi’s enduring legacy. But it is the Gandhi of satyagraha that has been the focus of most studies on the Mahatma. We have no histories of the ashrams, his constructive programmes have mostly been reduced to khadi and village industries, and none of the institutions that Gandhi established or helped nurture have merited a scholarly account.
Thomas Weber is one of those rare scholars who wrote the most authoritative account of the Dandi March, gave a history of the Shanti Sena and studied the impact of Gandhian ideals in movements such as Chipko. This enabled him to understand the people around Gandhi who influenced him and were in turn influenced by him—Gandhi both as a disciple and a mentor.