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M.K Gandhi: An autobiography - My experiments with truth

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Introduction

M.K Gandhi: An autobiography - My experiments with truth Gandhi's autobiography is in many ways unconventional and certainly not what I expected from such a renown figure in history. Firstly, the book does not cover a large portion if his politically active life, as Gandhi lived for approximately another twenty years after the events he describes. Gandhi wrote this book in the language of Gujarati (to promote the use of Hindi and Gujarati), it has been translated although left unedited in this edition. The subtitle of the book is very appropriate, in that this book is not a 'history' book mapping out the political and social struggles of Gandhi, but rather a self-reflection on his life, told through a series of experiments. A large part of this book consists of Gandhi's own personal struggles and self-discovery. He attempts to attain moksha (release from the cycle of samsara) by finding truth, as he believes that this is the only path to God. Ghandi adopts the policy of bramacharya (celibacy) and also what he is most well known for, the way of ahimsa (non-violence). ...read more.

Middle

Gandhi's pacifist ideals are clear throughout the book, although perhaps most noticeable in the political arena, where violence and extortion was rife. Throughout his struggle for equal rights for Indians in South Africa, to his efforts to unite Indians across the country in order to achieve independence, Gandhi is tireless in his quest to bring about equality for every class, religion and race. This book shows his quest to solve internal unrest, such as the communal violence between Muslims and Hindus and also the position of the untouchables. It also describes his efforts to make India a self-reliant country, such as when Gandhi lead the making of Indian salt from saltwater or was pictured spinning cotton. The one thing that this book very clearly describes is the struggle which Gandhi went through in order for his views to be heard and his ideas to be heeded. Despite many setbacks and lack of co-operation, Gandhi puts every effort into making sure his political ideas are instilled, even travelling across the vast country of India by train and taking on self-starvation. ...read more.

Conclusion

He also mentions some characters without any prior introduction and some parts of the book are told through conversations, which can be hard to follow. However, the book leaves you with the impression that these are Gandhi's true, unembellished thoughts; he is not pre-occupied with a beautiful prose, nor is he trying to project a certain image of himself. Ghandi says that he would rather be remembered for his actions than for what he said or what he wrote. If this book is judged on the issues it raises rather than the prose it is written in, it has to be one of the more challenging yet profound books that I have read. It provides a great insight into philosophy, human nature and politics. In addition to this, it explores the rich culture of India; traditions, religions and history. Although in the end Gandhi returns to his roots, of Hinduism, Indian culture and vegetarianism, he does not insinuate that this is the only 'path to truth', but rather that it is through exploring and understanding different cultures and traditions that we can find our own path in life. This book reflects how Gandhi was a true 'Mahatama' - a great soul. 1 Panyaporn Pruksakit VZH ...read more.

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