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Catching Up With Gandhi

Graham Turner, Penguin, 2010, 344 p, 37 Ills, ISBN : 9780143415695, $20.00 (Includes free airmail shipping)

Catching Up With Gandhi

In a world in thrall to money, how does one recapture the essence and unveil the legacy of Mahatma Gandhi this man who espoused poverty but whose face is now, ironically, on every Indian bank note? What better than to follow in his footsteps, to visit the places which meant most to him and to talk with some of the people who knew him best?

That is what Graham Turner decided to do, often in company with two of Gandhi’s grandchildren, Rajmohan in India and Ela in South Africa. He went to the childhood homes of both Gandhi and his wife Kastur in Porbandar and visited the former British Residency in Rajkot from which Gandhi was unceremoniously ejected by one of the Raj’s servants. The author stood in the modest court room in Ahmedabad where Gandhi was found guilty of sedition by that same Raj and ventured into the prisons to which Gandhi was so often consigned. Turner walked along the beach at Juhu where the Mahatma went to recuperate, and talked with Rajmohan at Birla House in New Delhi where his grandfather was assassinated.

The result is both a fascinating journey and a candid and immensely readable portrait of the man who, with all his well-documented foibles and weaknesses, not only led his country to freedom but also lit up the world with his life and ideas.

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