‘Gandhi: Porbandar to Partition’
| Onkareshwar Pandey - Editor in Chief - CEO, IOP - 29 Oct 2020

Had Nehru, Patel and Prasad Endorsed India's Partition without Consulting Gandhi? 

Had Gandhi become helpless and powerless in the Indian National Congress which he activated and regenerated, in front of Nehru, Patel and Prasad when they acknowledged and endorsed Jinnah’s two-nation theory? Was the endorsement to India’s partition done even without even consulting Gandhi? These are some of the questions raised in a new book ‘Gandhi: Porbandar to Partition,’ authored by Dr. Dilip Datta who has highlighted many other issues for which Gandhi had made a mark in the history of India’s freedom movement. 

By Onkareshwar Pandey

At a time when a section of the society is criticising Gandhi for allowing bifurcation of India based on two nations theory, a new book has come from West Bengal raising the questionwithout Gandhi, India may well have become independent, perhaps even earlier, but would we have been a liberal, democratic nation state?”

“This question should give us pause before we make little of Gandhi’s legacy. Uncertain and imperfect though our democracy may be, it is still the world’s largest, and it functions for the most part,” says Dr. Dilip Datta, a well known author from West Bengal in his latest book on Gandhi.

The Book also raises a question regarding Gandhi’s helplessness at the time of partition. Had Gandhi become helpless and powerless in the Indian National Congress which he activated and regenerated, in front of Jawahar Lal Nehru, Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel and Dr. Rajendra Prasad when they acknowledged and endorsed Jinnah’s two-nation theory? Was the endorsement to India’s partition done even without even consulting Gandhi?

“We find how Gandhi became not only helpless but also powerless in the Indian National Congress which he activated and regenerated, while Nehru, Patel and Prasad acknowledged and endorsed Jinnah’s two-nation theory without even consulting Gandhi,” author Dr. Datta has written in the last chapter of his book.

Dr. Dilip Datta, who has authored 7 books including ‘Indian Manufacturing Industries: Contemporary Issues’, ‘A Brief History from Creation of Universe to Evolution of Human Being’, and ‘Swami Vivekananda: On Life To Budget’, besides portraying Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi more or less as it is, in his book ‘Gandhi: Porbandar to Partition,’ has highlighted many other issues for which Gandhi had made a mark in the history of India’s freedom movement.

“With a little care to Gandhi’s works and speeches, it can be shown that there was indeed another Gandhi; a Gandhi who has always been prompting us to be modern, secular and democratic even though it would appear, he was looking the other way,” Dr. Datta has said in the book.

In the short profile of Gandhi presented by the author in the first two chapters, a vivid description with sociological analyses have been given about Gandhi’s life and activities both in India and South Africa separately.

The author has identified the turning points in Gandhi’s life and how Gandhi, who was shy in Bombay courts, had acquired the power to challenge the most powerful British Empire.

The next two chapters have critically analysed how the then colonial society and the industrialists at his time had helped Gandhi’s ascent in India’s political hierarchy.

The way the author has made interpretation of Hind Swaraj and Gandhi’s experiment with Hind Swaraj is unique and commendable. In the book, we get a new light on Gandhi’s role in protecting the environment and his concept of religion.

The author has shown how Gandhi’s life presents itself to us a series of paradoxes in relation to the question of religion though he ultimately declared that he was a Hindu to the core.

The reasons for Gandhi’s Brahmacharya and vow of celibacy have been psychologically analysed by the author and explained as to why and how a man whose appetite for sex was intense, was to take such a hard decision.

To sum-up, we quote what the author has said, ‘By highlighting Gandhi’s inconsistencies, by making him into a kind of fakir who lost his way into politics, and by portraying him as an enemy of the modern state and of industrial machinery, a grave injustice would be done to his legacy. Many believe that Gandhi is no longer relevant in India.

They argue that India has given up the charkha, gone in for industrialisation, and lapsed into communal frenzy on more occasions than we would like to remember. They, however, do not consider the social impact of Gandhian exhortations to stay close to simplicity, truth and non-violence.

With a little care to Gandhi’s works and speeches, it can be shown that there was indeed another Gandhi; a Gandhi who has always been prompting us to be modern, secular and democratic even though it would appear, he was looking the other way.

Without Gandhi, India may well have become independent, perhaps even earlier, but would we have been a liberal, democratic nation state?

This question should give us pause before we make little of Gandhi’s legacy. Uncertain and imperfect though our democracy may be, it is still the world’s largest, and it functions for the most part

All of us who value this form of governance ought to remember that we owe it to Gandhi, more than to anyone else, for giving us a start in the right direction.

If Gandhi is to be measured in terms of charkhas, frugality and prayer meetings, then, certainly he is of little consequence today. But a sociological appreciation of Gandhi would take us beyond these emblematic acts to the unintended consequences of what he did and stood for. It is only then we realise the gravitas of Gandhi’s living legacy.’

The 155 pages book titled ‘Gandhi: Porbandar to Partition’ published by BEE Books on October 2, 2020 is being sold on Amazon and Kindle among the readers of Gandhi.  


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(Onkareshwar Pandey is Founder, Editor in Chief & CEO, Indian Observer Post and former Senior Group Editor- Rashtriya Sahara (Hindi & Urdu) and also former Editor, (News), ANI. http://bit.ly/2mh7hih Email - SMS- 9910150119)


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