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Throughout his long and turbulent career as a political leader, first in South Africa and then in India, Gandhi sought to fulfil his religious aspirations through politics and to reconcile politics with personal religious conviction. But Gandhi’s religion was wildly divergent from anything to have taken root in his native India. Foremost among his private tenets was the belief that he was a world saviour, long prophesied and potentially divine.
Penetrating and provocative, Kathryn Tidrick’s book draws on neglected material to explore the paradoxes within Gandhi’s life and personality. She reveals a man whose spiritual ideas originated not in India, but in the drawing rooms of late-Victorian England, and which included some very eccentric and damaging notions about sex. The resulting portrait is complex, convincing and, to anyone interested in the legacy of colonialism, more enlightening than any previously published.
The Gandhi revealed here is not the secular saint of popular renown, but a difficult and self-obsessed man driven by a messianic sense of personal destiny.
“A fine and engaging biography ... His ideas remain very relevant in understanding the problems that plague the contemporary world.”
“Original and convincing, Tidrick locates the roots of Gandhi’s thought in the lunatic spiritualist fringe of late-Victorian England, among the occultists, high fibre-ists and mediums who flourished in late nineteenth-century London.”
“Fair and balanced.”
“Exhaustively researched ... Gandhi emerges from Tidrick's detailed and balanced biography as a man with his full share of flaws, contradictions and oddities, but with more than a streak of genuine holiness.”
“An extraordinarily careful, calm and courageous work. Any serious student of this historical figure would have more to learn about his outlook from her work than from any other extant study of him.”