Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Book Review - "The Story of My Experiments With Truth"

The Story of My Experiments With Truth (click to read online)
(wikipedia info)
Author: Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi
Translated from gujrati to english: Mahadev Desai
My rating: 5+/5

I am an Indian, lucky enough to be born in free India, and still luckier to be born in modern free India. From our childhood we are taught about how India got its freedom, how Gandhiji with his Satayagraha was instrumental in bringing the deserved freedom with the policy of non voilence and non co-operation. But somewhere down the line, as we grow up all that is taught and fed in the childhood tends to loose away its charm. Anything that is related to Gandhi becomes 'not so cool'. So much so, many youths take pride in proclaiming themselves anti-gandhi, a miniscule because they really mean it, but the larger chunk just trying to be different by trying to be iconoclasts.

I still remember, there were talks going on after the move 'The Legend of Bhagat Singh' (the Ajay Devgan One), that it was because of Gandhi ji that Bhagat Singh had to face the torture of jail. This this was taken up by the wannabe-iconoclasts as a point they would brag about why they dont like Gandhi. My memory fails me to recollect when was this other anti-gandhi argument I had heard, but it was a strong argument, that Gandhi was a sex fanatic and even when he was old he used to live with young females. I must confess I slipped too at one point of time, not because I was anti-gandhi in any sense, but because of my ignorance. My knowledge about him was resticted to what I had learned in my childhood.

Then came 'The story of my experiments with truth' and I could not forgive myself for the few moments I was against Gandhi. I believe, every Indian should read this book atleast once in his life and the earlier the better. A very humbly written book and excellenty translated by Shri Mahadev Desai. All the arguments against him fail once you read this book. It is amazing to see how a common man rose to a position that he was able to communicate with millions of India by the sheer medium of simplicity. Please dont not take me for being under his influence, because I am not praising Gandhian Philosophy (though I seriously believe in many of his), but I have develop respect for him as a person.

One does not find even a speck of arrogance or pride when you read his autobiography, also he has tried to be as open as possible, humbly accepting his shortcomings and highlighting his principles that shaped his life. It is infact fun to walk along with him through his journey of life. Having an initial knowledge about life of Mahatma Gandhi, sometime I really want to read about Nathuram Godse and his point of view.


At 7:30 AM, Blogger Nandz said...

Do you feel his way of life can be followed in today's world?

I was in half mind to order the book after reading your post... but didn't want another half-read book in my drawer! Is it easy reading or is it very heavy and preachy?

At 9:32 AM, Blogger Nikhil said...

If you *totally* believe in his philosophy then one can live life the way he suggests, but the problem is that with technology gone so far its more and more difficult to live by his ideas.

i'd say go for the first half, its very easy reading book and not at all preachy, thats the beauty, he talks as if hes one of your friends.

At 2:38 PM, Blogger Ankit said...

Nikux babu,

I could not agree more... The same goes with me. Although I was never a Gandhi-blaster, I was, nevertheless, woefully ignorant of his philosophies and mutely distant from those who did not use to waste a second in reviling the great man. After reading the book (in 10th I guess), my respect for him as a person increased by leaps and bounds. And now, my blood boils when someone having meagre knowledge about him tries to give expert opinions upon his life and actions. It smacks of nothing else but a shallow desire of trying to be seen as 'in fashion' and 'modern'. More so, when such a desire and the resulting actions are based upon half baked knowledge, if any.

Nice blog...

At 6:30 AM, Blogger Ankush Garg said...

I got it couple of days ago. Mainly because it was 30 bucks. But I opted to read 'Inscrurable Americans' before it. Just could not motivate myself to go through the entire book.

At 6:49 AM, Blogger Sachin said...

Nikux if you liked this book then I suggest "Freedom at Midnight" by Larry Collins and Dominique Lapierre. This was suggested to me by Piggy. One of the best in its class.

At 1:26 AM, Blogger Nikhil said...

lolz, hum logon ki thinking kitani milti hai. This WAS the book I read after that :)

At 8:51 AM, Anonymous dshrestha said...

Very well written blog about the book and how your opinion changed about the man himself. Book never persuade anyone to follow Gandhi as a religion, which of course if you try has no harm. However it certainly invokes you with a deeper sense of responsibility to you and your surroundings.


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