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#2 - Jamal Khashoggi case

Culture, Books : Biography , Gandhi as a Fantasy

Par Faisal Devji - 3 mn

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Hallowed ground Gandhi’s life has become a fable BISWARANJAN ROUT

Ramachandra Guha seeks to cast Gandhi as a liberal above all else and avoids the more difficult areas of the Indian leader’s thinking

In a well-known piece of whimsy, Jorge Luis Borges describes a map so detailed as to match in size the territory it represents. The map is mistaken for the land itself until bits wear out, exposing the reality underneath. The faithfulness of representation, Borges seems to be saying, can betray its subject by concealing and so displacing it. I was reminded of this warning when reading the thousand-plus pages of Ramachandra Guha’s account of Gandhi’s Indian career, which follows an equally lengthy volume devoted to his early years in Britain and South Africa.

Guha trained as an economist and his early work was on environmental issues and cricket, subjects he wrote about with elegance and originality. Turning to India’s political past in more recent years, his lucid writing has made hi...