THIS story for youngsters is about one who touched the lives of millions, whose ideals of satyagraha and ahimsa inspired great leaders of the world and who could make the entire county come to a halt by going on a fast. He was a courageous freedom fighter, a shrewd politician and a passionate social reformer.
The title of Mahatma was given to him by poet Rabindranath Tagore and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill described him as a ‘half-naked faqir’; Nelson Mandela called him ‘the saint of the spinning wheel’ while we in India call him the ‘Father of the Nation’.
Subhadra Sen Gupta has recreated the life and legacy of the phenomenal leader to portray the man who looked like a benign slightly absent-minded grandfather but with sharp intelligent eyes. He had a “round-and bald head with big ears that stuck out at an angle and which made Sarojini Naidu call him Mickey Mouse and this made him laugh.
He wore clothes worn by the poorest and “made a visual statement that even an illiterate farm labourer could understand – he was one of them, he understood the trials of their lives and he was on their side.”
This book not only presents Gandhi’s life story but also gives brief sketches of his foreign friends like C.F. Andrews, Hermann Kallenbach and Madeleine Slade. At the end of the book important dates in Gandhi’s life are given so are some of his valuable quotes and what the world said about him. This book provides good reference material to children.
(Penguin Books India Pvt Ltd, 11 Community Centre, Panchsheel Park, New Delhi – 110 017; www.penguinbooksindia.com)