‘Britain would’ve been lucky to have Gandhi’ | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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‘Britain would’ve been lucky to have Gandhi’

When British journalist Graham Turner decided to write a book on the life of Mahatma Gandhi, he was not worried about being yet another author to choose Gandhi as his subject.

mumbai Updated: Jan 04, 2011 01:29 IST
Aarefa Johari

When British journalist Graham Turner decided to write a book on the life of Mahatma Gandhi, he was not worried about being yet another author to choose Gandhi as his subject.

“Most of the books written on Gandhi are heavy and not easy to read. I wanted to write something that young people would find interesting and accessible,” said Turner, whose book Catching up with Gandhi was released in the city on Monday evening.

The biography doubles up as a travelogue that traces myriad episodes in the Mahatma’s life through the author’s own visits to the places where they occurred – from Gandhi’s childhood home in Porbandar to his jail cell in South Africa, from his ashrams to Delhi’s Birla House where he was assassinated.

Throughout his journeys over the past three years, Turner had as guides and companions Gandhi’s grandchildren, Rajmohan Gandhi in India and Ela Gandhi in South Africa.

“The South African prison where he had to live for months was a hell hole, but Gandhi managed to write hundreds of letters to his loved ones from there,” said Turner, who regards Gandhi as the greatest personality of the twentieth century. “Britain would have been lucky to have a hero like Gandhi.”

Despite his strong admiration, Turner’s biography also talks about Gandhi’s sexual experiments and inadequacies as a father. “My book was not meant only to praise Gandhi. It’s important to remember that he was human, because he never wanted to be made a god.”

Through the book, Turner hopes to drive home the lasting relevance of Gandhi’s principles.

“He was a man with great foresight, and in today’s world of constant cultural migration, his principles of religious tolerance and freedom are something we will have to follow,” said Turner.