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Non-Violent Resistance

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This volume focuses on Gandhi's vision of Satyagraha, whereby one appeals to reason and conscience, and puts an end to evil by converting the evil-doer. The book begins with an explanation of Satyagraha, and proceeds with detailed discussions of the self-training and courage necessary for Satyagraha.

432 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 1961

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About the author

Mahatma Gandhi

588 books6,320 followers
Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, commonly known as Mahatma Gandhi, was the preeminent leader of Indian nationalism in British-ruled India. Employing non-violent civil disobedience, Gandhi led India to independence and inspired movements for non-violence, civil rights and freedom across the world.

The son of a senior government official, Gandhi was born and raised in a Hindu Bania community in coastal Gujarat, and trained in law in London. Gandhi became famous by fighting for the civil rights of Muslim and Hindu Indians in South Africa, using new techniques of non-violent civil disobedience that he developed. Returning to India in 1915, he set about organizing peasants to protest excessive land-taxes. A lifelong opponent of "communalism" (i.e. basing politics on religion) he reached out widely to all religious groups. He became a leader of Muslims protesting the declining status of the Caliphate. Assuming leadership of the Indian National Congress in 1921, Gandhi led nationwide campaigns for easing poverty, expanding women's rights, building religious and ethnic amity, ending untouchability, increasing economic self-reliance, and above all for achieving Swaraj—the independence of India from British domination. His spiritual teacher was the Jain philosopher/poet Shrimad Rajchandra.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 37 reviews
Profile Image for Rivera Sun.
Author 20 books141 followers
February 7, 2013
This book changed how I thought about everything. I read one section, closed the book, and thought about it for two or three days before continuing on. Ganghi's perspectives on the importance of non-violence, and it's ultimate effect on India (and perhaps the entire world) are worth pondering. This book inspired me to read more about Gandhi and his philosophies, shifting me from a passive believer in non-violence to ardently seeking to understand the principles.
Profile Image for Gauss74.
437 reviews76 followers
April 9, 2021
Eterna è infatti la durata nella memoria degli uomini di coloro che sono stati così tanto grandi da scegliere di essere forti nel bene anzichè nel male, da stare dalla parte giusta per convinzione e non per debolezza.
Il grande dono che Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi ci ha fatto, dalla maggior parte di coloro che parlano di lui non è stato compreso: non è infatti la non-violenza, di cui per un motivo o per l'altro è sempre stato pieno il mondo, ma l'essere riuscito per primo a trasformare l'atteggiamento non violento in un simbolo di forza e conseguentemente in uno strumento di concreta azione politica: senza Gandhi non avrebbero senso figure come Mandela o Martin Luther King e l'umanità sarebbe senz'altro peggiore di come è adesso.
Questa antologia di scritti, articoli, lettere aperte ci mostra il pensiero del rivoluzionario indiano in tutta la sua complessità: il nocciolo della politica di gandhi NON è la non-violenza (o almeno non nel suo insieme), ma ciò che corrisponde alla parola-simbolo SATYAGRAHA, che è la via della verità; per Gandhi infatti Verità, non violenza e fede sono tre facce della stessa medaglia, e nessuna di esse può esistere senza le altre due. Chi è falso sarà violento e vuoto, chi è violento sarà falso e miscredente, chi non crede in niente non avrà la forza di liberarsi dalla violenza e dalla falsità.
Parlando di non violenza: perchè nell'azione politica, e più precisamente nella rivoluzione non è lecito usare la violenza? Le motivazioni sono assai solide e mostrano la concretezza dell'agire politico di Gandhi che lo separa da tanti idealisti utopisti di oggi. Una vittoria ottenuta con la violenza non sarà mai duratura, perchè l'offesa fisica e spirituale genererà rancori che non si sopiranno e torneranno ad emergere alla prima occasione; inoltre la violenza genera un abbruttimento progressivo dell'anima a causa del quale il rivoluzionario sarà tentato di saziarsi con metodi sempre più brutali sino a diventare egli stesso un tiranno peggiore di quello che ha soppiantato; inoltre la violenza richiede strumenti materiali ed umani costosissimi per ottenere i quali il rivoluzionario dovrà assoggettarsi da una parte ad una struttura di comando militaresca, dall'altra ad una oppressiva tecnocrazia specializzata. Sulla base di queste riflessioni non può non venire in mente iil deterioramento del regime sovietico come conseguenza della violenza utilizzata per consolidare il suo potere.
Parlando di Verità: Cristallino è l'obiettivo del rivoluzionario, cristallini devono essere i suoi mezzi. Compito del rivoluzionario è arrivare al massimo grado di Verità possibile, nelle sue azioni e nei suoi pensieri. Non possono esistere liberatori ignoranti (l'ignoranza è forza, dirà invece il grande Fratello in 1984),e non possono esserci liberatori falsi. il rivoluzionario Satyagrahi comunicherà al regime che intende abbattere la sua intenzione sin dal primo giorno; non cospirerà ma eserciterà la sua azione di corrosione del regime a viso aperto, accettando passivamente tutte le punizioni e le torture che deriveranno da questa scelta; si sforzerà di studiare e di apprendere fino all'ultimo giorno della sua vita. Parimenti, il satyagrahi per nessun motivo collaborerà col governo che intende abbattere, e non verrà meno a questa regola per nessun calcolo nè strategico nè politico nè tantomeno per tutelare la sua incolumità.
Parlando di fede, si diffiderà dall'ateo proclamato che si proclama rivoluzionario. Non c'è modo migliore per ridurre l'uomo a neo scimmia che l'ateismo, e chi non crede in un Dio personificato è destinato a ridursi ad animale una seconda volta. Dalla preghiera e dalla fede devono discendere la forza di mostrarsi non violenti nonostante la persecuzione e la morte.
E' un messaggio talmente rivoluzionario nella sua forza morale da suscitare lo scandalo ed il disprezzo delle nazioni liberali e la cupa sfiducia di quelle comuniste (nonostante Gandhi stesso si proclami radicalmente comunista, ma di un comunismo molto diverso da quello sovietico). E' un messaggio che contiene un significato di politica non violenta molto diverso da quello cui assistiamo oggi. Gandhi distingue tre tipi di azioni politiche non violente:
1) Non violenza del forte. E' la non violenza deliberatamente scelta da chi contiene sufficiente verità e sufficiente fede per capire che questa è l'unica strada percorribile pur disponendo dei mezzi per agire in odo violento. E' il sublime traguardo del guerriero Satyagrahi.
2) Non violenza del debole: è la non violenza deliberatamente scelta da chi vorrebbe essere violento ma non ne ha i mezzi, in attesa di possederne. E' una non violenza misera ma molto comune, ma resta superiore alla violenza.
3) La non violenza del codardo: sceglie di essere non violento perchè ha paura dello scontro. Questa è una situazione quanto mai vile e volgare, e gandhi dichiara che se un nostro amico pratica la non violenza del codardo, noi dobbiamo supplicarlo e fare di tutto perchè prenda le armi e diventi violento.
Per strana e cervellotica che sia un'idea politica che cresce su queste basi, la storia ci racconta che gandhi ha avuto successo: la liberazione dell' India senza versare una goccia di sangue, ma anche la fine dell'apartheid in Sudafrica sono state ottenute lungo la via del satyagraha. Ma ci sono anche dei fallimenti, ed un Mahatma amareggiato parla di essi nelle ultime pagine di questo libro immenso, che ogni uomo che cerchi una forza spirituale dovrebbe tenere sul comodino.
Lo scisma che separa il Pakistan dall'India, legato ad un fondamentalismo religioso e culturale che il satyagrahi non è riuscito a sconfiggere. Il dubbio che la sua via nulla avrebbe potuto contro il delirio nazista che condurrà all'olocausto, e la conseguente aspra polemica contro il dissanguato popolo ebraico accusato da Gandhi di aver praticato al non violenza del codardo durante l'ascesa di Hitler, e di rivestire con il sionismo i panni dell' oppressore in Palestina.
Satyagraha contro Fascismo. Prorpio da questa domanda rmasta aperta si può partire per riscoprire la luce accecante che esce da queste pagine, non offuscate dalle polemiche di cui sopra. Sicuramente le SS naziste non si sarebbero fermate davanti alla massa disobbediente, ma questo avrebbe fatto la differenza? Il satyagrahi da una parte non tiene in nessun conto la propria vita perchè ha fede in Dio; dall'altra morendo dà il massimo contributo alla verità, in modo che tutto il mondo conosca la vera natura dell'oppressore e del rivoluzionario: logorando in questo modo il pilastro dell'ignoranza su cui ogni regime si fonda e rendendo impossibile il rovesciamento della morale su cui l'Olocausto si è sbagliato.
Forse la brutalità nazifascista avrebbe reso reso la vita molto più dura al satyagraha, non è detto che avrebbe vinto. Ed è solo uno dei tanti spunti di riflessione che questo libro consegna al lettore: un libro indimenticabile, e che può essere sfogliato anche per tutta la vita quando capita di avere voglia di pensare, o di battersi per un'idea.
P.S. Satyagraha contro 5 stelle? Non c'è battaglia.
Profile Image for Ajeje Brazov.
664 reviews
September 20, 2017
Il pensiero di Gandhi, la non-violenza, è nobilissimo e lo condivido, in gran parte.
Il libro ripercorre la sua personale lotta alla non-violenza, non-collaborazione, disobbedienza civile e quant'altra azione atta a disgregare il pensiero comune che la violenza si combatta con altra violenza. La parte che meno condivido o che semplicemente mi appartiene poco o niente, è la troppa religiosità della sua lotta. Quello che invece condivido in pieno, è che: la violenza genera violenza - "Il genere umano può liberarsi della violenza soltanto ricorrendo all'amore. Rispondendo all'odio con l'odio non si fa altro che accrescere la grandezza e la profondità dell'odio stesso."

Ora veniamo qui al libro che ho letto: la struttura che è stata adottata, non mi è piaciuta per niente, cioè aver esposto la lotta alla non-violenza, non in modo cronologico, ma per argomentazione. Questo ha fatto sì che la lettura sia risultata non lineare, confusionaria, ripetitiva all'esaurimento, fino a sfociare nella noia più profonda. L'inizio è molto interessante, ma poi ho perso "il contatto con le pagine" e il tutto mi è risultato sempre più lontano, distante...
La lotta ci è raccontata tramite discorsi, appelli ecc... e risposte a domande ricevute a Gandhi da parte di giornalisti, amici, esponenti di altre Nazioni ecc... sparpagliate, letteralmente, qui e là per il libro.
Profile Image for ZaRi.
2,322 reviews765 followers
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June 6, 2016
Non-violent resistance implies the very opposite of weakness. Defiance combined with non-retaliatory acceptance of repression from one's opponents is active, not passive. It requires strength, and there is nothing automatic or intuitive about the resoluteness required for using non-violent methods in political struggle and the quest for Truth.
"In the secret of my heart I am in perpetual quarrel with God that He should allow such things [as the war] to go on. My non-violence seems almost impotent. But the answer comes at the end of the daily quarrel that neither God nor non-violence is impotent. Impotence is in men. I must try on without losing faith even though I may break in the attempt."
"I appeal for cessation of hostilities ... because war is bad in essence. You want to kill Nazism. Your soldiers are doing the same work of destruction as the Germans. The only difference is that perhaps yours are not as thorough as the Germans ... I venture to present you with a nobler and a braver way, worthy of the bravest soldiers. I want you to fight Nazism without arms or ... with non-violent arms. I would like you to lay down the arms you have as being useless for saving you or humanity. You will invite Herr Hitler and Signor Mussolini to take what they want of the countries you call your possessions. Let them take possession of your beautiful island, with your many beautiful buildings. You will give all these but neither your souls, nor your minds. If these gentlemen choose to occupy your homes, you will vacate them. If they do not give you free passage out, you will allow yourself, man, woman and child, to be slaughtered, but you will refuse to owe allegiance to them ... I am telling His Excellency the Viceroy that my services are at the disposal of His Majesty's Government, should they consider them of any practical use in advancing the object of my appeal."
Profile Image for بثينة العيسى.
Author 22 books24.9k followers
November 5, 2011
Now with everything that is happening ; the Arab Spring, the Wall Street Occupation, the World Revolution in general, I find reading Gandhi's Satyagraha extremely crucial for the peoples to make sure that everything goes for the betterment of humanity.

What is really amazing about this book, and I consider it a political one, is that it's mainly dedicated for spirituality! This makes perfect sense. If you are not pure in the soul you cannot really adopt the method of non-violent resistance effectively.

The Satyagraha is very simple in theory, Gandhi is right in saying that you can teach it to a 6 year-old child! But it's extremely tough to put it into practice.

Yesterday I was bullied by some twitter follower because I said I liked the book. I don't think I was successful in remaining all calm and peaceful when responding to him! lol :-)

I promise to try harder next time.
One more thing; the book is kinda repetitive.. just saying!
Profile Image for Tim Franzen.
30 reviews14 followers
February 22, 2008
This is an amazing book. In it Gandhi presents a logical arguement for the practicality of non-violent warfare. Waging war using civility, strikes, civil disobediance. Gandhi aims to make citizens grasp the power that they already have. The power to shut down an ecomony in one day.
The power to take the higher ground, to highlight the injustice of their enemy without humiliating them, thus allowing the enemy ego room to shift their position, to change their hearts and minds. Gandhi loved his enemies, truly.
Profile Image for Michela.
22 reviews6 followers
September 17, 2011
Ho dato a questo libro tre stelline non per le parole di Gandhi ovviamente ma per il saggio iniziale che stava per farmi desistere dal leggere fino in fondo e per il modo in cui sono stati raggruppati i vari testi!Tutto questo ha reso la lettura noiosa e pesante!
Profile Image for Amir Noferesti.
23 reviews4 followers
August 3, 2016
This book changed my thought, I was read it trough the green movement uprising in Iran on June-September 2009, This book inspired me to do a non-violent resistance because it is opposite of weakness nad Defiance combined with non-retaliatory acceptance of repression from one's opponents.it requires strength, intuitive, resoluteness required for using non-violent methods in political struggle and the quest for Truth.
non-violence resistance requires restraint on the associates. It also needs an adversary that is proficient of reform. I have learned from this book in an endeavor to improve myself. If you are interested in the life of Mahatma Gandhiji, or in the process of non-violent resistance, this book will be interesting to you.

“The first principle of non-violent action is that of non-cooperation with everything humiliating.”
― Mahatma Gandhi, Gandhi On Non-Violence
Profile Image for Nufach.
49 reviews13 followers
January 31, 2014
Mohandes Gandhi, a men who choose non-violent against unarmed, was died in 1948. Everyone remember him as an activist non-war. He dedicated his life for humanity, freedom, and peacefullness.

A war just broke an humanity for social life. No one like attack by another, no one want kill another even with the gun.

As long as the resistance he did, Gandhi never distinguish peoples's religion, difference skin, and their nation. We know that Gandhi was the only one man who againts invaders with fasting. He will accept the food to his mouth after the war is end. Because of it, his physical so weak before the nutrition of the food came in.





"An eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind."
– Mahatma Gandhi
Profile Image for apollojet.
77 reviews16 followers
June 11, 2015
Охренительный, уникальный какой-то человек. Хотя к жене относился хреново. Любил - но по-своему как-то.
Еще интересно было почитать про то, что вегетерианство, которое распространилось по Европе - основано на учении какого-то индуиского еретика и дурачка (сам Ганди был веганом по хардкору)
"Человек и его поступок - вещи разные. В то время, как хороший поступок заслуживает одобрения, а дурной - осуждения, человек, независимо от того, хороший или дурной поступок он совершил, всегда достоин либо уважения, либо сострадания, спотря по обстоятельствам."
Profile Image for Alexandra.
15 reviews
February 8, 2014
This is the third time I'm using this book for class. Anyone interested in Gandhi's philosophy of Satyagraha and the application of his philosophy needs to read this book. This is not a book to skim, but one to read with full attention. Many chapters are short, so one chapter a day as a meditation-style reading would be doable.
Profile Image for Michael.
1,521 reviews5 followers
August 12, 2022
I have been reading this book off and on for several months, and have not quite finished it, but a recent event brought these teachings to mind, and highlighted how difficult the path of nonviolence is.

On Monday morning, at 1:30AM, I--along with a thousand other people--was woken up by incredibly loud, echoing music. It sounded like a concert was taking place somewhere, but it wasn't: it was a young guy with six speakers mounted on his car, holding some kind of impromptu dance party in the parking lot of an industrial area. Three different towns received complaints to their police departments, and the young man in question was arrested and charged with a crime (most likely a misdemeanor).

During this time, while I was out of bed, listening at my living room window and trying to determine what on earth was going on, I was thinking about violence, and how--in that moment--I would have liked to gone to where this person was with an AR-15 and shot up his speakers. I was tired. I was deeply annoyed. I was a little anxious. But here's the question: WWGD: What Would Gandhi do?

Gandhi, I expect, would have found the person responsible for this deeply annoying disturbance, and kindly tried to explain to him how his actions were causing suffering for many, many people who were trying to get a good night's sleep. Gandhi would have tried to reach out to this young man's humanity, and help him to see that his actions--no matter what their intention--were causing harm. If the young man responded with aggression, or violence, I suspect that Gandhi would have, peacefully and nonviolently, escalated his response. Perhaps he would have put his body in front of, on on top of, the speakers. Perhaps he would have engaged others around the young man to plead with the better angels of his nature. Perhaps he would have found a way for the young man to channel his energies elsewhere, by offering him creative alternatives to what he was doing. I'm not sure. But what I am 100% sure of is that Gandhi wouldn't have fantasized about shooting the dumb mother fucker, let along actually acting out on that dark (albeit deeply satisfying) fantasy.

A single data point in a world of madness, right? But that's the point: our thoughts become our actions all too often. Without mindfulness; without the disciplines of ahimsa and satyagraha, too often people respond impulsively, thoughtlessly, and violently. Nonviolence isn't something that just happens: it is a discipline that must be cultivated, nurtured, and fertilized though things like prayer, meditation, and community.

We live in a world on fire, literally and figuratively. Our planet is heating and changing due to human activity. There are wars, there are terrorists, there is oppression and brutality and lies and cruelty. Poverty and illness and unfairness; injustice and despair. Everywhere. Gandhi makes a convincing case that the response to all of this--indeed, the solution--is nonviolence, peace, and compassion.

I have found, as I have aged, that the simple answers tend to be the most complex and challenging. For example, the two words "everything changes" are easy to say and almost impossible to accept. For Gandhi, "there is no path to peace; peace is the path." Our future on this planet may depend on understanding, in the deepest recesses of our beings, those 10 words. I have studied, and meditated upon, and considered, nonviolence for most of my adult life (including my four years in the military). It is a strange state of affairs to be convinced about something, yet still be unable or unwilling to accept it.

Peace is the path to peace. Inner peace, outer peace. Easy to say. Hard to do!

So as I stood at my living room window, ruminating on violence and suffering for a dumb kid who woke me (and a lot of other people) up, I was reminded of this quote from Gandhi: "A man is but a product of his thoughts. What he thinks he becomes." I need to ever be working on my thinking.
Profile Image for Man O'neal.
61 reviews2 followers
January 16, 2011
I am not neccesarily saying that my mind is on the same plain as that of Mohandas Gandhi´s, but when reading certain passages from this book I felt as though I was reading my own words. To feel as though an individual like Gandhi agrees with me regarding princıples ,on which I previously felt alone, is comforting. That being saıd, I am hard pressed to invision a person who would not find great insight, or at least food for thought (and lots of it), in this text. Of course, we generally acknowledge that peace and love are good and that violence is bad...but still, and too often, the latter persists over the former. Within Satyagraha Gandhi presents us wıth his methods on how to conduct one´s life so as to render the previous statment false. As well as arguments that most would find to be sound and reasonable, this work offers to us the more spiritual and faith driven thoughts of Gandhi that cannot really be argued for in a way that we would call logical (Ex: faith in God and fasting as an essential element to true prayer or enlightenment). These may very well be the sections with which you struggle. If the reader is not too familiar with the philosophies of Gandhi, they may very well be suprised to find how firm he was in his demands towards his followers. His teachıngs go beyond, "Be kind to all and don´t use physical violence". He expects those who call themselves Satyagrahis to be extremely disciplined in their daily routine and ,as you will find emphasized in the book, to embrace even the most intense suffering. As a word of caution I must say that this book can be frustrating at tımes. Gandhi´s wording can be very difficult to grasp. This being so, after about 100 or 150 pages (for some reason) the writing becomes much clearer. At least this was the case in my experience. There is little need for me to detail Gandhi´s argument within this review. If one chooses to read it than they shall see said detaıls for themselves. All I can say is that I found it to be interesting and enrichıng and that I feel as though I am better for having read it.
Profile Image for Bradley Farless.
242 reviews42 followers
January 14, 2012
I just finished reading The Essential Gandhi, so my rating is affected by a comparison with that book which, I think, is far better.

The selections in this collection of writings is just as meaningful and important, but it's more confusing, because it incorporates writings from people other than Gandhi and it was not always very clear whose words I was reading. The writings also seemed a bit disjointed and in no particular order. Since Gandhi describes Satyagraha as a progressively more refined experiment, it would probably make more sense to have given his writings in chronological order, so that progression is more apparent. Maybe label the chapters by time period with sub-headings that describe the topic.
Profile Image for Estelle.
38 reviews
July 26, 2011
Un court condensé de plusieurs textes écrit par Gandhi, son autobiographie notamment. Il y explique ses différentes luttes: contre son propre corps et ses désirs (Brahmacharya, régime alimentaire strict...) mais aussi contre la violence et la folie des hommes (apartheid et système des castes...), notamment en Afrique du Sud où s'est forgé son principe de la lutte non-violente.
Très utile pour un premier aperçu de la manière de pensée et de la vie de Gandhi. (Je vous conseille également le film d'Attenborough si vous voulez en savoir plus)
Read
October 6, 2022
A Titanic book on how to become a Better human being. Beware tho, it's tricky, he Always repeat himself, contradict himself. This cause the curator tried to create a tematic and not so chronological edition, and the result Is a huge mess, not to Say a Total clown Fiesta. It Is very difficult and draining. Obliviously worth Reading, shouldn't even mentiton that.
About him, there's a quote of Einstein that says: "next generations Will not believe a man of similar moral stature had Walked on earth."
Profile Image for E.D.E. Bell.
Author 28 books193 followers
March 28, 2015
I found this book very interesting and thought-provoking. As a collection of various writing and speech, it is often disjointed, and would have benefited from some additional context from the editors (an updated edition could greatly assist for the modern reader), but this is a very high four star rating from me - if you want to understand Satyagraha, this book explores the topic from many facets, and is a fascinating read.
Profile Image for Luis Rolando.
Author 5 books11 followers
January 14, 2016
Una lectura refrescante y retadora. Gandhi hablaba de un socialismo enfocado en el ser humano, en la convivencia y la justicia. Más que eso, hablaba de valores que no se confunden con las etiquetas, que principios que no se doblan con la militancia o la coyuntura. Increíblemente actual.
6,052 reviews66 followers
April 22, 2015
Ce livre est en fait un résumé d'autres oeuvres majeures sur la vie de Gandhi. Condensé et bien fait, il présente la philosophie et les idées de ce grand homme. Un livre qui fait beaucoup réfléchir et qui faut vraiment la peine d'être lu. Un incontournable!!
Profile Image for Erik09.
135 reviews2 followers
January 11, 2008
nice book for present world, I enjoyed reading it
Profile Image for Charlotte.
471 reviews10 followers
Want to read
March 12, 2010
New York Public Library listed this book as one of the best books on colonialism and its aftermath of the century.
Profile Image for Pierre Fortier.
437 reviews5 followers
July 15, 2016
Collage de plusieurs textes de Gandhi qui effleure la philosophie de ce grand homme et le parcours trop sommaire de sa vie. Aussi bien lire "Cette nuit la liberté" de Lapierre-Collins. Vide et plat.
Profile Image for Yassine Harek.
6 reviews1 follower
April 22, 2014
Si ce n'était pas pour le mauvais ordre, parfois, des quotations ça aurait été un 5
Profile Image for Anu.
368 reviews44 followers
September 6, 2021
Collection of writings including excerpts from Gandhi’s autobiography and editorials/weekly questions from newspapers. Gandhi’s legal eagle shines in the immaculate construction of his arguments in answering questions. While his superhuman strength of character is reinforced in the moral clarity he displays, that remains tenaciously consistent through hard times, often veering on self-punishing. I loved the section with his rebuttal to Rabindranath Tagore and his counter to a critic who accuses him of being more politician than saint. Gandhi’s earnestness shines in every piece of writing, elevating even the prosaic subjects to divine discourse.
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