"One evening I watched Mahadev Desai spin"' wrote Louis Fischer, the American biographer of Mahatma Gandhi. Fischer told Desai that he had been listening carefully to Gandhi and studying his notes "and wondering all the time what was the source of his hold on people ; I had come to the tentative conclusion that it was his passion."
"That is right'" Desai said.
"What is the root of his passion?" I asked.
"This passion," Desai explained, "is the sublimation of all the passions that flesh is heir to."
"Sex and anger and personal ambition. . . Gandhi is under his own complete control. That generates a tremendous energy and passion."
Mahadev Desai, succinctly summing up Gandhi as well as such a one ever can be, had served Gandhi devotedly for 24 years as secretary and son.
Because a Mahatma Gandhi or a Jesus of Nazareth or a Socrates of Athens can never be put in a single book it is fortunate that in this writing age we have so many different views describing the multi-dimensional Mahatma Gandhi.
In this case Narayan Desai, son of Mahadev Desai and one of the living heirs of Gandhi's thought and spirit, concretely conveys to us in these two intelligent, intimate memoirs what it was like to grow up not in the shadow of a great man but in the light and love of a man whom he knew as Bapuji (father).
Joan C. Baez