FEW men in their lifetime aroused stronger emotions or touched deeper chords of humanity than Gandhi did. 'Generations to come, it may be,' wrote Einstein of Gandhi in July 1944, ' will scarcely believe that such a one as this ever in flesh and blood walked upon this earth'. While millions venerated Gandhi as the Mahatma, the great soul, his political opponents saw in him only an astute politician. Not until 1946-7 (when the transfer of power enabled them in their minds to disengage Mr Gandhi the man from Mr Gandhi the arch-rebel) were the British able to see him in a gentler light. And it was his tragic death which finally convinced his Pakistani detractors that his humanity encompassed and transcended his loyalty to Hinduism.
It is not easy to write the life-story of a man who made such a strong impact on his contemporaries. Yet it is important that the image of Gandhi does not become that of a divinity in the Hindu pantheon, but remains that of a man who schooled himself in self-discipline, who made of his life a continual process of growth, who shaped his environment as much as he was shaped by it, and who tenaciously adhered to certain values to which civilized humanity pays lip-service while flouting them in practice.
Though the arrangement of this biography is necessarily chronological, I have attempted, at appropriate points, to analyse Gandhi's attitude to important issues. The background of Indian nationalism, the Indian political scene when Gandhi returned from South Africa, his religious evolution, the transformation in his mode of life and acquisition of new values, his ethics, economics, and political movements, his attitude to war, and untouchabilityall these have been treated in separate chapters. This combination of the chronological and the analytical methods has facilitated the discussion in the a single volume of Gandhi's long and many-sided