India's political and spiritual leader, Mahatma ("Great Soul") Gandhi led his country's struggle for independence from Britain through a campaign based on nonviolence and civil disobedience. Gandhi's doctrine of nonviolent action profoundly influenced civil rights leaders around the world, including Martin Luther King, Jr., and Nelson Mandela. This anthology of the Mahatma's writings offers a revealing look at his life and philosophy.
Editor Ronald Duncan provides a lengthy introduction in which he recounts his personal association with Gandhi. "In making this selection," he notes, "I have tried to bear three things in mind: firstly, my intention to present material of permanent interest as opposed to comments on day-to-day political matters; also to show the development and to give the essence of Mahatma Gandhi's philosophy of Satyagraha [defense of and by the truth], and its basis in the religious teachings of the Gita; and thirdly, I have tried to emphasize those ideas which, though they may not seem immediately applicable to Western life, should be of considerable relevance to contemporary thought."
In addition to substantial extracts from Gandhi's writings, this collection features his speeches — including some made during his trials — and extracts from his diary. The book concludes with a selection of Gandhi's correspondence with Lord Linlithgow, then Viceroy of India, and their reflections on the country's future.