Friday, 14 June 2013

A few words about 'My Experiments with Truth'

Finally, a long time after I bought the book, I finished M.K.Gandhi's autobiography, 'The Story of My experiments with Truth'. Presented with a very simple narrative, it mostly covers Gandhi's early life and his formative years in South Africa. If you are looking to read about the genesis of Gandhi's political philosophy, Satyagraha and Ahimsa, you will be disappointed.

For, the central theme is constantly seeking self-improvement and putting service before self. It is these two ideas that seem to have shaped his early life. Guided by these two principles, we see the transformation of a shy, not-so-confident young man into a selfless public servant with strong convictions. Although, I could not find any mention of where this transformation occurred. It probably grew on him during his observation of the plight of Indians on South Africa, the Pietermaritzburg incident not really being projected as the turning point. I may not agree with his extreme experiments in dietics, self-restraint, brahmcharya, etc., but I can appreciate the underlying belief that seeking simplicity in life as important for improvement of the self.

Above all, it is a pleasure to read about Gandhi, the person versus Gandhi, the Mahatma.

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