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Gandhi – and the Unspeakable
His Final Experiment With Truth
by James W. Douglass
Publisher:Orbis Books from Alban Books
This book is very readable and could be described as a page turner, although you already know how it ends. The first section of the book deals with Ghandi’s struggle in South Africa and the way in which his beliefs and practices were sharpened. Douglass demonstrates that Ghandi’s experience in South Africa held both the germ of his success in India as well as his eventual assassination. The second section details the struggle for Indian independence, alongside the struggle between Ghandi’s non-violent philosophy and the competing philosophy of violence. Douglass writes; ‘The non-violent vision Ghandi opened up to the country was based on a power his old disciples, India’s new rulers, could not accept, unless they were willing to reject the kind of nation-state handed over to them by the British.’ (p100).
In the third and final section there is a short reflection on Ghandi’s understanding of the cross and the teaching of Jesus.
The issue of non-violence was a fundamental truth that Ghandi believed and practiced, he followed that truth to the point of his death, this is what Douglass refers to as his ‘Final experiment with truth’. This concept of experimenting with truth by following it wherever it leads is profoundly challenging.
Reviewer: John Macaulay (30/08/12)