Selected Biographies on Gandhi

  1. M. K. Gandhi: an Indian patriot in South Africa, by Rev. Joseph J. This was the first biography written on Gandhi. This is a sincere account covering Gandhi’s life until October 1909, and is indispensable particularly for Gandhi’s early life and struggle in South Africa, to win civil liberties for the Indian settlers there.
  2. Mahatma Gandhi: the man who became one with the universal being, by Romain Rolland, Century Co., New York and London, 1924.
    This is one of the best sketches of Gandhi’s life and thought and is a work of genius. Rolland described Gandhi as “the man who stirred three million people to revolt, who has shaken the foundations of the British Empire, and who has introduced into human politics the strongest religious impetus of the last two thousand years.”
  3. The Story of My Experiments with Truth; An Autobiography, by M. Gandhi wrote each chapter as an article for his weekly newspaper, The Young India. This is a master reference for information on Gandhi’s heritage and life until 1925. He wrote the original in Gujarati, then Mahadev Desai translated it into English and Gandhi carefully checked every detail in the translation.
  4. Life of Mahatma Gandhi, by Louis Fischer, Harper, New York, 1950.
    This is one of the best known biographies on Mahatma Gandhi. Fischer did not only a thorough research on Gandhi but also went and lived with him for almost six weeks to interview him in as much detail as he could, to see the man in action and to know his true personality.
  5. Gandhi: his life and message for the world, by Louis Fischer, New American Library, New York, 1954.
    This is another moving biography of Gandhi by Fischer. It is written with warmth and simplicity. It tells the whole story of Gandhi from his boyhood days in India through his experiences in South Africa to the exciting years in India when Gandhi put his extraordinary gifts to use in the cause of India’s independence.
  6. Mahatma: life of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, 8 volumes, by G. D. Tendulakar, published by V. K. Jhaveri and D. G. Tendulakar, Bombay, 1951-54.
    This is a monumental biography of Gandhi in eight volumes. In a very simple language, and with extraordinary accuracy, it covers every detail of Gandhi’s work from the beginning to the end of Gandhi’s life. Tendularkar had started the writing during Gandhi’s time and had sought Gandhi’s help in collecting many actual documents. He even had Gandhi check a good part of the writing. After Gandhi’s death Tendulkar continued his research with the support of the Government of India.
  7. The Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi, collected and compiled into 100 volumes, by the Publications Division, Government of India.
    It contains everything that Gandhi ever wrote. But it is quite bulky with poor binding, and requires a great deal of patience to browse through it. The entire Collected Works has recently been put on a CD ROM. This is not only handy to use but also extremely easy to find an information on it. The Index itself is in 1255 pages; and using the ‘Find’ tool of the Acrobat Reader one can easily bring up any material listed in the Index. The CD ROM also contains many photographs as well as some movie clips and the prayers of Gandhi. Among all the references that I have, I find the CD ROM to be the most handy as well as valuable. Its only flaw is that it contains numerous typographical errors.


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