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Apprenticeship of a Mahatma (A Biography of M.K. Gandhi 1869-1914)

Apprenticeship of a Mahatma (A Biography of M.K. Gandhi 1869-1914)
$12.50
Item Code: IDD991
Author: Fatima Meer
Publisher: Gandhi Hindustani Sahitya Sabha
Language: English
Edition: 1997
ISBN: 8186198067
Pages: 117
Cover: Paperback
Other Details: 9.2" X 6.0"

Back of the Book

This is a revised edition of Apprenticeship of a Mahatma, first published in 1970 and banned between 1976 and 1986 because its author, Fatima Meer was banned.

Alan Paton wrote the following foreword to the book in 1970.

Apprenticeship of a Mahatma is a simply written story of the life of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi from his birth to his final departure from South Africa. It has also a concluding chapter which makes it clear that his twenty-one years in our country was an apprenticeship for the stupendous task he was to set himself, and that was nothing less than the liberation of India.

The virtue of Fatima Meer's book lies in its simplicity. It makes the story of Gandhi real and interesting and intelligible to many of our younger people who would find it difficult to read a heavy and earnest book, omitting no detail of the life of the Mahatma.

Who was to know that this baby, born on October 2, 1869, in the obscure town of Porbandar, India, was to live his life in such a way that his name is not likely to be forgotten so long as the human race inhabits this earth? There was indeed no sign of it. Not even during his growth to manhood did anyone recognize that this slight, shy, earnest (and sometimes naughty) boy, would one day move the hearts of millions of his countrymen, as no man had done before and as possibly no man will do again.

When he died, people mourned because some goodness, some power for love and peace and justice, had been taken from the earth. Like most of us, he did not recognize some of his faults. But once he recognized a fault, it was doomed. His power of will, his power to decide to do this or not to do that, his power to abstain if he thought that abstinence was needed to make him a better instrument of God, was one of the things that brought him the admiration of millions.

It is this truth about Gandhi, the great soul in the insubstantial vessel, the immense power of will, the hatred of cruelty and injustice, the passionate and unceasing resistance to them, and the positive assertion of the good, that Fatima Meer conveys to us so simply and clearly. Her devotion to him and her cool appraisal of him, are both evident in this slender book. It is a fine addition, not only to the literature of Gandhi, but to the literature of South Africa as well.

Foreword

"Apprenticeship of a Mahatma", fills a long-felt need. It is a simply written story of the life of Mahatma Gandhi from his birth till his final departure from South Africa. It has also a concluding chapter which makes it clear that his twenty—one years in our country was an apprenticeship for the stupendous task he was to set himself, and that was nothing less than liberation of India. Gandhi succeeded — one might almost say single-handed though he would not have liked such a statement — in liberating India from the rule of Britain. The second part of his task, namely the liberating of India from racial and caste prejudice, he did not complete, but that was due to no defect in himself; such a liberation, of a country from prejudice and injustice, is never completed, and must be begun anew by every succeeding generation.

The virtue of Fatima Meer’s book lies in its simplicity. It will make the story of Gandhi real and interesting and intelligible to many of our younger people who would find it difficult to read a heavy and earnest book, omitting no detail of the-life of the Mahatma. I hope that many of our boys and girls will read it, and that they will learn why the centenary of the birth of this man was honoured throughout the world. Who was to know that this baby, born on October 2nd, 1869, in the obscure town of Porbandar, India, was to live his life in such a way that his name is not likely to be forgotten so long as the human race inhabits this earth? There was indeed no sign of it. Not even during his growth to manhood did anyone recognise that this slight, shy, earnest (and sometimes naughty) boy, would one day move the hearts of millions of his countrymen, as no man had done before and as possibly no man will do again. Nor did anyone know then that when the news of his death would be flashed around the world, there would be in every country people filled with grief.

Gandhi had many faults, and of course they have all been remembered during his centenary year. Yet when he died people mourned because some goodness, some power for love and peace and justice, had been taken from the earth. Like most of us, he did not recognise some of his faults. But once he recognised a fault, it was doomed. His power of will, his power to decide to do this or not to do that, his power to abstain if he thought that abstinence was needed to make him a better instrument of God, was one of the things that brought him the admiration of millions. Yet he took no credit for it. He declared himself to be a frail being whom a puff of wind could blow away, and declared that the strength in him was nothing less than the spirit of God. Some people would think this conceit or arrogance, and some did; but most of them, seeing the frail body and the unconquerable spirit, believed that it was true.

It is this truth about Gandhi, the great soul in the insubstantial vessel, the immense power of will, the hatred of cruelty and injustice, the passionate and unceasing resistance to them, and the positive assertion of the good, that Fatima Meer conveys to us so simply and clearly. Her devotion to him, and her cool appraisal of him, are both evident in this slender book. It is a fine addition, not only to the literature of Gandhi, but to the literature. of South Africa as well.

 

CONTENTS

  FOREWORD  
1. A SON FOR PUTLIBAI 1
2. A HUSBAND FOR KASTUR 7
3. HEADING FOR LONDON 14
4. A YOUNG KATHIAWADI IN LONDON 19
5. AN INDIAN LAWYER FOR SOUTHERN AFRICA 25
6. AN INDIAN POLITICIAN IN NATAL 32
7. ADVOCATE OF THE SOUTH AFRICAN INDIAN CAUSE 37
8. A FAMILY IN DURBAN 47
9. IN QUEST OF INDIA 52
10. MISSION TO THE TRANSVAAL 55
11. SATYAGRAHA 66
12. UNION 85
13. THE GREAT MARCH 95

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