There are a number of books in India that have been written about “Mahatma Gandhi” the “great leader”, but very few on him as a “human being”. One such novel is “Mahatma vs Gandhi” written by Dinkar Joshi, a Gujarati novelist. Based on a “fractured” relationship shared by Mahatma Gandhi and his eldest son Harilal, this novel essentially narrates a tragic tale of a man who failed to live under the “shadow” of a father who was a truly great national political leader in an extremely sensitive manner. Furthermore, this book also manages to beautifully “humanize” Gandhi and helps the reader understand his “flaws” rather than just highlighting his strengths which many books have done. So, here is a presenting an analysis to provide reasons as to “why” this novel is great, and must be read by avid readers.
1. The “Sensitive” Plot/Story of “Mahatma vs Gandhi”:
Originally written in Gujarati and titled “Prakash No Padchayo” this book is based on the “friction” filled relationship shared by Mahatma Gandhi and his elder son Harilal and is translated into English by Dr. Jayini Adhyapak. The plot/story of this wonderful novel revolves around the gradual decline of Harilal as an individual which eventually leads to his tragic death. Furthermore, what also stands out in the plot is the sensitivity in which the novelist has portrayed an extremely complex relationship between a famous father and his son. In addition, this story also beautifully manages to equally project the flaws in both “Gandhi” as well as “Harilal” without representing either of them as a villain. Overall, it would be fair to conclude that the sensitive plot/story has been extremely well handled by the author Joshi, and is a major reason why this novel is such a gripping read.
2. The “Simplistic” Writing style of “Mahatma vs Gandhi”:
“Simplistic” would be the best way to describe the language style used by the translator Dr. Jayini. The use of lucid language and simple vocabulary is what makes this novel an engaging read. In addition, to the use of simple language the narrator has also managed to maintain a good narrative flow which also helps in making this novel extremely readable. Furthermore, the story/plot has been written in the “third person” thereby enabling the reader to understand and form an opinion on this complex father and son tale using the point of view of the writer. And so it would to be apt to say that the use of “simplistic” language is yet another major reason why this novel is a brilliant read.
3. The “Concept” used for “Mahatma vs Gandhi”:
“The humane side of Gandhi” which is basically the concept used by the author Joshi, is yet another major reason why this novel is such a wonderful read. The fact that the author through the use of the concept has sensitively shown that even a great leader like Gandhi had “flaws”, is what separates this book from the many others written on him. Furthermore, the author through this concept also manages to subtly highlight a cruel irony which unfortunately has been linked to Gandhi forever, and that is “Even though he was considered to be the “Father of the nation” he failed to be a father that his son Harilal desperately craved for”.
In conclusion, I would say that this novel “Mahatma vs Gandhi” is absolutely engaging, and must be read by all book lovers around the world who are curious to know about Gandhi the “human”, and not the great “political leader”.
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