This book explores the political and personal life of
Mahatma Gandhi through the traumatic period, 1946-48, which saw the partition
and independence of India, and the worst-ever communal holocaust in the
The book unfolds how partition came about even as Gandhi’s
strongest convictions were against such a division. The author traces Gandhi’s
role within and outside the Congress and describes how the Mahatma was
politically sidelined from the very start of the negotiations for the transfer
of power. The result was that when the Congress agreed to the partition of
Bengal and Punjab in March 1947, it did not even consult the Mahatma; he was "in
the picture", but out of accord with Congress policy.
Sensing that his political views counted for less and less,
Gandhi accepted the reality of partition — though he could never personally
reconcile to it — and turned his attention to dousing the raging communal fires.
Thus, his astonishing Noakhali pilgrimage, and his fasts in Calcutta and Delhi
which gained him both unprecedented admiration and ultimately cost him his life.
The overriding impression of the period is that of a man
walking alone, holding steadfast to his conscience and convictions as his only
true guides in a situation which both saddened and bewildered him. The book also
offers some clues to help unravel the enigma of Mahatma Gandhi’s personal life
and discusses his fasts and the controverisal brahmacharya experiments of his