The South Asian Studies Council Annual Gandhi Lecture presents:
Ramachandra Guha, Bengaluru based historian and biographer. “Gandhi: The Years That Changed the World, 1914-1948.”
This volume opens with Mohandas Gandhi’s arrival in Bombay in January 1915 and takes us through his epic struggles over the next three decades: to deliver India from British rule, to forge harmonious relations between India’s Hindu and Muslim populations, to end the pernicious Hindu practice of untouchability, and to develop India’s economic and moral self-reliance. We see how in each of these campaigns, Gandhi adapted methods of nonviolence–strikes, marches, fasts–that successfully challenged British authority, religious orthodoxy, social customs, and would influence non-violent, revolutionary movements throughout the world. In reconstructing Gandhi’s life and work, Ramachandra Guha has drawn on sixty different archival collections, the most significant among them, a previously unavailable collection of papers belonging to Gandhi himself. Using this wealth of material, Guha creates a portrait of Gandhi and of those closest to him-family, friends, political and social leaders–that illuminates the complexity inside his thinking, his motives, his actions and their outcomes as he engaged with every important aspect of social and public life in the India of his time.
He has taught at the universities of Yale and Stanford, held the Arné Naess Chair at the University of Oslo, and served as the Philippe Roman Professor of History and International Affairs at the London School of Economics. Guha’s books include a pioneering environmental history, The Unquiet Woods (University of California Press, 1989), and an award-winning social history of cricket, A Corner of a Foreign Field (Picador, 2002). India after Gandhi (Macmillan/Ecco Press, 2007) was chosen as a book of the year by the Economist, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, the San Francisco Chronicle, Time Out, and Outlook, and as a book of the decade in the Times of India, the Times of London, and The Hindu. Gandhi Before India (Knopf, 2014), which was chosen as a notable book of the year by the New York Times. The second and concluding volume of his Gandhi biography has just appeared. Apart from his books, Guha also writes a syndicated column, that appears in ten languages in newspapers with a combined readership of some twenty million. Guha’s books and essays have been translated into more than twenty languages. The New York Times has referred to him as ‘perhaps the best among India’s nonfiction writers’; Time Magazine has called him ‘Indian democracy’s pre-eminent chronicler’. Ramachandra Guha’s awards include the Leopold-Hidy Prize of the American Society of Environmental History, the Daily Telegraph/Cricket Society prize, the Malcolm Adideshiah Award for excellence in social science research, the Ramnath Goenka Prize for excellence in journalism, the Sahitya Akademi Award, and the R. K. Narayan Prize. In 2009, he was awarded the Padma Bhushan, the Republic of India’s third highest civilian honor. In 2008, and again in 2013, Prospect magazine nominated Guha as one of the world’s most influential intellectuals. In 2014, he was awarded an honorary doctorate in the humanities by Yale University.