Author: Sudhir Kakar
ISBN/UPC (if available): 0143099647
It is 1925 and India's struggle for independence is in disarray, impeded by factionalism among its leaders and rising incidents of communal disharmony across the country. Meanwhile, having withdrawn himself from active politics, Bapu—Mahatma Gandhi—is in the Sabarmati ashram in Gujarat, immersed in the creation of an ideal community that is dedicated to the highest standards of self-discipline, tolerance and austerity.
Into this world comes Madeleine Slade, the daughter of a British admiral, who has set her heart on becoming Bapu's greatest disciple. Bapu embraces her into the fold and, as she becomes an indispensable part of the ashram and his life, renames her Mira after Mirabai, the legendary devotee of Krishna.
But it is not long before Mira's all-consuming desire to serve Bapu transforms into a desperate need to be close to him at all times and clashes head-on with the exacting moral and spiritual codes he has laid down for himself and those around him.
And as the self-doubting Mahatma, seeking to distance himself from Mira yet loath to let go of her love, wrestles with his inner phantoms, Mira's life begins to take another dramatic turn . . .
‘A brilliantly woven narrative, with facts as the warp and imagination as the weft . . . Kakar's is a marvellous effort to peel away the layers surrounding Gandhi'
‘A sublime, sensual portrait of the Mahatma' —Hindustan Times
‘Not only brilliantly researched but also grippingly narrated. With his third novel, [Kakar] has established a unique niche for himself in the world of Indian English fiction' —India Today
‘A fascinating study . . . combining the craft of the historian with the art of a creative writer . . . gripping story very engagingly told'
‘A love story, made all the more poignant by the agony it caused . . . Kakar's Gandhi is supremely relevant for today'
—Mark Tully, Outlook
‘Skilful manipulation of time enables Sudhir Kakar to reclaim a space between history and imagination . . . beautifully written novel'
‘Mira and the Mahatma is his best book. It makes one fall in love with Bapu'
—Khushwant Singh, Tribune
‘Perhaps the most passionate of platonic love relationships of all times'
—Neue Zuricher Zeitung, Zurich
‘Kakar weaves a vivid portrait of those extraordinary years in India's history . . . a must for all those fascinated by the freedom movement and its moral underpinnings'
‘This heroic master became at the same time a political myth, a spiritual icon and a real man, an astonishing mix of fragility and determination, greatness and oddness . . . It is this intimate Gandhi . . . which sets the scene for this magnificent work by Sudhir Kakar, one of the principal figures in contemporary Indian thought and . . . a novelist of repute' —Le Monde, Paris