Posted On : October 02 2017
The Story of My Experiments with Truth is the autobiography of Mohandas K. Gandhi, the Mahatma, our ‘Father of the nation’, covering his life from early childhood through to 1921. It was written in weekly installments and published in his journal ‘Navjivan’ from 1925 to 1929.
I have immense respect for this man who is one of the most influential figure of the 20th Century. The book is a journey chronicling the transformation of Mohandas to Mahatma. It honestly encapsulates his moral dilemmas, serious difference with the people and existing norms of the society. I know many people feel his ideas were Utopian and full of idealism which could not be implemented but the Mahatma has showed the way to the world by leading the non-violent struggle against British Empire and emerging successful there by paving way for later Gandians like Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela, the Dalali Lama etc. Something that was unthinkable then, as it is now. Non-violence won us our freedom but honestly how many of us today think of non-violence as a way to a means, I am sure not many! This itself exhibits what a strong mind and self –belief this man with frail body and pure soul had! Non-violence further vindicated his dictom that means justifies the end and not vice versa.
I found the book very engrossing. The best part of the book is the honesty with which Mahatma Gandhi analyses his weaknesses. Of course, many people would see a lot of negatives in his experiments, like the experiment he conducted to control his sexual urges. It is also a daring and extremely candid for a public figure who was already revered as a Mahatma to be so forthcoming with anecdotes of his life which were not only a taboo but also classified as sin in the general psyche of Indians.
One interesting aspect of the book is how he introduces the concepts of satyagraha and ahimsa and provided the rationale for it. Again one may find his ideas too far-fetched but that is an issue with the reader not the book. The book also shows his lighter side, the Matama’s ability to laugh at himself; his baldness and his first case as an attorney are ample examples of this.
This book is relevant today as many false campaigns are being circulated against the Mahatma. The book shows he was as human as you and me but also had that special power of ‘conviction’ in his beliefs, and what is right and true.
Since the book is written by the Mahatma himself therefore there is little space for any ambiguity, falsity and speculation on part of historians and readers. The story ends around 1920-21, when Gandhi vigorously involved himself into India’s struggle for freedom. Overall, a very interesting book, it will make you think, smile and ponder. A must read. So, on the occasion of Gandhi Jayanti today, decide to read this book. You will not be disappointed I assure you. Happy Reading!!