Gandhi is one of the most significant individuals of the Twentieth Century. He has frequently been misquoted and misunderstood. A shy and unassuming lawyer, Gandhi transformed himself into the leader of India’s freedom movement and was struck down at the moment of his greatest triumph.
NAME: Gandhi, my life is my message
CATEGORY: Book Reviews
AUTHOR: Jason Quinn, art by Sachin Nagar
BINDING: soft back
GENRE: Non Fiction
SUBJECT: passive resistance, India, South Africa, lawyer, teacher, leader, demonstrations, social re-ordering
DESCRIPTION: Gandhi is one of the most significant individuals of the Twentieth Century. He has frequently been misquoted and misunderstood. A shy and unassuming lawyer, Gandhi transformed himself into the leader of India’s freedom movement and was struck down at the moment of his greatest triumph.
His inspiring story has been told in this new graphic novel, presented in a form that is easy for the young reader to absorb. The graphic format is often derided as a comic book, but this is a serious history of an important figure that is beautifully illustrated throughout. It is easy to regard this style of book as something only for the younger reader, but the style is also applicable to the older reader, providing almost a program learning text that can be read in whatever may be the most convenient stages.
Academic histories of complex figures are usually only really meaningful to academics, and even then may not be fully understood. In this graphic book, the author and illustrator have worked well together and managed to present not just the political elements of Gandhi’s life, but brought out his human qualities and his self-discipline.
The story flows from his birth in the Indian coastal town of Porbander in 1869, when the British Empire was approaching its peak and India was ruled by Indians within the British Imperial model. The story leads on through his training in London as a lawyer and his personal development into an inspirational leader who took on the British Empire in peaceful resistance and won, before his tragic death at the hands of an assassin in 1948. Quite what he might have made of India today is something that current Indian politicians might not wish to know. The continuing widespread poverty and hardship that affects much of the Indian population contrasts strongly with the privileged life of the wealthy minority who rule the majority with rather less consideration than the British administrators at the time of Gandhi’s birth.
The complexity and contrasts of Gandhi and his life have been sensitively and effectively presented. The reader will come away from this book with a reliable understanding of the human frailty and naivety that were a part of this complex individual, together with his greatness and wisdom.
The illustration is outstanding. It achieves an almost film-like quality. There is no cartoon crudeness. The commentary is clear and concise. The spoken words attributed have an authentic feel.
This is a first rate story of an historic character that provides the young reader with a book that is not patronizing and has a remarkably adult feel to it.