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Digital Subscriptions > Prospect Magazine > Nov-18 > Arguing for India

Arguing for India

Gandhi’s ideas might seem eccentric but they helped to liberate a nation, and have much to teach us today, says Yasmin Khan

Gandhi: The Years that Changed the World, 1914-1948 by Ramachandra Guha (Allen Lane, £40)

Five years after the first volume, Ramachandra Guha has produced the second part of his impressive biography of Mohandas Gandhi. Gandhi Before India (2013) dealt with the less familiar stage of Gandhi’s life from 1869 to 1914. It covered his childhood and early years in Gujarat, west India, his time as a law student in London and his life in South Africa, where he started to develop his political ideas and methods about non-violent passive resistance— or satyagraha—in order to defend the rights of the Indian minority. In this second volume Gandhi appears in his mid-forties, back in India for the first time in decades and fully formed by his experiences abroad.

Gandhi landed in Bombay on 9th January 1915 ready to launch campaigns against British colonialism. He caught unawares both Raj officials and timid Indian moderates, who reacted with alarm. Yet the sheer excitement Gandhi unleashed among the new generation of nationalists was thrilling. Young men such as the future prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru gave up promising legal careers, threw aside their western clothes and built alliances with poor peasants in the villages.

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In Prospect's November issue: Paul Collier explains how major cities in the UK will always be in the shadow of London unless capitalism is overhauled and suggests ways that we might be able to improve the situation in those communities that capitalism has left behind. Meanwhile, Steve Bloomfield asks what is going at the Foreign Office. The once great institution that was a symbol of Britain’s global power now seems to be lost and unable to explains its role. Also, Samira Shackle explores a Pakistani protest movement that is unnerving the country’s military. Elsewhere in the issue: Dahlia Lithwick suggests that the Supreme Court will struggle to retain its authority now that Brett Kavanaugh is on the bench. Philip Ball argues that DNA doesn’t define destiny as he reviews a new book by Robert Plomin. Yasmin Alibhai-Brown and Simon Heffer debate political correctness.