The South African Gandhi: Stretcher-Bearer of Empire


Authors: Ashwin Desai, Goolam Vahed

9788194447115 | PB | pp. 344 | 2020 | Navayana

Backed by evidence and careful research The South African Gandhi sheds light on Mahatma Gandhi’s loyalty to the empire during his years in Africa.

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In the pantheon of global liberation heroes, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi has pride of place. Leaders like mandela have lauded him as being part of the epic battle to defeat the white regime and prepare the way for a non-racial country. Against this background, The South African Gandhi unravels the complex story of a man who, throughout his stay on African soil (1893–1914), remained true to the empire while expressing disdain for Africans. For Gandhi, whites and Indians were bound by an Aryan bloodline that had no place for the African. His racism was matched by his class (and caste) prejudice towards the Indian indentured. The authors show that Gandhi never missed an opportunity to demonstrate his loyalty to the empire, with a particular penchant for war.

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Ashwin Desai, Goolam Vahed







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About the Authors

Ashwin Desai is Professor of Sociology at the University of Johannesburg. His previous books include South Africa: Still Revolting, ‘We are the Poors’: Community Struggles in Post-Apartheid South Africa, Reading Revolution: Shakespeare on Robben Island, Zuma’s Own Goal: Losing South Africa’s ‘War on Poverty’ (edited with Patrick Bond and Brij Maharaj), and Race to Transform: Sport in Post-Apartheid South Africa (editor).

Goolam Vahed is Associate Professor of History at the University of KwaZulu Natal. He writes on histories of migration, ethnicity, religion, and identity formation among Indian South Africans. He has co-authored Inside Indian Indenture: A South African Story, 1860–1914 and Chatsworth: The Making of a South African Township with Ashwin Desai, and Schooling Muslims in Natal: Identity, State and the Orient Islamic Educational Institute with Thembisa Waetjen.


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