Gandhi – Naked Ambition by Jad Adams

There is a book shop in New Delhi which has a section devoted to books about Gandhi, the liberation leader of India. Now after 62 years of his death, the place is getting ready for some more books that are about to come. One book (a two volume biography) is being written by the Bangalore based historian Ramchandra Guha, whereas the former editor of New York Times is also coming up with a book next year, and then there is Gandhi: Naked Ambition from Jad Adams.

Jad Adams Wrote it First

British research fellow and historian Jad Adams has got ahead of these two with his provocative and readable book named Gandhi: Naked Ambition. The author Jad Adams has already published books on the Nehru Gandhi dynasty in India and Rudyard Kipling. In this book, he has written about the political contradictions of Gandhi’s life. The book starts with the marriage of Gandhi when he was 13 years old, and finishes at the point when he had become the most famous advocate of non violence and was assassinated.

Aura Dismantled By The Author

The biography spans across 300 pages which is likely to attract more attention because of threadbare analysis of Gandhi’s sex life. The saintly aura around the image of Gandhi has been systematically dismantled by the author Jad Adams. The author says there was a duality between the grand Vision of India on one side by Gandhi, unusual sex life, views on sexual abstinence, and clothes. The preoccupation of Gandhi with personal perfection and cultivated pauperism were just distractions, says Jad Adams.

Severe On Himself And To Close People

The practices followed by him in his Ashram dented his popularity to some extent, and the leadership of the liberation movement also slipped out somewhat. The political goals of Gandhi were jeopardized due to his personal experiments. The first Prime Minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru advised him against the way Gandhi treated (or suppressed) his sexual needs.

Discarding The Clothes To Fight Imperialism

The subtitle of the book Naked Ambition tells us about the man who first dressed up and then discarded his clothes to fight imperialism. The metamorphosis of Gandhi from his birth to his death can be somewhat understood with the way he dressed himself. First he tried to be on good terms with the British and then he had to become intimate with the masses. He went for European clothes when he was in UK and South Africa, and then he adopted khadi to protest against foreign imports. These eccentricities helped to build his image among the masses, as he was acclaimed as Saint Gandhi by the Time magazine in 1930. At the same time, there were people (not necessarily British only) who were deeply frustrated by him.