Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Gandhi: My Life is My Message by Jason Quinn

Mahatma Gandhi died more than sixty years ago but his life story is still relevant today. This simple man's story resonates even more today because many of the ills against which he fought are still with us and also because violence is now prevalent worldwide both by the oppressor and the oppressed. I read this graphic biography and was pleased to learn many things about Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (his birth name). Mahatma was a name that his followers proffered on him (the word means "great soul") but he was not fond of it and was very embarrassed when he heard it used). 

Gandhi' s life reminded me of that of Malcolm X for some reason. They were both family men, both had large families and spent a lot of time away from home pursuing their life's calling. Sadly they were both felled by an assassin's gun. Gandhi's family were not easy converts to his message however and his eldest son was estranged from the family and according to this text he actually revered his mother more since he saw her as the one holding the family together.

It is known that the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr was inspired by Gandhi's struggle and his insistence on non-violent tactics. Both men however were no pushovers. They were steadfast in their beliefs and pursued their goals with dogged determination. India's case system is very rigid and relations between the castes are firmly defined. Gandhi went against this system, so much so that he was disowned and cast out by the men in his village.

Gandhi cut his teeth in South Africa where he not only helped the Indian community there but also saw the atrocities of the British wars against the Zulus.  Travel broadens one's horizons, this was the case with him as he earned his law degree in London but also saw prejudice firsthand on his travels. It is ironic that he used his education provided by his colonial master, England and was able to help his country throw off the yoke of colonialism.

This book is an excellent primer for a young person trying to find their way in life and perhaps seeking information about men whose life impacted the world and left an indelible legacy. Gandhi truly was one such person. I recommend this graphic novel for ages 11+.

You can find this and other similar reviews on my site here.

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