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Reflections on Gandhi|George Orwell

This week’s addition to the Sunday reading list comes from journalist and world renowned novelist George Orwell in the shape of his ‘Reflections on Gandhi’.

The iconic Englishman first encountered excerpts from Gandhi’s autobiography ‘My Experiments With Truth’ in the shabbily printed newspapers of an Indian newspaper. He admits that although the texts made a good impression upon him, the man failed to do the same. In reflecting upon Gandhi, Orwell raises concerns about his ways and practices and puts forth quite a few critical questions about the man who the country reveres.

Engaging in its criticism, Orwell’s reflections form an important part of the image of Gandhi that the colonialists held. Despite his disagreements, Orwell closed his reflections by concluding as follows:

His character was an extraordinarily mixed one, but there was almost nothing in it that you can put your finger on and call bad, and I believe that even Gandhi’s worst enemies would admit that he was an interesting and unusual man who enriched the world simply by being alive. Whether he was also a lovable man, and whether his teachings can have much for those who do not accept the religious beliefs on which they are founded, I have never felt fully certain.

The text was originally published in 1949 as part of the Partisan Review. You can read the full text below at the Orwell library.

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