Eminent historian and author Ramachandra Guha captivated a packed audience with his talk on Gandhi at his book launch held by the Indo-American Arts Council at DAG NYC on 2nd October. His magnum opus ‘Gandhi: The Years That Changed the World, 1914-1948’ is the second and concluding volume of the magisterial biography that began with the acclaimed, Gandhi Before India: the definitive portrait of the life and work of one of the most abidingly influential–and controversial–men in world history.
Earlier in the evening, Professor S.N. Sridhar introduced him, talking about Guha’s various accomplishments and his personal admiration for him. He praised Guha’s work as having discipline, being meticulous and based on solid research. He also said that it was comprehensive, insightful and most importantly fair. In a lighter vein, he called Guha an equal opportunity offender who criticizes both the major political parties in India. In conclusion, he was in praise of the book, saying, that it reveals why Gandhi is considered to be the maker of modern India and how his vision has sustained us and should make us better citizens of the world.
Calling the book a culmination of 20 years of work, Guha held the attention of the audience, offering them in his talk, ten reasons why, a century and half after his birth, Gandhi is still relevant, more so than ever. Basing the talk on his research and reflection, Guha took the audience through various episodes of Gandhi’s life and times, his relationship with his family, his social and political thinking and beliefs, his vision and his motives. Sharing anecdotes from Gandhi’s life and work, he also revealed Gandhi’s sense of humor, leaving the audience in splits. Guha also shared many little known aspects of Gandhi’s life, in India and elsewhere.
More than 200 people gathered at the beautiful DAG. In the audience at the event were honorable members of the IAAC board, Chairman Dr. Nirmal Mattoo, Vice Chairman Rakesh Kaul, Rajeev Kaul, Anil Bansal, Executive Director Sunil Hali and many other dignitaries and esteemed members of New York society. Also present was Mr. Sonny Mehta, Editor In Chief and Chairman of Knopf Publishing Group, a Division of Random House, Inc. Post the very engaging conversations between the author and his audience during the Q&A session, Guha obliged fans with book signings and photos.
Executive Director of IAAC, Sunil Hali said “IAAC is committed to supporting world class experiences for our Indo-American community which celebrate India’s vibrant culture. Our next gala event is the November 3rd Diwali, celebrations at Symphony Space in New York.”
Ramachandra Guha’s latest book ‘Gandhi: The Years That Changed the World, 1914-1948’ is available for sale across bookstores in the US.