(Gopalkrishna Gandhi is the former governor of West Bengal. This column first appeared in The Hindu on October 2, 2021)
Why should Mohandas K. Gandhi’s autobiography be published over and over again?
A publisher would say: ‘Because it sells.’
The bookseller: ‘Because it brings a kind of clean air to our shelves.’
A senior buyer: ‘Because my old copy of it is dog-eared and I want to own a fresh edition, printed on strong paper, with its text easy to read in clear, bold type and plenty of breathing space between the lines.’
Her college-going son: ‘So…because articles and speeches about him are, you know, B3—boring beyond belief. The guy, I can see, simply by looking at his pictures, is kind of, you know, different because he does not seem to care if his book sells or not, if it is read or not! He is, basically, cool! I want to read his own words one-on-one, straight from him to me, just to understand what makes him so different and, by the way, yes —to be able to question him on the weird stuff that is going on around us, driving us crazily to…to…suffocation and…death.’