Understanding Gandhi is a collection of interviews of six of Mahatma Gandhi's closest associates—J.B. Kriplani, Raihana Tyabji, Dada Dharmadhikari, Sushila Nayar, Jhaver Patel and Sucheta Kripalani. The interviewees reflect on Gandhi's ideas in the light of changes that took place in India after Independence.
These interviews have been conducted by Fred J. Blum (1914–1990), an academician and consultant to the US Senate Committee on Labor and Public Welfare, whose lifelong commitment was to understand Gandhi's approach to social, economic and spiritual issues.
The book provides glimpses of Gandhi's ideas and working relationship with his colleagues who came from a wide range of backgrounds, professions and geographical regions. It also brings out the thoughts of Gandhi and his followers on several important issues such as Satyagraha, non-violence, Brahmacharya, spirituality, and fasting. This blend of an intimate knowledge of Gandhi and the reflective hindsight gives the book a unique vantage point that promotes a holistic understanding of Gandhian thought and philosophy.
Sucheta Kripalani (nee Mazumdar) (1908–1974) was a freedom fighter, the first woman Chief Minister in India and an important political figure in the post-Independence India, who never wavered from Gandhian principles.
She was educated at Government College for Women, Lahore; and St. Stephen's College, Delhi; and taught History at the Benares Hindu University. Untimely death of her father had thrown on her the responsibility of looking after the family that she fulfilled with care and affection. Her marriage to J.B. Kripalani in 1936 challenged the established social norms. The decision of their marriage gave rise to strong opposition from their families. Gandhi himself was opposed to the marriage. Gandhi tried to persuade Sucheta to give up the idea as he feared he would ...