Fischer, Louis. The Life of Mahatma Gandhi

The Life of Mahatma Gandhi - Biography Book

The Life of Mahatma Gandhi is a book written by Louis Fischer, and is a biographical account of the man first published in 1951.

Mahatma is a Sanskrit word made out of two other words. Maha means magnificent as in great, and Atma means soul. The highest recognition given to any human being is Mahatma. If you want to know why he received this title, then reading this book provides an accurate reason.

This book captures much of Mahatma Gandhi’s struggle for freedom for his people; it documents the conflict he experienced within and his struggle for peaceful civil rights. Of all the books about this person, this one is the most accurate and complete account of his life. Louis Fischer, a Jewish-American Journalist, has captured the historical events, as well as the subtler spirit of the man.

This book also documents some of the horrific mistreatment of the Colonial British towards the Indians, and highlights the reason why Gandhi chose freedom. This book was also the basis for Sir Richard Attenborough’s excellent film Gandhi.

This book highlights that you cannot rule any race of people with violence, abuse, oppression, and slavery. The human spirit will always resist and reject it. All human beings must have at the very least dignity and respect.

Paradoxically racism and nationalism always achieves the opposite to what the person practising it expects. Perhaps out of misguided views, they think that it will make “their” country great, when in fact it makes it weaker. If we went back in time and prevented the racist train conductor from kicking the young Gandhi out of the first class train carriage, then the world we see today would be much different. In this alternate time line, India would belong to the British and UK would be much stronger.

However, this one incident was indicative of a larger problem, because a large number of white British were racists and saw Indians as undesirable inflicting violence upon them. The Indians loved the British; however, it was clear that the British hated the Indians.

Reading this book made me realise that separation was probably for the best, because the massacre at Jallianwala Bagh was a good indicator that the fate of the Indians was going to be the same as that of the Native American Indians, and Native Aboriginal Indians, namely extermination.

The author of this book was a highly experienced journalist, and he managed to find, uncover, capture, and document many of the events in a way that none others have. He has a very clear style of writing and therefore reading this book was a pleasure. I thought it remarkable that any Western journalist could have such an understanding of the Indians; consequently, I thought the book had some value.

Mahatma Gandhi Biography

Mahatma Gandhi Biography

What I liked most about this book was how it captures some of Mahatma Gandhi’s spirit of forgiveness. The one quality that made him such an effective civil rights leader, was his ability to forgive those who inflicted pain and suffering on him. He not only forgave, but also treated the people he forgave with kindness. It will convey to the reader the importance of forgiveness, which is a sign of a highly evolved human being because only the strong can forgive, the weak cannot.

Louis Fischer

Louis Fischer - Book

Louis Fischer was born on 29 February 1896, he was a Jewish-American journalist, who wrote many books including, The Life of Lenin, which won the 1965 National Book Award.


TitleThe Life of Mahatma Gandhi
AuthorLouis Fischer
PublisherHarper Collins
Serial Number3579864
ISBN Number0 00 638887 6
First PublishedJonathan Cape Ltd, 1951
AvailabilityAmazon and all good online bookstores