Gandhi Naked Ambition by Jad Adams

Father of the nation, spiritual leader of India’s independence movement, pioneer of non-violent resistance through mass civil disobedience, Mohandas K. Gandhi has been an inspiration to movements for civil rights and political freedom across the world.

This book depicts Gandhi’s searing ambition, involving the ceaseless creation of an image from London dudester to simply attired; his sacrifice of his family for his principles; and the tragedy of partition in which he became not the father of India, but of Pakistan, through his refusal to accept a constitutional settlement

Gandhi: Naked Ambition potrays Gandhi as a guru in the style of later popularisers of Indian ideas such as the Maharishi and Osho and shows how he operated a similar control over every aspect of the lives of his followers. This book is able to offer the most explicit account yet of Gandhi’s sexual experiments with the wives of his followers and his teenage grand-nieces.

Jad Adams traces the course of Gandhi’s multi-faceted life, and the concomitant development of his religious, political and social thinking. Gandhi’s life is covered from his comfortable upbringing in a princely state in Gujarat, via his training as a barrister in London to his early civil rights campaigns in South Africa, his leadership role in the Indian National Congress and unsuccessful struggles to unite the interests of Muslim activists and orthodox Hindus; through the campaigns of non-cooperation and civil disobedience in the 1920s and 1930s that made him a world icon.

Jad Adams explores the many contradictions of this most complex of men: a lifelong pacifist whose treatment of his wife and sons bordered on cruelty; a self-denying ascetic who preached the virtues of chastity in marriage yet experienced a high degree of intimate physical female contact; a political radical whose resistance to racism and appreciation of the value of all religions strike a thoroughly modern note, but whose vision of India was the almost medieval one of a village nation sustained by farming, spinning and weaving.

Jad Adams is an independent historian working as an author and television producer. His books include The Dynasty, a composite biography of the Nehru family; Tony Benn, a full length biography of the leading radical and Kipling. He is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and is a Visiting Research Fellow of the School of Advanced Study, University of London.

More about the book and a Q&A

Gandhi  Naked Ambition by Jad Adams


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