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by Sudhir Kakar
It is 1925 and India’s struggle for independence is in disarray, impeded by factionalism among its leaders and rising incidents of unrest across the country. Meanwhile, having withdrawn himself from active politics, Mahatma Gandhi is in an ashram immersed in what he considers the most important undertaking of his life—the creation of a community that is wholly dedicated to the highest standards of self-discipline, tolerance, and austerity.
Into this world comes a young British woman named Madeline Slade, the daughter of a British admiral. Madeline has set her heart on becoming Gandhi’s greatest disciple. Madeline’s wish to serve him soon becomes an all-consuming desire to be near him at all times. Because her adoration of the great teacher is in direct conflict with his exacting moral and spiritual codes, Gandhi struggles with wanting to distance himself from her, yet wanting not to let go of her love and friendship.
Using words preserved in their letters and diaries, and drawing on the reminiscences of others, the author has created a compelling fictional narrative based on the extraordinary friendship that lasted over two decades between these two people.