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Who is responsible for the Mahatma’s death? Just one single, but determined, fanatic, the whole ideology of Hindu nationalism, the ruling Congress-led government whichfailed to protect him, or a vast majority of Indians and their descendants who considered Gandhi irrelevant? Such questions mean that Gandhi, even after his tragic and brutal death, continues to haunt India – perhaps more effectively in his afterlife than when he was alive.
The Death and Afterlife of Mahatma Gandhi is a groundbreaking and profound analysis of the assassination of the ‘father of the nation’ and its after-effects. Paranjape argues that such a catastrophic event during the very birth pangs of a new nation placed a huge burden of Oedipal guilt on Indians, and that this is the reason for the massive repression of the murder in India’s political psyche. The enduring influence of Gandhi is analysed, including his spectral presence in Indian cinema. The book culminates in Paranjape’s reading of Gandhi’s last six months in Delhi, where, from the very edge of the grave, he wrought what was perhaps his greatest miracle, the saving of Delhi and thus of India itself from internecine bloodshed.
This evocative and moving meditation into the meaning of the Mahatma’s death will be relevant to scholars of Indian political and cultural history, as well as those with an interest in Gandhi and contemporary India