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Journal Articles Gandhi Marg, Quarterly Journal of the Gandhi Peace Foundation Year : 1997

‘The Mahatma and the Poet’

Madhu Benoit


This paper explores the hypothesis of a direct Shelley-Gandhi filiation. This hypothesis required research work in France, in India, in Great Britain and in the United States. I interviewed several disciples of Gandhi, other freedom-fighters, and Gandhian specialists. My research led me to affirm that Gandhi discovered Shelley during his student years in London during the 1880’s. I based this claim partly on the books Gandhi read, partly on his friends and especially, on his interest in the Vegetarian Society of London, where he met Henry Salt. These years of Gandhi’s life are relatively less documented than the rest of his life. If, as I hope to have done, I have shown that Gandhi read Shelley when in London, it is crucially important, as this period precedes Gandhi’s first satyagraha campaign in South Africa. However, I could not find the only valid proof of my theory, Gandhi’s own words marking his debt to Shelley. The letter seems to have been lost when Gandhi was in Yerawada Jail, Pune. In the absence of such proof, my theory of the Shelley-Gandhi filiation must remain a theory, albeit based on a constructed argument.
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hal-02009380 , version 1 (06-02-2019)


  • HAL Id : hal-02009380 , version 1


Madhu Benoit. ‘The Mahatma and the Poet’. Gandhi Marg, Quarterly Journal of the Gandhi Peace Foundation, 1997, IX:3, October- December. ⟨hal-02009380⟩
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