In The Gift of Anger, Arun Gandhi talks about eleven lessons that he learnt from his grandfather. Of course, to the rest of the country he will be the Mahatma, but for the grandson he was Bapuji. A face of the Mahatma that most wouldn’t have known. And since even my father came after Mahatma’s time, I guess these eleven little stories mean a never-before-seen insight for us into the man who was the Mahatma.
All humans are born as primitive creatures. We are no better than any other baby animal, perhaps worse for we take a longer time to even stand on our own legs! How then does a young Mohandas turn out to be one of the most influential people of his time? And even to this day influences the thoughts of many around the world. And you know what he did say about Change.
From a young man who ate 18 puran polis to a much wiser being who ate bland food with no salt or spice. At this point in my life, I fear this is something that I would not be able to do – ever! Mahatma Gandhi may have been able to eat to live, but I do, at times, live to eat. There are so many instances in The Gift of Anger that are endearing to the reader. Even if you do not know the importance the author’s grandfather has in the world, it is still a lovely tale of a grandson’s recollection of stories, lessons and memories from his time spent with his grandfather at Sevagram.
Though there are lessons aplenty in the book, there are some special ones that weave through the entire length of it – perseverance, diligence and change. Change is something that is not always for the good these days. But in The Gift of Anger, we understand how Mahatma Gandhi would take even the most negative of circumstances and try to make it better. Like the title of the book, he would take his anger and use it to do better. He likens anger to fuel, that makes the vehicle go forward. And that is what it is best for, instead of stagnating and festering within oneself.
And it is not an easy task to change one’s thinking immediately. We definitely need to stick to practising with diligence and hope that one day our perseverance pays off. Like it had for him. A lifetime of practice had made him a better person. Someone who could shake the very foundations of an empire.
Of course, The Gift of Anger will not be something that any current politician who goes on and on about Gandhi would be bothered to read. Mostly because it talks about making everyone’s lives better and not just one’s own. It is also not a book that I would recommend you read if you are one those politically inclined people who see no wrong doing with your party or its people.
But, if you are someone who thinks there is something wrong with the way people tend to hate each other; or if religion is perhaps agitating more people than making them peaceful; or if you think that there is too much negativity/cynicism/disbelief in the world right now; or if you just want to read a book a grandson wrote about his grandfather – I definitely would recommend The Gift of Anger.
Reviewed by: Jayasree Bhargavan
A reader and a blogger… in that order.
Author(s): Arun Gandhi
Publisher: Penguin India
Release: May 2017
Genre: Non Fiction/Memoir
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