In a critical departure from books that concentrate on Gandhi the person, Gandhian thought and Gandhism, Notes from Gandhigram focuses instead on the institutions and individuals that have adopted the Gandhian approach as a means of social transformation. It looks beyond the conceptual and symbolic into the concrete to determine whether Gandhi is passé, redundant or insightful.
The relevance of Gandhian thought is examined through a critical analysis of the experience of the Gandhigram Trust, a sixty-year old organisation based in the Dindigul district of Tamil Nadu. Retaining objectivity, but without being judgmental, the study validates the enduring relevance of Gandhi in converting a vision into a social engagement, creating a vibrant community with a culture of concern, humility and care. While Gandhigram has been buffeted by the conflicting relationships between individuals and the institutions, the people and the volunteer, economics and politics, tradition and modernity, self-interest and social interest, the Trust has endured.
In today's world, where the legacy of Gandhi has been reduced to lip-service, this book places Gandhi squarely into the ongoing debates on globalisation, freedom and the relationship between the individual and society. It thus makes a valuable addition to the literature on Gandhi.