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As India became free on 15 August 1947, and Jawaharlal Nehru became the first prime minister of the country, the larger Gandhi family , comprising the political and non-political associates of the Mahatma, needed to think through their future equations. Was a dividing line to be drawn between those who had entered public office and those who continued to do constructive work ? The Mahatma had planned a discussion on this and, in his meticulous manner, identified the venue and date for the meeting, which he intended to attend in Sevagram on 2 February 1948. 30 January 1948 intervened. But thanks primarily to Rajendra Prasad and Vinoba Bhave, the proposed conference did take place, after a slight deferment, in March 1948. Without the Mahatma, the meeting acquired a new theme: Gandhi is Gone. Who Will Guide Us Now? The record of discussions at the conference were typed out for limited circulation amongst the participants. The deliberations were largely in Hindustani, with the subject of India s future lingua franca itself being one of the subjects of discussion. The record of that conference, unknown to the world until now, forms a fascinating document. Nehru sparkles in it, Vinoba glows, Kumarappa and Kripalani speak out trenchantly. The Gandhian legacy, and how to further it, is discussed threadbare from numerous perspectives. Industrialization, militarization, communalism, and the plight of refugees from Pakistan are among the subjects discussed. Published here for the first time sixty years on, the discussions of that conference remain amazingly pertinent, stimulating, and challenging today. This book is indispensable for anyone interested in Gandhi, his legacy, and the history of modern India.
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GOPALKRISHNA GANDHI served in the Indian Administrative SERVICE for twenty-three years, in four diplomatic missions of the Government of Indiafor ten years, and in President K.R. Narayanan's secretariat for two and a half years. He is currently Governor, West Bengal.
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