M.K. Gandhi’s pursuit of liberation from an era of violence and subjugation was thoroughly documented prior to Prerag Cicovacki’s new look at Gandhi’s actual goals and pragmatic approach for humanity’s liberation. Not only from government imperialism and racism but from the actual impediments to spiritual liberation did Gandhi himself struggle against. The central issue and the novelty of this new book is its focus on what Gandhi wanted to liberate us for. The book also provides an assessment of how viable his positive vision of humanity was and is.
“What is paradoxical in Gandhi’s approach is that he himself was a unique individual. To state it even more bluntly, he was one of the most unique persons in the entire history of the human race. And he left us his autobiography, which is not just a soul’s search for tuth and striving toward self-realization, but one unique soul’s struggle to achieve moksha.”*
*(State of oneness with God or Supreme Self, with knowledge, peace and bliss.)
Gandhi revolutionized the struggle for Indian liberation from Great Britain by convincing his countrymen that they must turn to nonviolence and that India needed to be liberated from its social ills—poverty, unemployment, opium addiction, institution of child marriage, inequality of women, and Hindu-Muslim frictions—even more than it needed political freedom.
Gandhi’s legacy though not forgotten, is often distorted. Called “Mahatma” and venerated as a saint, he is often misinterpreted. Cicovacki attempts to de-mythologize Gandhi and take a closer look at his thoughts, aims, and struggles. He invites us to look at the footprints Gandhi left for us, and follow them as carefully and critically as possible. Cicovacki concludes that Gandhi’s spiritual vision of humanity and the importance of adherence to truth (satyagraha) are his lasting legacy.
Gandhi’s 5th grandson, Arun opines –
“Cicovacki’s book is a serious and profound attempt to reach the depths of Gandhi’s vibrant way of life. In this troubled world one can only ignore at one’s own peril this book’s message that Gandhi’s philosophy of nonviolence should be followed without being imitated.”
Predrag Cicovacki is a professor of philosophy at the College of the Holy Cross. His research interests include Kant, violence and nonviolence, and problems of good and evil. He was a Senior Fulbright-Nehru fellow in India (2012-2013) and, prior to Gandhi’s Footprints, is the author or editor of numerous essays and books, including Destined for Evil?, Albert Schweitzer’s Ethical Vision, and Kant’s Legacy.