The University of Queensland's School of Historical and Philosophical Inquiry is delighted to invite you to the launch of Professor Sarva Daman Singh's latest book 'Understanding Gandhi: A Mahatma in the Making 1869 - 1914'. 

Date: Tuesday 20 November 2018 

Time: 5pm for 5.30–7pm

Venue: UQ Anthropology Museum, Level 1 Michie Building (9), The University of Queensland, St Lucia Campus 

RSVP: All are welcome. Click here to register by 14 November. 

Following the official launch, light refreshments will be served.

Copies of the book will be available for sale at the event. All proceeds from the book sales will be donated to charity. 

About the book

Understanding Gandhi - A Mahatma in the Making 1869 – 1914Neither an ode of adulation, nor an exercise in iconoclasm, this book on Gandhi gives praise where praise is due; and criticizes where criticism is warranted. The author treads in step with Gandhi as he reveals himself in his Experiments with Truth in an honest attempt to understand the Mahatma in the making. Gandhi's veracity is not in question; but his memory, and selection and omission of episodes, inevitably temper the tenor of truth! His equation of Truth with God can only be understood as justice and fair play analogous to sat or ṛta signifying the Cosmic Order. Page after page poses questions in a bid to understand Gandhi as he speaks, writes and acts.

The author relates how Gandhi discovered himself in South Africa; and formulated a new vocabulary of revolt; a new ideology of non-violence and self-suffering to defeat racial injustice and tyranny; to rouse the corrective conscience of his oppressors. Deliberate defiance of unjust laws, self-effacing humility, unflinching acceptance of punishment, the unfading smile and unfailing forgiveness sum up the transformation of an otherwise ordinary mortal into a Mahatma, who identified himself with all downtrodden humanity! Ahiṁsā, satya and satyāgraha became the watchwords of his philosophy in action. The author explores the meanings of these words; and notes that at times Gandhi's ahiṁsā could be devoid of compassion, confined only to self-cleansing, not true to itself.

He learned from all religions without conversion to any; and identified religion with morality, without realizing that morality preceded the rise of religion. As basic morality constituting the core of every religion transcends all doctrinal divisions, Gandhi tirelessly advocated religious tolerance; and Hindu-Muslim unity. He lived and died for peaceful co-existence. But his pursuit of mokṣa (release from reincarnation) was irrelevant to the world's welfare!

As an advocate of right means to right ends excluding all violence for the resolution of human disputes, as an enemy of imperialism and champion of human equality, as a practitioner and preacher of religious goodwill and tolerance, as a respecter of the earth and its gifts, as an upholder of the primacy of man over machine, Gandhi remains a beacon of timeless relevance!

About the author 

Professor Sarva Daman Singh, B.A.(Hons.), M.A., PhD. (University of London), PhD. (The University of Queensland), F.R.A.S., was born at Angai, in District Mathura of Uttar Pradesh, India; and migrated to Australia in 1974. He won many awards and five gold medals during the course of a distinguished educational career at the universities of Lucknow and London. He has taught at the University of Lucknow; National Academy of Administration, Government of India, Mussoorie; Vikram University, Ujjain; and The University of Queensland, Australia; and held chairs of Indian History, Culture and Archaeology. He is at present Director of the Institute of Asian Studies, Brisbane.

He has travelled widely, and lectured at universities and institutions in India, Sri Lanka, U.K., France, Germany, the U.S.A., South Korea, Fiji, New Zealand and Australia.

Apart from his contributions to numerous books, his publications include Ancient Indian Warfare with Special Reference to the Vedic Period, E.J. Brill, Leiden, with later editions brought out by Motilal Banarasidas, Delhi; The Archaeology of the Lucknow Region, Paritosh Prakashan, Lucknow; Polyandry in Ancient India, Vikas, and Motilal Banarasidas, Delhi; Culture through the Ages, (B.N. Puri Felicitation Volume), Agam, Delhi; The Art of Pir Tareen-Evocation of Beauty in Life and Nature, published by the Institute of Asian Studies, Brisbane; and Indians Abroad, Hope India Publications and Greenwich Millennium Press Ltd, Gurgaon and London.

As Honorary Consul of India in Queensland from 2003 till 2011, he addressed numerous forums, always stressing the indivisibility of humanity, and its cultural diversity as a natural expression of its floriferous creativity.



UQ Anthropology Museum,
Level 1 Michie Building (9)
The University of Queensland, St Lucia Campus