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A Fire that Blazed in the Ocean: Gandhi and the Poems of Satyagraha in South Africa (1909-1911)

Price : $15.75
ISBN # : 9789380188133
Author : Surendra Bhana and Neelima Shukla-Bhatt
pages: 213
Edition : Hardcover
Volumes : 1
Publisher : Promilla & Co.
Published : 2011

The poems in this volume appeared in the Gujarati section of the Indian Opinion from 1909 and 1911, a newspaper edited by Mohandas K. Gandhi (1869-1948) while he was in South Africa. Most of them were composed by Indians in South Africa who took part in the Satyagraha movement (1906-1914) or were close observers. A few came from poets in India. All the poems were printed in Gujarati even though some were originally in Urdu or Hindi.
The two leading contributors were Sheik Mehtab and Ambaram Mangalij Thaker. The poems had a performative dimension since they were recited or sung at public gatherings as participatory texts. While Ghandi introduced the concept of Satyagraha, it was the poets who presented it with an emotive appeal. They were among the first to recognize its value as a revolutionary concept; and declared its importance to the world through poems incorporating the cultural-literary motifs of their Indian heritage. They helped to sustain the movement by presenting satyagraha as a concept and a historical moment, and by drawing attention to the dynamic relationship between ideals and individual acts of heroism. Their poems are creative products of South Africa's history as well as a distinctive literary genre of an early Indian diaspora community. Gandhi's use of the resource adds a new dimension to understanding Satyagraha as a movement and his role as a creative leader in South Africa, which prepared him for his later career in India.

Author Bio: Emeritus Professor Surendra Bhana taught at the University of Kansas from 1988 to 2006 and at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa from 1972 to 1987. He has published widely as author, co-author, editor, and co-editor. Neelima Shukla-Bhatt is an assitant professor in South Asia Studies at Wellesley College, Wellesley, MA. Her teaching focuses on South Asian religions as well as the languages Hindi, Urdu, and Gujarati. She has published articles on devotional poetry of medieval India, Hindu women, and religion and meida in the diaspora. She is currrently working on a monograph on Gujarati saint-poet Narasinha Mehta. She writes poetry in Gujarati.

This book was added to South Asia bookstore on Tuesday 08 February, 2011.

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