The Story of My Experiments With Truth
Author: M.K Gandhi
Date Published: 1927-1929
Gandhi succeeded in uniting India in a national movement and did as much in the first half of the twentieth century as any other single individual to change the course of history. In this classic autobiography, first published under the title ‘The Story of My Experiments With Truth’, he recounts the story of his life from boyhood and child marriage, through the first stirrings of non-violent protest in South Africa to the early phase of his part in India’s fight for independence.
I came to this book in what I suspect is the most common way for westerners – I watched Richard Attenborough’s ‘Gandhi’. I am not a person who is generally moved by stories about ‘do-gooders’, as they are usually characterised by idolising the subject beyond the reality of their own humanity. But there was something about ‘Gandhi’ that interested me. His advocation of non-violence and his ability to inspire others to risk their life for this ideal was new to me.*
‘The Story of My Experiments With Truth’ is about Gandhi’s physical, social and personal experiments in cultivating purity and removing any falsehood from himself and those around him. This is the emotional journey that led him to be capable of the public brilliance he is renowned for. These goals and experiments are described in great detail, particularly his self imposed dieting, fasting and abstinence. Though the book loosely follows chronological events Gandhi often side tracks to explain concepts about his spiritual quest for Truth in great detail (especially in the latter half), rather than focusing on events of historical precedence. Truth is the central theme and the elusive guiding force of this autobiography. ‘Satyagraha In South Africa’ would be better for readers who are interested in a chronological recount (Gandhi even notes this himself).