Review Excerpts

Khadi: Gandhi's Mega Symbol of Subversion

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A powerful critique of the whole political economy of India. This book is a rare achievement. -  Arvind Sivaramakrishnan, The Hindu,    Full text >>>

Noteworthy for the originality of its approach, the richness of the documentation it supplies, and the clarity with which the relevance and depth of Gandhi’s thoughts and actions are demonstrated. - Yogesh Vajpeyi, The New Indian Express, Full text >>>

A beautifully produced book. Gonsalves’ communication angle leads to a creative reading of what is no doubt one of the most powerful communication events in world history […] the communication dimension penetrates the book in more ways than one: the careful collection of photos, the figures and tables that intersperse the chapters, and the crispness and raciness of the narrative. -  Ivo Coelho & Clement Mathera: 'Divyadaan - Journal of Philosophy and Education'  Full text >>>

Gonsalves’ study is exceptional – and brilliant, and, may one add, deeply emotive... [He] has done a stunning job in recreating history and giving new meaning to an old tenet. -  M. V. Kamath, Free Press Journal, Full text >>>

The significance of khadi has already been explored by a number of scholars from different angles. Peter Gonsalves has made his foray into this area, writing largely from a communication perspective, first in his book Clothing for Liberation (SAGE, 2010), and now in this sequel, which lays out the historical foundation for the theoretical claims on Gandhian sartorial communication published in his previous work. It covers new ground by highlighting the ′subversive′ nature of Gandhi′s sartorial choices through a range of disciplines, and has brought Gandhian communication through attire to centre stage. I am sure the academic community and communication specialists would welcome its effort to highlight brilliantly the communicative power of an ordinary cloth to mould a national movement that dethroned colonialism while subverting the values it upheld. - John S Moolakkattu, Editor: Gandhi Marg  Full text >>>

Investigates the power of symbol to qualitatively transform society. Threading together historical evidence by discussing the complex challenges in Gandhi’s highly polarised environment...the present work is noteworthy for the originality of its approach, the richness of documentation it supplies, and the clarity with which the relevance and depth of Gandhi’s thoughts and actions are demonstrated. - The Sunday Standard

Yet another addition to the remarkably diverse Gandhian scholarship. -  Ammara Khan, The Dawn, Full text >>>

It has been said that there is already so much literature on Gandhi that it is not easy to write anything original on his thought... Yet this book has something new and interestng. It offers a new thesis on the role of attire in the struggle against British imperialism in India. - Arun Kumar Sharma, Sociological Bulletin, 62 (1), January-April, 2013, pp. 170-173. 

(The author) lays out how Gandhi’s understanding of striving for satya, a purer state of being, informed his vision of swaraj, an India seeking its religious and political potential, and hence all aspects of Gandhi’s activism. Gonsalves is quite successful in identifying the way Gandhi’s focus on khadi resonated with this vision. This section would be a very useful introduction to readers who have little background in Gandhian thought (which) perhaps is the value of the work. As an introductory overview of Gandhi’s approach to countering British rule in the Indian subcontinent, the work highlights how Gandhi’s unconventional and typically subversive tactics simultaneously operated on many political and cultural fronts. By focusing on the powerful set of meanings expressed through Gandhi’s marshalling of homespun cloth as a revolutionary tool, Gonsalves’ work may prompt students of Gandhi’s activism to reflect more deeply on what he sought to accomplish. - Kay Koppedrayer, in South Asian History and Culture, Volume 5, 2014 - Issue 3, p. 398.

Convincing and well-articulated, the book is based on a multidisciplinary approach to scientific analysis that takes the reader on a journey of Gandhian sartorial subversion through eco-political, psycho-cultural and socio-religious dimensions. -  Cecilia Rinaldini - Professor of Political Communication, Journalist at Radio RAI and Winner of the 'Archivio Disarmo per la Pace - Colombe d'Oro, 2008. 

The book is noteworthy for the originality of its approach, the richness of the documentation it supplies, and the clarity with which the relevance and depth of Gandhi's thoughts and actions are demonstrated. - Jose M. Prellezo - Professor Emeritus of the History of the Sciences of Education Salesian University, Rome.  


The author's reply to a doctoral student intending to study Gandhi's Spirituality:

Thank you JV for downloading my article. I have dealt with Gandhi's spirituality in the last part of my book Gandhi: Khadi's Mega Symbol of Subversion (Sage 2012). The parts before it (A to E) demonstrate his courage and resilience in his march against the current of imperial social injustice and incomprehension of his compatirots. The last part (F) deals with the principles that enabled him withstand the dangerous ascent to India's swaraj and the possible attainment of his personal moksha....which was his voluntarily chosen spiritual path. My approach, therefore, was to first demonstrate his spiritual strength in the battle of everyday life and only later to identify and explain the pillars of his spirituality that sustained and propelled his chariot forward. In my opinion, his life was his 'Bhagavad Gita'.