Who is responsible for the Mahatma's death? Just one single, but determined, fanatic, the whole ideology of Hindu nationalism, the ruling Congress-led government whichfailed to protect him, or a vast majority of Indians and their descendants who considered Gandhi irrelevant? Such questions mean that Gandhi, even after his tragic and brutal death, continues to haunt India - perhaps more effectively in his afterlife than when he was alive.
The Death and Afterlife of Mahatma Gandhi is a groundbreaking and profound analysis of the assassination of the `father of the nation' and its after-effects. Paranjape argues that such a catastrophic event during the very birth pangs of a new nation placed a huge burden of Oedipal guilt on Indians, and that this is the reason for the massive repression of the murder in India's political psyche. The enduring influence of Gandhi is analysed, including his spectral presence in Indian cinema. The book culminates in Paranjape's reading of Gandhi's last six months in Delhi, where, from the very edge of the grave, he wrought what was perhaps his greatest miracle, the saving of Delhi and thus of India itself from internecine bloodshed.
This evocative and moving meditation into the meaning of the Mahatma's death will be relevant to scholars of Indian political and cultural history, as well as those with an interest in Gandhi and contemporary India
Makarand R. Paranjape is Professor of English at Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. Among his latest monographs is Making India: Colonialism, National Culture, and the Afterlife of Indian English Authority (2012) and Altered Destinations: Self, Society, and Nation in India (2010). His previous work on Gandhi includes Decolonization and Development: Hind Svaraj Revisioned (1993).
Part One Birth Traumas of the Nation I: Who Killed Gandhi? II: The Event III: The Post-Mortem IV: The Memorialization V: The Repression VI: The Unbearability of Patricide VII: Oedipus in India VIII: The Pollution XIX: The Haunting X: The Guilt XI: The Modernity of Patricide XII: The Mahatma's Endgame XIII: Gandhism vs. Gandhigiri: The Life and Afterlife of the Mahatma XIV: Beyond the Monument: Remembering the Mahatma XV: Gandhi and Anti-Oedipus Part Two `My Death is My Message': Mahatma, the Last 133 Days I: Arrival in Delhi II: `Do or Die': An Old Formula in the Capital of New India III: The Final Yajna IV: Partitioning Women V: Gandhi at an RSS Rally VI: Saving India VII: Ahimsa: `Softer than a flower and harder than a stone?' VIII: Hindu-Muslim Amity IX: The Art of Dying