India before and after Gandhi

The first Prime Minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru with Mohandas Gandhi, leader of India's fight for independence. Gandhi left behind a great legacy in the wake of India's 16th general election, the biggest election ever, with more than 800 million Indians eligible to cast votes. (AP Photo)

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The Hindu Nationalist party of Narendra Modi appears poised to sweep out the ruling Congress party - controlled by the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty. Even the Gandhi family is divided with cousins on opposing political. And yet the man who has studied and chronicled Mohandas Gandhi and his legacy says the world's biggest democracy can handle it all.

"I'm always prepared to return to jail." - Mohandas Gandhi, 1931

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Gandhi leading the Salt March against the government monopoly on salt production. (Central Press/Getty Images).


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Historian Ramachandra Guha (Irvati Guha)

The world's biggest democracy is not only hosting the world's biggest election, it's hosting the biggest election -- ever. More than 800 million Indians are eligible to cast votes - a process that is six weeks long.

The fact that so many people have this opportunity owes a great deal to the efforts of one of the most famous men of the twentieth century.

In his new book, Gandhi Before India, historian Ramachandra Guha delves deep into the life of the man who helped bring about modern India.

From his birth in Colonial India, to his political activism in South Africa, to the eventual return to his homeland, Gandhi Before India looks at the social and political factors that shaped the man and how the man shaped India.

Ramachandra Guha joined us in our Toronto studio.


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This segment was produced by The Current's Lara O'Brien.

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