How deep and wide is the  impact of gandhi's personality and his thought on the theme of Kanthapura?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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In general, I wonder if there is any way to compose a novel on Indian independence and not have Gandhi's presence such an intense and major part of it.  Certainly, Rao's work does feature Gandhi on many levels.  To a large degree, the narrative of the village Kanthapura involves Gandhi.  As Rao indicates, the story of the village is the story of every village in India.  The Gandhian presence is evident on both political and social levels.  On one hand, the political movement of Independence is present in the stirrings in the village, as just like India, it faces severe resistance, but then over time is gradually embraced to a point where a massive embracing causes lasting and seismic change to the political reality of the village.  Gandhian principles are a part of this such as Moorthy's espousing of nonviolence, wearing homespun, and demanding a level of structural change in how individuals interact with one another.  This leads to the social displacement that is seen in Gandhian ideas.  The advocacy for the dissolving of the caste system is a part of this and the resistance it spurns is also a part of the Gandhian elements.  In disrupting the social fabric of the village, one witnesses Gandhi's philosophy in action.  The simplistic call to end the caste system in India has tremendous reverberations on all levels as individuals realize how powerful the call for independence actually is.  It is also representative when the women lead the charge for freedom, actively defying the men and the British in the calls for freedom.

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