Understanding Gandhi is a collection of interviews of six of Mahatma Gandhi's closest associates-J.B. Kriplani, Raihana Tyabji, Dada Dharmadhikari, Sushila Nayar, Jhaver Patel and Sucheta Kripalani. The interviewees reflect on Gandhi's ideas in the light of changes that took place in India after Independence. These interviews have been conducted by Fred J. Blum (1914-1990), an academician and consultant to the US Senate Committee on Labor and Public Welfare, whose lifelong commitment was to understand Gandhi's approach to social, ecomic and spiritual issues. The book provides glimpses of Gandhi's ideas and working relationship with his colleagues who came from a wide range of backgrounds, professions and geographical regions. It also brings out the thoughts of Gandhi and his followers on several important issues such as Satyagraha, n-violence, Brahmacharya, spirituality, and fasting. This blend of an intimate kwledge of Gandhi and the reflective hindsight gives the book a unique vantage point that promotes a holistic understanding of Gandhian thought and philosophy.
Usha Thakkar is Honorary Director, Institute of Research on Gandhian Thought and Rural Development; and Honorary Secretary, Mani Bhavan Gandhi Sangrahalaya, Mumbai. She retired as Professor and Head, Department of Political Science, SNDT Women's University, Mumbai. She has done postdoctoral research at the University of Chicago on Fulbright Fellowship, at Cornell University on Sr. Fulbright Fellowship and at York University (Canada) on WID Fellowship from the Shastri Indo-Canadian Institute. Her research areas are Women's Studies, Gandhian Studies and Indian Politics. Her publications include Politics in Maharashtra (co-editor, 1995); Women in Indian Society (co-author, 2001); Zero Point Bombay: In and Around Horniman Circle (co-editor, 2008) and Culture and Making of Identity in Contemporary India (co-editor, 2005). Jayshree Mehta is Vice Chancellor, Sumandeep Vidyapeeth University, Piparia, Vadodara. Earlier she was Professor and Head of Surgery in the Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda. She is a Fellow of the International College of Surgeons and past-President of Gujarat Surgeons' Association. She was awarded the best Consultant of the year award in 2008-09 by Indian Medical Association, Gujarat Branch. She has published many articles in national and international journals. She has special interest in Breast Cancer and is currently doing research on its incidence among rural and urban women of Gujarat. Hailing from Porbandar she has been interested in the life and thought of Mahatma Gandhi.