Mahatma Gandhi

Moderate Republicanism is not intellectually dead. So where is it?

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We live in a world in which the contagion of anti-Semitism is spreading once again. Indeed, the profusion of hostility to Israel is the proof that hatred of Jews is now quite alright, thank you. But, whatever individual and isolated wrongs Israel commits, there are comparisons to be drawn. And the comparisons are to the Arab states and to Palestinian Arab society, in which oppression has flourished since the early years of the last century.

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[Guest post by Isaac Chotiner] In a decision that is equally silly and thuggish, the government of the Indian state of Gujarat has decided to ban Josheph Llelyveld's new book, Great Soul: Mahatma Gandhi and his Struggle with India. Gandhi, who was himself Gujarati, is described by Llelyveld in the book as having an intimate relationship with a German man named Hermann Kallenbach. As Llelyveld explains here, his book does not say that Gandhi and Kallenback were lovers. Nor does Llelyveld claim to have any huge discoveries about the relationship, which has been written about previously.

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Before Normalcy

I've been annoyed about today's Ross Douthat's column all day, so I suppose I should write something about it. Here's the paragraph that annoyed me: The fantasy was the idea that Barack Obama, a one-term senator with an appealing biography and a silver tongue, would turn out to be Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Robert F. Kennedy and Mahatma Gandhi all rolled into one. This fantasy inspired a wave of 1960s-style enthusiasm, an unsettling personality cult (that “Yes We Can” video full of harmonizing celebrities only gets creepier in hindsight) and a lot of over-the-top promises from Obama himself.

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Last month, a little-known British historian named Andrew Robert swas swept into the White House for a three-hour-long hug. He lunched with George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, huddled alone with the president in the Oval Office, and was rapturously lauded by him as"great." Roberts was so fawned over that his wife, Susan Gilchrist,told the London Observer, "I thought I had a crush on him, but it's nothing like the crush President Bush has on him." At first glance, this isn't surprising.

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States of Emergency

Indira: The Life of Indira Nehru Gandhi by Katherine Frank (Houghton Mifflin, 448 pp., $35) I. The glassy memorial that stands in the garden where Indira Gandhi was assassinated by her own bodyguards in 1984 is among the most visited secular sites in India. Morning and afternoon, busloads of Indians arrive from across the country, whole families together, young and old, noisy but respectful. Nearly twenty years dead, Mrs. Gandhi stays vivid in popular memory. In the view of most Indians, she was the best prime minister that they have ever had.

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The 60's

In writing not a few studies of literary history, I haven't said much about the new generation of the 1960s. There is a reason for the oversight. I like to write about situations that I have known at first hand, whereas from 1963 to 1973, the years when the Love Generation flowered and faded, I was a detached observer, a deaf man gardening in the country and writing about books.

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Mahatma Gandhi and his Apostles by Ved Mehta (Viking; $14.95)  Gandhi and Civil Disobedience by Judith M. Brown (Cambridge University Press; $32.50) The elephant is like a rope, says the blind man. It is like a tree-trunk, says another. No, it is like a snake, says a third.

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MacDonald and Gandhi

96 800x600 Normal 0 false false false EN-US JA X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman";} THE BRITISH Empire is engaged in a duel, in which no compromise seems possible, with the noblest and most influential personal force in the world.

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