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His Experiments With Truth

On the occasion of Mahatma Gandhi’s birth anniversary, Penguin India is proud to announce the forthcoming publication of the Critical Edition of An Autobiography or The Story of My Experiments with Truth, introduced with notes by eminent scholar Tridip Suhrud.
M.K. Gandhi wrote his autobiography in Gujarati, which was published serially in the volumes of Navajivan, and was simultaneously translated into English by Mahadev Desai (albeit some chapters were translated by Pyarelal, during the period in which Mahadev Desai was preoccupied with the Bardoli Agrarian Inquiry). The English translation was published as AN AUTOBIOGRAPHY or The Story of My Experiments with Truth in two volumes (1927 and 1929). The second re-revised edition of the autobiography was published in 1939; the revisions were a result of collaboration between Mahadev Desai and Srinivas Sastri. This is the edition that has been read ever since, and is the seed text for translations of the Autobiography in other languages.

This translation has been subject of academic discussions: both within the larger domain of autobiographical writings in India and the West as also within specific field of study of Gandhi’s life and thought. There has also been discussion about the need to either annotate the translation with extensive notes and variance between original Gujarati and the English translation or have a new translation from Gujarati.

The present book is an annotated critical edition of the Autobiography. The book will introduce modern readers to Gandhi’s life and thought, and how he came to undertake what he called his ‘experiments with truth’. The Introduction will discuss the history of the Autobiography, its translations, the history of the autobiographical tradition in Gujarati and in India, debates around the autobiography as it was being written and later academic works that deal with it, among other matters, and also Gandhi’s reflections on himself before and after he wrote it.
The annotations touch upon all the important aspects of Gandhi’s life, including key events and figures, to help readers understand its contexts and characters. There is evidence from other texts, explanatory notes and comments on the text itself as also comparison between two editions of the Autobiography. The text is also accompanied by Tridip’s alternative translations for terms, phrases, sentences and paragraphs, to be closer to the original Gujarati.

This Critical Edition of the Autobiography will throw new light on Gandhi’s evolving modes of practice and will act as the perfect introduction to Gandhi for general readers and scholars alike. Penguin Random House India will publish the book in January 2018.


Tridip Suhrud is a scholar, writer and translator who works on the intellectual and cultural history of modern Gujarat and the Gandhian intellectual tradition. As the director and chief editor of the Sabarmati Ashram Preservation and Memorial Trust (2012–17), Ahmedabad, he was responsible for creating a digital archive—the Gandhi Heritage Portal—of all of M.K. Gandhi’s works. Apart from a number of books on Gandhi’s life, Tridip has co-edited the critical annotated edition of Hind Swaraj, translated Narayan Desai’s four-volume biography of Gandhi, My Life Is My Message, and translated the four-volume epic Gujarati novel, Sarasvatichandra. He is the series editor of Gandhi Studies for Orient Blackswan and has been Guest Fellow at the Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Shimla. Tridip was honoured with the Katha Award (1999) and the Sahitya Akademi Award (2010).

Tridip is presently translating the diaries of Manu Gandhi, covering the period between 1942 and 1948, compiling a series ‘Letters to Gandhi’—of unpublished correspondence to Gandhi—and working on an eight-volume compendium of testimonies of the indigo cultivators of Champaran. Tridip lives in Ahmedabad.

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