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A Triumph, Not Ordeal

Krishna Kripalani

By Hugh Tinker
Oxford University Press, New Delhi, 1979, pp. 350, Rs. 90.00

VOLUME IV NUMBER 5-6 March-April/May-June 1980

Professor Hugh Tinker has written a fine, and also a very timely biography. Andrews died in April 1940 in Calcutta. Nine years later, Allen and Unwin pub­lished his first and still the most defi­nitive biography written by two devoted friends and admirers, Banarsidas Chatur­vedi and Marjorie Sykes. In between, two shorter volumes were published in London by John Hoyland and Nied Maenicol. Since then the British interest in Andrews, which was never high, further dimmed, so that as Hugh Triker has pointed out in the prologue, when ‘a quaker admirer urged Radio Birmingham—the local radio station of the city where he lived in boyhood, a city with thousands of Indians and Pakistani citizens—to include a pro­gramme to mark his centenary, she receiv­ed a blunt answer: We have never heard of him.’ This biography is therefore a very timely one, particularly for British and foreign readers. The Indian public was less indifferent. During the centenary year, 1971, the Gandhi Peace Foundation of Delhi organ­ized an all India Seminar on Andrews, and the Tagore Research Institute of Calcutta a large public celebration which was inaugurated by Acharya J.B. Kri­palani. The Institute also published and continues to publish valuable monographs on Andrews and regularly observes the anniversary of his birth and death when flowers are offered at his grave and devo­tional hymns sung. The late Gurdial Mallik, a fellow tra­veller on the pilgrimage to spiritual fulfil­ment through love and service of fellow­men, interpreted the initials of his name, C.F.A., as Christ's Faithful Apostle. Andrews was indeed that. He was too close to the spirit of Jesus to be appreci­ated by his white brother Christians who during the centuries following the death of their master had moved far away from his teaching. When Andrews first saw Gandhi at the Durban port in January 1914 and Polak pointed to an ascetic figure with head shaven, dressed in a white dhoti and kurta of such coarse material as an indentured labourer might wear, looking as though in mourning and said, Here is Mr Gandhi, Andrews stoop­ed at once instinctively and touched his feet. . The white onlookers were shocked be­yond measure. Here in the very citadel of· racism was a member of the British ruling race and a Cambridge graduate at that, demeaning himself and his race by touch­ing the ...

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