The Struggle of My Life Autobiography of Swami Sahajanand Saraswati

Format: Hardcover
Pub. Date: 2020-02-05
Publisher(s): Oxford University Press
List Price: $74.66

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Sahajanand Saraswati (1889-1950) was a man of many parts. Monk, scholar, freedom fighter, and leader of the peasant movement, he made an impact in all these spheres. His autobiography, Mera Jeevan Sangharsh gives an account of his life and his attempts to reform the ills besetting his country, in religion and in politics. In doing so, it sheds light on a number of significant periods in the history of India.
It is, however, the tale of the nation told from the margins, not from the perspective of the English-educated, vilayat-returned nationalist. It is written by a man with humble roots who decided to improve the life of the common masses. This is an especially relevant book in these times, when the aam aadmi has become the pivot on which election campaigns are run and won.
The Struggle of My Life describes the remarkable life of a man who lived in remarkable times.

Author Biography

Ramchandra Pradhan, Visiting Professor, Institute of Gandhian Studies,Wardha

RAMCHANDRA PRADHAN, a well-known social activist and Gandhian scholar, taught at Ramjas College, University of Delhi, for several decades. As one of the conveners of the Lokayan project and an activist-thinker of the Movement for Peace and Alternative Development, he has travelled all over the world and interacted with activists and scholars across continents. He has been a recipient of the Senior Fulbright Fellowship (1979) and the Indo-Canadian Shastri Fellowship (1993). He is the author of several books and is working on a multi-volume study on the Indian Socialist Movement. Currently, he is affiliated to the Institute of Gandhian Studies, Wardha, Maharashtra.

Table of Contents

I My Birth and Childhood * My Birthplace and My Family * Economic Condition * My Education Begins * Sacred Thread Ceremony and Gurumantra
II In Ghazipur Hindi Middle School * My English Education in the Mission School * My First Attempt at Sannyasa * My Marriage and the Death of My Wife
III Post-Sannyasa Period * Yoga and Our Wanderings as Pilgrims * Experiences of Extreme Hunger and Other Incidents * Our Defiance and Some Strange Incidents * Food after Fifty-two Hours * In Mane Village across Narmada * Towards Onkareshwar * Darshan of Mahakal * We Got Our Special Bhiksha * Gurudom and its Ills * Towards Mathura * The Story of My Companion * Haridwar and Rishikesh * My New Engagement with Studies * Pilgrimage to Badrinath * Our Agnipariksha and Its Success * From Kedarnath to Badrinath * Back to Rishikesh * Towards Kashi Again
IV The Study of Shastras * My Nature, Obstacles, and Madhukari * My Trial by Fire * In the State of Academic Anomie * Towards Becoming a Dandi Swami * My Gurudev * Astrology and Rituals * My Visit to Mithila * Durga Saptshati and Phute Ganesh * Towards Gujarat and Journey Back to Kashi * My Illness * In the Bhumihar Brahmin Sabha
V Why did I Plunge into Social Work? * My Reply to Opponents * My Research and the Books * My Entry into Politics
VI My Dialogue with Gandhiji * Some Reminiscences of the Nagpur Congress * Non-cooperation Movement at Buxar * My Himalayan Blunder * The Ahmedabad Congress * My First Jail Journey at Ghazipur * Hunger Strike in Benares Jail * In Faizabad Jail * I Came to Understand the Message of the Gita * In Lucknow Jail * Some Special Experiences in Lucknow Jail * Hydrotherapy * My Conclusions * Out of the Jail * Gandhiji In and Out of Jail * My Untouchability Fad * The Question of Purohiti * Shri Sitaram Ashram: A Symbol of Revolution * A Sad and Painful Event * Lokasangraha
VII The Foundation of the Western Patna Kisan Sabha * Resting at Bulundshahar * My Differences and Animosity with Sir Ganesh Dutt * Dissolution of Bhumihar Brahmin Mahasabha * Bihar Provincial Kisan Sabha * Bihar Visit of Vallabhbhai Patel * Freedom Struggle During 1930 * Once Again in Bankipur Jail * In Hazaribagh Central Jail * Out of Jail: Indifference to Politics * The United Party and the Fake Kisan Sabha * Exposure of the Fake Kisan Sabha and the Emergence of the Real Kisan Sabha Once Again * The Pathetic Story of the Peasants of Gaya District * Tenancy Bill, Peasant Movement, and Other Developments * The First Kisan Conference and Thereafter * My Dialogue and Differences with Gandhiji * Three Tragic Incidents That Left a Permanent Imprint on My Mind * My Confrontation with the Government: Imposition of Section 144 for the First Time against Me * Socialist Friends in the Kisan Sabha
VIII Zamindari System Must Go * The Issue of Religion * All India Kisan Sabha and Kisan Bulletin * Sugar Mill of Bihta * Election to the Central Assembly * Bihar: The Benami Suba * Peasants' Demand: The Faizpur Programmes * Bihar Peasants Enquiry Committee * The Assembly Elections * Masrakh Conference and the Congress Ministry * My Visit to Kashmir * Provincial Kisan Conference * Peasant Demonstrations * Misunderstanding About My Slogan: 'Lath Hamara Zindabad' * Bakast Andolan in Badaiya and Rewada * Struggles in Majhianwan and Other Places * Lessons Learnt from these Struggles * Comilla, Haripura, Gaya, and Palasa * My Tour in Different Provinces * Tripuri Congress and Thereafter * Anti-compromise Conferences * Unity and Cooperation among the Left Forces * Conclusions
IX Historical Background * My Two Years in Jail * Writing of the Gita and Other Books * Charkha, Not Political Teachings * Myself and the Ordinary Prisoners * Majornath * Political Pandagiri * Why I am Not in Any Political Party * Misdeeds of the Political Parties * My Daily Routine in Jail * The German Attack on the Soviet Union * The Menace of Fascism * John Strachey's Book * Mindset of My Opponents * Opposition in the Kisan Sabha * Dumraon Struggle
Swami's Life in Brief: A Chronological Account
About the Translator and Editor

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