Chandrika Kaul’s brief introductory remarks to the edited volume of essays, titled M.K. Gandhi, Media, Politics and Society, begins with a rhetorical flourish. Gandhi, she remarks, ‘both made the news and was the news.’ His preoccupation with media, and the publicity that it could afford to him, his opinions and his actions, was, according to Kaul, ‘one outstanding aspect of Gandhi’s persona and praxis’.
Looked at from another perspective, the book is an exploration of Gandhi’s tryst with modernity, a world order which he apparently repudiated and was yet unable to dispense with altogether. Indeed, his education in the United Kingdom and his training there as a barrister, contributed to his ideological constitution, at least to begin with, as a loyal subject of the British Empire, an identity which he gradually forsook in preference for that of a swadeshi (nationalist) outlook.
Thus, as Amelia Bonea argues in her essay on ‘… Gandhi, the Telegraph, and Political Communication in the British Empire’, it would be erroneous to brand Gandhi as a ‘techno-sceptic’ given his eagerness, for example, to use the telegraph as a means for political communication, whether to send telegraphic petitions to colonial authorities or to interact with his associates or to follow up on the dissemination of information for journalistic purposes. Likewise, Chandrika Kaul herself, in her essay ‘Gandhi and Broadcasting: Missing Narratives in Media, Nationalism and the Raj’ examines Gandhi’s interest in the broadcast medium, especially radio, as an index of how he came to appreciate, slowly but surely, this medium’s role in making available narrow-circle public debates and discussions to the general public at large.