“What barrier is there that love cannot break?”: The only inscribed first edition of Gandhi's autobiography to appear in the market
The Story of My Experiments with Truth.
Gandhi, Mohandas K. [Mahatma].
Item Number: 101676
Ahmedabad: Navajivan Press, 1927-29.
First editions of Gandhi’s fundamental autobiography; inscribed by him to Raja Shamraj Rajwant Bahadur. Octavo, 2 volumes, original cloth, tissue-guarded frontispiece portrait of Gandhi to each volume. Presentation copy, inscribed by Gandhi on the front free endpaper of Volume I in the rare original text Gandhi contrived in the year of the inscription to allow his signature to be read in both English and Hindi to the Raja, “To Raja Shamraj Rai Rayan Rajwant MT Gandhi 9. 3- 34.” The recipient, Indian nobleman Raja Shamraj Rajwant Bahadur assembled India’s greatest library, famed for its diverse collection of rare antiquarian manuscripts and important books. With the Raja’s library notes to both volumes including his note below Gandhi’s inscription to the front free endpaper of Vol. I. which read, “S.R.A.S. (1) The two volumes were presented to me by Badrul Hassom of Hyd. Book Depot on 10-11-1932. (2) The above autograph of Mahatma Gandhi was taken on 9-3-1934 during his visit to Hyderbad…S. 10-3-1934.” In very good condition with the majority of the scarce original dust jackets present, with the spine lacking of the first volume. First editions alone are exceptionally rare, this, personally inscribed by Gandhi to the founder of India’s most important library is of the utmost rarity. Housed in a custom half morocco clamshell box. There has never been a signed first edition of this work appearing at auction.
"My purpose," Mahatma Gandhi writes of this book, "is to describe experiments in the science of Satyagraha, not to say how good I am." Satyagraha, Gandhi's nonviolent protest movement (satya = true, agraha = firmness), came to stand, like its creator, as a moral principle and a rallying cry; the principle was truth and the cry freedom. The life of Gandhi has given fire and fiber to freedom fighters and to the untouchables of the world: hagiographers and patriots have capitalized on Mahatma myths. Yet Gandhi writes: "Often the title [Mahatma, Great Soul] has deeply pained me. . . . But I should certainly like to narrate my experiments in the spiritual field which are known only to myself, and from which I have derived such power as I possess for working in the political field."