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Peter Gonsalves threads together Gandhi's cloth-obsession: spins 'Khadi'

By Chris Valentino
Fr Peter Gonsalves, sdb (inset) and the Cover-Page of his latest publication
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Abroad, Jun. 23. Salesian edu-communicator Peter Gonsalves' newest book KHADI: GANDHI'S MEGA SYMBOL OF SUBVERSION through SAGE publications is up for sale.  A labour of love both time-consuming and energy-sapping, this is a sequel to the earlier Clothing for Liberation (SAGE, 2010). It contains 344 pages and is priced at Rs. 795.
Studying Mahatma Gandhi's use of clothing as a metaphor for unity, empowerment and liberation from imperial subjugation, the book investigates the power of a symbol to qualitatively transform society. Threading together historical evidence by discussing the complex challenges in Gandhi's highly polarised environment, Gonsalves examines the symbolic potential for change - through khadi - as a strategic ploy to achieve independence. ( SAGE Publications )

Gonsalves says''This work brings together the reams of available data on Gandhi's clothing-obsession for India's freedom. It is historical and multidisciplinary; and perhaps, because it demonstrates for the first time the Mahatma's 'subversive' gumption and stamina even on an issue as banal as cloth, it may possibly attract wide readership.''

John S Moolakkattu- Editor, Gandhi Marg, Quarterly Journal of the Gandhi Peace Foundation, New Delhi and Professor, IIT Madras , Chennai writes in the foreword:''The significance of khadi has already been explored by a number of scholars from different angles. Peter Gonsalves has made his foray into this area, writing largely from a communication perspective, first in his book Clothing for Liberation (SAGE, 2010), and now in this sequel, which lays out the historical foundation for the theoretical claims on Gandhian sartorial communication published in his previous work. It covers new ground by highlighting the 'subversive' nature of Gandhi's sartorial choices through a range of disciplines, and has brought Gandhian communication through attire to centre stage.
I am sure the academic community and communication specialists would welcome its effort to highlight brilliantly the communicative power of an ordinary cloth to mould a national movement that dethroned colonialism while subverting the values it upheld.''

Cecilia Rinaldini - Professor of Political Communication, Journalist at Radio RAI and Winner of the 'Archivio Disarmo per la Pace - Colombe d'Oro 2008,' states: ''This book makes interesting reading as it presents an original perspective on the political life of Gandhi by focusing on the symbolical efficacy of the fabric he used to clothe himself and his followers. ...... Convincing and well-articulated, the book is based on a multidisciplinary approach to scientific analysis that takes the reader on a journey of Gandhian sartorial subversion through eco-political, psycho-cultural and socio-religious dimensions.''

Jos� M. Prellezo - Director, Salesian Historical Institute, and Professor Emeritus of the History of the Sciences of Education Salesian University, Rome reviews:
''The book, Khadi: Gandhi's Mega Symbol of Subversion (2012) is intimately connected to the author's previous work, Clothing for Liberation (Sage, 2010). The point of departure is the same: Gandhi's communication through clothing - a choice that Gonsalves claims was ''an extremely courageous strategy intended to destabilize unjust authoritative systems in the pursuit of purna swaraj. ...... The book is noteworthy for the originality of its approach, the richness of the documentation it supplies, and the clarity with which the relevance and depth of Gandhi's thoughts and actions are demonstrated.''

Book Reviews / Introduction to the book

Peter Gonsalves currently at the Faculty of the Science of Social Communication at the Salesian Pontifical University Rome, is a globally renowned communications expert with several workshops and seminars to his credit. Having pioneered the catechetical media ministry in the Salesian Province of Mumbai through Tej-Prasarini, Fr. Gonsalves is an acclaimed musician, lyricist and composer with PraySing (a hymnal for liturgical and paraliturgical services) and is a famed author on Media, Peace and the Salesian System. He is also actively involved in the Salesian Communications Project  through varied publications and initiatives.

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