The modern history of South Asia is shaped by the personalities of
its two most prominent politicians and ideologues – Mohammad Ali
Jinnah and Mahatma Gandhi.
Jinnah shaped the final settlement by consistently demanding Pakistan,
and Gandhi defined the largely non-violent nature of the campaign.
Each made their contribution by taking over and refashioning
a national political party, which they came to personify. Theirs
would seem, therefore, to be a story of success, yet for each of them,
the story ended in a kind of failure.
How did two educated barristers who saw themselves as heralds of
a newly independent country come to find themselves on opposite
ends of the political spectrum? How did Jinnah, who started out a
secular liberal, end up a Muslim nationalist? How did a God-fearing
moralist and social reformer like Gandhi become a national political
leader? And how did their fundamental divergences lead to the birth
of two new countries that have shaped the political history of the
This book skilfully chronicles the incredible similarities and ultimate
differences between the two leaders, as their admirers and detractors
would have it and as they actually were.'