Mahatma gandhi

Rejecting the Raj: Gandhi’s acolytes in the West

Madeleine Slade, born in 1892, was a typical upper-class Victorian daughter of empire: a childhood riding around her grand-father’s estate in Surrey was followed by years of rejecting suitors and performing Beethoven on the piano. Occasionally she would sail across the world to visit her father, the commander-in-chief of the East Indies Squadron, who was responsible for Britain’s fleet in the Indian Ocean. But in 1923, a trip to Switzerland to visit the Nobel laureate Romain Rolland in the hills of Villeneuve would change the concert pianist’s life forever. Rolland had recently written about an Indian civil rights activist called Mahatma Gandhi. ‘You have not heard about him?’ he asked