Gandhi: A Manga Biography

 Author: Kazuki Ebine

Illustrator: Kazuki Ebine

Published: 2011 by Penguin USA

No. of Pages: 192

Genre: Manga; Biography

Subthemes: Indian Independence

Timeline: 1880-1948


Gandhi is a lucid tale of Mahatma Gandhi’s life from the award-winning manga artist Kazuki Ebine.

Largely written as an informative, Gandhi follows traditional manga style to narrate an appreciable large chunk of the Mahatma’s life beginning from the tender age of eleven. Although we don’t get to see the popular Chibi panels or double-spreads to introduce the character, the style and narration stick to the traditional manga style.

The narration is lucid and covers some of the most important incidents in the Mahatma’s life. Unlike most of the other graphic novels, Gandhi isn’t divided into parts and handles time transitions usually by notifying the year and Gandhi’s age in that year. Sometimes this is also accompanied by the location, however, it makes it very difficult for a reader to transition to the time and space of where Gandhi is portrayed in the novel to be.

On the other hand, the novel as is evident from the very first reading feels like an informative to educate people about the Mahatma’s life and is perhaps largely aimed at teenage readers. Not to say that an adult reading it won’t be able to gain much out of it but will require more content clarity and will need to read up significantly to get an accurate picture.

The art is beautifully done, and the anatomy is different to that of the traditional Manga. Kazuki’s effort in contextualizing the art to India is evident from how the art has been done. Essentially, the most important aspect of the storyline here is that it captures the essence of Mahatma’s understanding of the world and gives the reader significant time over the length of 192 pages to see the Mahatma grow from a shy frail boy to a human being who epitomizes peace and non-violence.

Dedicated panels and pages are used to highlight this “essence” and kind of peak the storytelling in this Manga.  The plot largely covers the most important people however, it also misses out on some very important people like Dr. B.R Ambedkar and the fails to contextualize some important events mentioned in the book which were related to these important figures.

It works majorly as an informative and is definitely striking to read even for someone who has read about Gandhi. This is mainly because of some panels where Gandhi’s essence flows torrentially out of the page to the reader’s heart and shows the skill Kazuki has in telling a story through the manga style.

However, the number of typos in the manga is disappointingly high for a book published by a renowned publisher like Penguin.


No specific symbolism is used.

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