Born with a silver spoon in his mouth, Govind was the grandson of Raja Gokul Das of Jabalpur. Though this Marwari family had its roots in Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, they had made Jabalpur their home and acquired tremendous fame and fortune. Born in a colonized country, Govind had quite a western upbringing where he spoke English like an Englishman, learnt to play tennis and bridge and was privy to lavish garden parties where he was exposed to the uppermost echelons and the who’s who of society. Decadence of every sort was normal and prevalent. Despite such a prevailing atmosphere, Govind however observed early on, that his father and grandfather looked up to white skinned British officers, many of whom were unashamedly derogatory towards Indians. Thanks to a vow given to his mother, a traditional and devout Indian woman in his adolescence, he also managed to remain fairly grounded.
…and then came Govind’s tryst with Gandhi. Mahatma Gandhi, who had aroused millions of Indians with his passion and dream of an independent India, touched Govind’s life and changed it forever.The writer, Dr. Sudhir Saxena vividly recounts Govind’s glorious innings in public life, his dedication to the Congress and his absolute reverence towards Bapu. As incidents big and small are narrated, hundreds of luminous names that one is so familiar with Dr. Rajendra Prasad, Pt. Motilal Nehru, Tilak, Lala Lajpat Rai, Sardar Patel, Subhash Bose and many others – come alive. Images from crucial game changing chapters of the Indian freedom struggle such as Jalianwala Bagh, Chauri-Chaura, Khilafat, Satyagraha, Non-Co-Operation and Quit India, appear real.Had the book however been a re-telling of already known and recorded incidents, it would be one thing. But the writer has culled out fascinating anecdotes from all aspects of Govind’s life that does justice and indeed creates intrigue about his multi dimensional personality. A relentless doer, Govind comes across as a voracious reader who also interacts closely with noted writers of his time; a prolific writer himself with 99 plays, many short stories and a novel titled Indumati to his name; a champion orator; a dedicated Congressman and an inspired Gandhian who dons khadi and faces imprisonment multiple times in his life. The writer paints a sensitive portrayal of Govind the father, who never discriminates between his sons and daughters and Govind the son, who relinquishes his rights to the family fortunes and chooses to live outside his residence, Raja Gokuldas Palace instead of compromising on his lofty ideals.