52 pages 1 hour read

Supriya Kelkar


Fiction | Novel | Middle Grade | Published in 2017

A modern alternative to SparkNotes and CliffsNotes, SuperSummary offers high-quality Study Guides with detailed chapter summaries and analysis of major themes, characters, and more.


Historical Context: Gandhi and the Nonviolent Protest in India

The presence of historical figure Mohandas K. Gandhi looms in the background of Ahimsa. Gandhi encouraged civil disobedience and nonviolence as a means to resist British rule in India, becoming a steadfast figure in the independence movement. In the novel, his commitment to nonviolence inspires Anjali and her mother, though they learn about the complexities behind Gandhi’s politics, choosing to focus on his message of nonviolence while also learning to listen to those in their village for whom they’re trying to advocate.

After World War II, Gandhi had expected Britain to give independence to India, and when they didn’t, he began to work more openly against British rule, using nonviolent techniques he’d used for political protest in the early 20th century. While others criticized him at times for being unwilling to use violence to make change, Gandhi remained steadfast in his commitment to peaceful protest (“Gandhi and Civil Disobedience.” Teach Democracy). He aided in the beginnings of the Quit India movement in 1942, which Anjali references at the start of the novel by painting a “Q” on the British officer’s door.

When India gained Independence in 1947, Gandhi expressed his wishes to unify India among the followers of both the Hindu and Muslim faiths, despite the tensions between them.