But does modern India still find a space for such ideas? In the first of his essays, Gandhi Get Your Gun, Khilnani argues that the power of Gandhi's Hind Swaraj still speaks both to India's future and our own.
In the middle of the ocean, on a ship bound for South Africa, Mohandas Gandhi is gripped by 'A violent possession' as he furiously writes his first major work, Hind Swaraj.
An astonishing critique of modern civilization and a defense of non-violent resistance, it was banned by the British who viewed it as a seditious manifesto.
Gandhi had greater ambitions than mere nationalist uprising.
'The essence of what I have said is that man should rest content with what are his real needs...
if he does not have control he cannot save himself.' Written after his encounters with those who advocated revolutionary violence and terrorism in the cause of India's freedom, Hind Swaraj argues for force without violence or hatred as it strives to define what self rule, freedom, actually is.
Sunil Khilnani reveals the driving force behind Gandhi's first major work, Hind Swaraj.