Gandhi Journal Article-III ( November 2016 )
Mahatma Gandhi and The Polaks
By Prabha Ravi Shankar
South Africa was the crucible that forged Gandhi's identity as a political activist. it was an important prelude to his return to his motherland in 1915 where he dominated the national movement for more than two decades. Amongst the early and closest friends of Mahatma Gandhi in South Africa, now largely forgotten, were an English couple named Henry Polak and Millie Polak. Henry zoos a radical English Jew, Millie was a Christian feminist. Polak was Gandhi's closest political aide and fellow-seeker. Even after their return to England in 1916, the Polaks continued to take much interest in India's future and kept a close association with Gandhi until the latter's death in 1948. Despite his yeomen services to India and close relationship with Gandhi, there is no in-depth study on Gandhi and Polak. This paper is an attempt to fill this gap.