Desai was the son Mahatma Gandhi’s personal secretary Mahadev Desai, and lived his early life in the Sabarmati and Sewagram ashrams. As a young man, he was associated with Vinobha Bhave’s Bhoodan movement and inspired by Jayprakash Narayan’s idea of total revolution. But Desai will always be remembered for continuing to spread the word of Mahatma Gandhi even in the 21st century.
Desai is the author of possibly the most comprehensive biography of Gandhi, Maru Jivan Ej Maru Vani, a four-volume book in Gujarati that has been translated into English as My Life Is My Message. After the 2002 riots in Gujarat, Desai realised his work was far from done. In 2004, Desai started performing Gandhi Kathas. He would tell the story of Gandhi’s life, covering all the major episodes that shaped the man and India’s freedom movement and also his everyday interactions with the people of the country. The Kathas were five-day discourses during which Desai would spend three hours every evening telling stories in an intimate and captivating narration. Desai has held more than a hundred Gandhi Kathas in more than a dozen states in India and even in the US, UK and Canada.
In a newspaper interview in 2010, Desai said, "I spent one third of my life with Bapu and the rest of my life, living according to his teachings." Here are two videos of Desai at a Gandhi Katha telling the story of Gandhi’s objection to the salt tax imposed by the British and his struggle to keep the peace during the Partition... view videos: