The modern history of South Asia is shaped by the personalities of its two most prominent politicians and ideologues – Mohammad Ali Jinnah and Mahatma Gandhi. Jinnah shaped the final settlement by consistently demanding Pakistan, and Gandhi defined the largely non-violent nature of the Independence campaign. Theirs would seem to be a story of success, yet for each of them, the story ended in a kind of failure.
How did two educated barristers who saw themselves as heralds of a newly independent country come to find themselves on opposite ends of the political spectrum? How did Jinnah, who started out a secular liberal, end up a Muslim nationalist? How did a God-fearing moralist and social reformer like Gandhi become a national political leader? And how did their fundamental divergences lead to the birth of two new countries that have shaped the political history of the subcontinent?