The first twenty seven chapters of the book see how Gandhi's life is molded by his circumstance and then in turn sought to mold his own destiny. From his childhood, his being part of the Banya caste, growing up in Porbandar and Rajkot and being in general under the absolute duress of his parents social and political roles (4-7). He has a great respect for elders and people in authority, considers them beyond reproach or doubt. His experience as student, particularly the incident where he said that his teacher prompted him to cheat to impress a school inspector, reading Harishchandra and watching the play Harishchandra are key points in his childhood.
These laid the foundations for his future treatise on truth and society which will led him to question what in his childhood he accepted so easily including his formative schooling experience and Hindu social customs (4). Gandhi considers his life experience as a process of contemplation, self-realization and application. In conjunction with his personal and professional development within and outside his primary context, he considers these as experiments that have allowed him to define his values and prerogatives. Such as in his early experience with eating meat, his commitment to avowing this food develops from compliance by rote and enforcement, defiance by subversion, rationalization through knowledge and finally true acknowledgment and acquiescence of the practice.
This will set a pattern it seems for Gandhi: evident in the succeeding chapters of the book detailing his high school, college and early professional experiences in Africa and home. His life is highlighted by time of great self-doubt, conflicting familial and social aspirations as well as professional struggles. By saying that "he sees them", there is the suggestion that Gandhi is aware of the substance and weight of social customs. More importantly that he is able to judge them rightly not only in their context but based on his own moral and ethical principles. Gandhi often considers conformity easily but would eventually "see" fallacies in that system of thinking and opts to follow his own ethical standards as individual (88-89).
He does this by making a personal stand, neither questioning authority or prevailing systems but standing on the argument that truth should prevail. When his caste signified its protest regarding his going to England, he points out that the assumption that he will not follow custom when he gets there or that the very idea of pursuing something abroad goes beyond acceptable aspirations for the caste is based on mere speculation (21). In other case, he does not divulge his being having a child marriage when he arrives in England and other Indian students like him implies a bachelor status. He would eventually feel obligated to say his true state of affairs in the interest of preventing the assumption of his availability as a suitor and his own feeling of burden in not giving recognition to the existence of his wife and young son (34).
Gandhi is to be considered as a moral hero I believe not because he was able to discern an ethical system or philosophy that has prompted social enlightenment or prompted the independence of India but rather because he