Natwar Gandhi is an accountant by training but a poet at heart. He has published four volumes of poetry written in his mother tongue Gujarati, a language spoken by some forty million people in the western region of India. In 2014 he retired as Chief Financial Officer of the District of Columbia Government and in that capacity managed the finances of the District’s $12 billion budget. (For a full professional biography, click here )
America, America (2004) is Natwar Gandhi’s first collection of poems and contains fifty sonnets. The book is a bold tribute to the United States during a time when the country was reviled both at home and abroad for its militant foreign policy. Gandhi, who was born in India and migrated to the United States in 1965, is still captivated by the immigrant’s classic romance with America, the Promised Land. In these poems, the poet celebrates America, despite all its social ills, as a triumphant nation that has provided a standard of living and freedom of expression at unprecedented level to the majority of its vast, diverse people. Gandhi sees America mostly as a nation muddling through, yet ever evolving toward its inevitable destiny. What matters, however, is not that America falls short of its promise, but that it continually strives toward it. The poet writes movingly about the beauty of American landscapes and the resilience of American character, and pays tribute to such American heroes as Abraham Lincoln, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson and Robert Frost among others.
India, India (2006)) is Natwar Gandhi’s second collection of sonnets written also in Gujarati. In this collection, Gandhi writes nostalgically about India, the country of his birth. The collection also ruminates on life in America and other issues such as death, religion, and philosophers varying from the Greeks to Mahatma Gandhi.
Pennsylvania Avenue (2011) is Natwar Gandhi’s third collection of poems also in Gujarati. In his first volume America, America Gandhi paid a bold tribute to the United States during a time when the country was reviled both at home and abroad for its militant foreign policy. However, in this volume, particularly in its lead poem, Gandhi laments America that has gone astray from its promise of being an exceptional nation. In this volume, he sees America mostly as a nation muddling through falling short of its promise. Other poems in this collection also ruminate on life in America and other issues such as love, death, religion, and characters from great Indian epic Mahabharata.
America, America (2015), is a volume of selected and new poems of Natwar Gandhi edited by the eminent Gujarati critic and poet Dhiru Parikh.
Ek Ajanya Gandhi ni Atmakatha (2017), is autobiography of Natwar Gandhi.
This website also contains a monograph on Indians in America. In this monograph, Gandhi narrates and analyzes particular strengths as well as weaknesses of the migrant Indian community. Further more, Gandhi suggests that Indian-Americans have made significant contributions to American life—in arts and culture as well as industry and commerce– out of proportion to their small numbers. Yet, as a community, they have resisted their inevitable assimilation into the melting pot that is America. Gandhi was Chief Financial Officer of the District of Columbia Government (2000-2014) and in that capacity managed the finances of the District’s $12 billion budget. He presently lives in Washington, DC.