Outrage over reviews of new Gandhi book

Discussion in 'Politics & Society' started by Oracle, Mar 29, 2011.

  1. Oracle

    Oracle New Member

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    NEW DELHI: Thousands of books have been written on Mahatma Gandhi with each new one claiming to have discovered an unknown facet of his eventful life. When reviews of Pulitzer prize winner Joseph Lelyveld's "Great Soul: Mahatma Gandhi and His Struggle with India" hit the newspapers in England and US claiming that the book says Gandhi was a bisexual and had a German-Jewish bodybuilder lover in Hermann Kallenbach it created immediate sensation.

    But as the Daily Mail's review of the book created a storm in cyberspace, there was a barrage of protests not just from Gandhians who said this was "blasphemy", but from the book's author himself who denied having suggested anything of the sort.

    Lelyveld told TOI, "I do not allege that Gandhi is a racist or bisexual in 'Great Soul'. The word 'bisexual' nowhere appears in the book." He also denied having called Gandhi a racist. "The word 'racist' is used once to characterise comments by Gandhi early in his stay in South Africa, part of a chapter summarising his statements about Africans and his relations with them. The chapter in no way concludes that he was a racist or offers any suggestion of it."


    Psychoanalyst Sudhir Kakar, one of the first to write on Gandhi's sexuality in 'Intimate Relations: Exploring Indian Sexuality' and later in 'Mira and Mahatma', is yet to read the book but has gone through an ocean of archives on Gandhi and says he never discovered anything that the reviewers claim the book consists of.

    Kakar remembers finding references to Kallenbach during his research but not the way the reviewers have portrayed it. He says if the book has what reviewers claim then it is plain "stupid." "Gandhi always talked of complete love but it was of platonic kind," he says. Another eminent modern India historian who has read the book said, "The reviews are by Churchill fans and rightwingers." The Mahatma's grandson Gopal Gandhi said, "I will not comment till I read the book."

    But Gandhian scholar Tridip Suhrud, author of books like 'The Autobiography of The Story of My Experiments With Truth' not only interacted with Lelyveld when he was researching the book but has also read it. He is aghast with the reviews and swears by Lelyveld. Suhrud says the section on Kallenbach begins with a quote from him.

    "Lelyveld asks me what I think of Gandhi's relationship with Kallenbach and I say, 'It is almost like a couple'. The two had a deep bond that borders on attraction of platonic kind. Joseph is not talking about what the reviewers are claiming," Suhrud says. He explains that in the late 19th century and early 20th century men addressed each other in a way that can be construed now as lovers.

    He gives the instance of letters between Rabindranath Tagore and CF Andrews. "Andrews wrote to Tagore in a manner that might raise eyebrows today. But the context was different then as also the usage of words. Tagore addressed him as Charlie," Suhrud says. He also says reviewers claim that the book portrays Gandhi as a racist is factually incorrect. In fact, he says, the book chronicles his work with Zulus as well during the Boer War where he took up the cause of the blacks.

    Suhrud goes on to give full marks to Lelyveld and the book. He says it is the first political biography of Gandhi by an expert on apartheid. "It is a fascinating work. Lelyveld shows there is continuity in Gandhi as well as major points of departure. Gandhi of South Africa was not the same as Gandhi of Sabarmati ashram. And Gandhi of Sabarmati was not the same after Dandi March." Lelyveld agrees: "The aim of 'Great Soul' is to sift the evidence and facts of Gandhi's life and discuss them in a careful, responsible and balanced way."

    Source
     
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  3. Sid

    Sid Regular Member

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    i got banned from Pakistan Defence Forum for posting this.

    Got reprimanded again at Indian Defence Forum for the same reason.
     
  4. Oracle

    Oracle New Member

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    So?
    DFI is not one among those two forums you mentioned. That Indian forum you mentioned is a fake Indian forum run by low life Pakistanis.
     
  5. SHASH2K2

    SHASH2K2 New Member

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    _______________self delete__________________
     
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2011
  6. ashdoc

    ashdoc Senior Member Senior Member

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  7. Oracle

    Oracle New Member

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  8. Oracle

    Oracle New Member

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    Sexual torment of a saint: A new book reveals Gandhi tortured himself with the young women who worshipped him, and often shared his bed

    The image of Mahatma Gandhi in his homespun loincloth - peering through his round wire glasses and leaning on two sari-clad women - is as fresh today as it was the day he was killed by an assassin's bullet in 1948.
    To the world he was the spiritual leader of India's independence movement, a pioneer of non-violent resistance and father of the Indian nation.
    He inspired civil rights movements everywhere - as well as today's most charismatic political leaders, including Mandela and Obama.

    [​IMG]

    Gandhi: Naked Ambition claims that Gandhi, a London trained lawyer-turned-guru, was a ruthless cult leader who enslaved his followers with such bizarre sexual demands that it became difficult for many people to take him seriously, even during his own lifetime.
    The book's author, Jad Adams, even goes so far as to suggest that the Draconian practices instituted by this iconic figure in the ashrams he founded prompted the perverted 20th-century cults of Jim Jones in Jonestown, Guyana, and David Koresh in Waco, Texas - both of whom used their mesmeric sexual appeal to reduce their followers to almost slavish subjugation.
    Though apparently frail and undernourished, like many ambitious men Gandhi was highly sexed - and wrote quite openly about the fact.
    But it was the peculiar nature of the rigorous exercises he instigated to try to contain his huge appetites that many people considered so unacceptable.
    Gandhi always said his obsession with sex started when he was married off at the age of 13 to a girl just one year older.
    The son of a prime minister in the state of Porbandar, as a child Gandhi's extreme fastidiousness was the only indication there was anything unusual about him.
    An indifferent pupil - small, frail and afraid of ghosts, snakes and the dark - he despised his father for giving in to his own carnal urges and became determined to control his own.
    From the outset, he claimed that he never wanted to get married - he was taken out of school for a year to prepare for the event, and thought it a total waste of money.

    But mainly he was concerned that he and his bride Kasturba, the daughter of the local mayor, were far too young - even though teenage marriage was by no means unusual.
    For the rest of his life, Gandhi remained angry with his father for marrying him off while he was a child. In fact, he said that on his wedding night, he and Kasturba (affectionately called Ba) were far too shy to face each other.
    Yet, having been told the facts of life by his brother's wife, the couple seem to have had no trouble consummating their relationship.
    Thereafter, Gandhi never tired of complaining that they had such an active sex life that there was no time for what he would have much preferred to do - which was to educate the illiterate Kasturba.
    'I am sure that, had my love for her been absolutely untainted by lust, she would be a learned lady today,' he said.
    But it was what happened on the night his father died that marked him forever.
    Gandhi, then 16, left the sick old man's bedside in order to rush home to make love to Kasturba and thereafter, he could never forgive himself for having been in the grip of lust when his father breathed his last.

    [​IMG]

    To make matters worse, his wife was pregnant at the time - and the child did not survive - leaving Gandhi tortured by guilt.
    By the time he went to London to study law in 1888, Gandhi had sworn a puritanical oath to touch neither wine nor meat, as well as women.
    But in London his crankiness only increased.
    He soon fell under the influence of the Vegetarian Society and its wealthy president, Arnold Hills, who not only believed in a diet of raw vegetables and pulses, but also preached abstinence from sex even within marriage, except for the purpose of procreation.
    Gandhi returned to India in 1891 as soon as he had been called to the Bar.
    And despite his determination to stay away from the wife he hadn't seen for three years, he was soon back in bed with her - and within a year their second son was born.
    But it was when Gandhi went to Africa in 1893 - where he fought for the rights of Indian residents - that he really started to hone his philosophy.
    When Kasturba joined him in his newly-founded ashram three years later, she was horrified at the harshness of the lifestyle he had adopted. Gandhi's asceticism dictated that she could have no servants and must empty her own chamber pot.
    He had learned to do his own laundry, cut his own hair - and even studied a childbirth manual so he could deliver their subsequent sons himself.
    Gandhi had become obsessed with chastity, as well as how to control his potent urges - and his experiments in self-restraint were quite extraordinary.
    At his ashram, men and women were housed separately, yet he encouraged the young to bathe and sleep together.
    'I sent the boys reputed to be mischievous and the innocent young girls to bathe at the same time,' he boasted, explaining carefully to them they were not to succumb to temptation. If ever they strayed, the vigilant Gandhi himself was present to adjudicate.

    At bedtime, everyone slept together on the verandah with their beds just 3ft apart - and Gandhi in the middle. When nature got the better of them, he punished the girls by cutting off their long hair.
    When one of his own sons strayed with someone else's wife, Gandhi imposed a seven-day fast on him, saying: 'If he dies in the process it will not be a matter for regret'.
    By 1906, Gandhi had taken the Hindu vow of brahmacharya - chastity. At the age of 36, he was determined to be celibate.

    [​IMG]

    'It is the duty of every thoughtful Indian not to marry,' he said. 'In case he is helpless in regard to marriage, he should abstain from sexual intercourse with his wife.'
    When he finally returned to India in 1915, the rules at his new ashram were even more stringent. Gandhi no longer felt sex was permissible on any level - even for procreation.
    His advice to husbands and wives was not to sleep in the same room - and, if they felt an urge, to take a cold bath.
    But while he insisted on other people sticking to his Draconian rules, Gandhi didn't always observe them himself.
    Despite his frail appearance he was an attractive man, according to one woman who lost her heart to him.
    'I caught a glimpse of him in the midst of silks and brocades, frills and sparkling jewels. He was dressed in a coarse khaki (handspun) dhoti and looked like a small-time tailor who had wandered in by mistake . . . He became my father, my mother, my boyfriend, my girlfriend, my daughter, my son, my teacher, my guru.'
    Women of all sorts flung themselves at him, and some became important to him. In middle life, he fell for Saraladevi Choudhurani, a Bengali nationalist activist, and his attraction to her was such that he even confessed that he was toying with breaking his own rules.
    Saraladevi provided the intellectual companionship his wife never could - and he wrote to a friend calling her 'my spiritual wife'.

    [​IMG]

    The couple were so close that whenever she visited the ashram terrible jealousies were aroused. The other women criticised the time he spent alone with her and how she was allowed off the most distasteful chores.
    In the end, it was Gandhi who ended the relationship - but there were other women, including the Danish missionary Esther Faering to whom he wrote many affectionate letters and the English admiral's daughter Madeleine Slade, who took the name of Mirabehn, and waited on him hand and foot.
    Although he proclaimed his abstinence, he still managed to be extremely intimate with many of his women.
    Despite the diet of fruit and nuts that he believed reduced his sexual urges, he was habitually constipated and would spend hours in the bathroom, feeling no shame in encouraging them to come and visit him during his sessions on the commode.
    Afterwards, they would massage him with mustard oil and lime juice while he lay naked before them.
    By 1936, Gandhi was already so venerable that everyone called him Bapu - Father. By then it had become his habit to take walks leaning on two girls, usually a pair named Abha and Sushila, whom he referred to as his walking sticks.
    His first question to them each morning was always: 'Have you had a good bowel movement this morning, sisters?'

    The teenage Abha was married to his great-nephew. Gandhi admitted that it was very dangerous sleeping close to her without wanting sex - but also conceded that it was a 'very worthwhile experiment'.
    As for Sushila, he had known her since she was six when she had sat on his lap and he had asked her mother to gift the girl to him.
    After taking a medical degree, Sushila returned to the ashram - and became his personal physician. Gandhi often slept in the same bed as her, but Sushila admitted that 'there was nothing special about sleeping next to Bapu . . . I used to sleep with him just as I would with my mother'.
    She elaborated: 'He might say: "My back aches, put some pressure on it." So I might put some pressure on it or lie down on his back and he might just go to sleep.' She confirmed that this was not part of the chastity experiment, but more of a natural cure.
    Despite the way it looked to other people, none of this seemed like self-indulgence to Gandhi, who followed each of his obsessions with the same religious ardour: He never spoke on Mondays, which were designated silent days.
    And he clung to his limited diet, too, even though it was taking a terrible toll on his physique and all his teeth were falling out. If he fell
    ill, he pushed himself to fast more - and insisted that his children and wife do the same, even when they were so weak they seemed on the point of death. In many ways it's astonishing that they all survived.

    [​IMG]

    Disgusted by his innate lust, Gandhi would try to distance himself from the women - but he was soon sleeping next to them again - and, what's more, blaming his surrender on them. 'I could not bear the tears of Sushila,' he said.
    In September 1938, to counter their criticism, he wrote a circular letter to all the girls explaining the innocent procedure that he implemented when he took a bath with Sushila.
    'While she is bathing, I keep my eyes tightly shut,' he maintained. 'I do not know the manner of her bathing, whether she bathes naked or with her underwear on. I can tell from the sound that she uses soap. I have seen no part of her body that everyone here will not have seen.'
    Incredibly, the long-suffering Kasturba seems to have taken all this in good part, though relations with his sons became more and more strained.
    Gandhi had long had an indifference to his children because they were the product of his despised sex life - and when they, in turn, became sexual beings themselves, he was revulsed.
    Understandably, they did not respond well - and his alcoholic eldest son went so far as to use brothels openly in order to humiliate his father.
    When Kasturba died in Gandhi's arms in 1944, following more than 60 years of married life, the old man was moved to even more extreme experiments of his form of chastity - which became a source of great concern to those who were looking to him for political guidance.
    'I deliberately want to become a eunuch mentally,' he explained to them - as he started sharing his bed with his friends' wives.
    At this point it seems that he might have resumed some of the more perverse sexual experiments he had tried with Kasturba, in which he deliberately put himself into increasingly arousing situations to prove mind over matter.
    Whenever anyone criticised him, he would defend himself saying that to give up his habits now would be to admit that his whole life had been a failure.

    As he reiterated again and again, there was no difficulty in an impotent man staying away from women - the trick was for one with powerful sexual urges to resist them.
    To make things even more tempting - and his self-control therefore that much more of a triumph - he took a much younger woman to his bed, spurning the faithful Sushila who was utterly distraught to find herself banished from his side.
    The new girl was Manu Gandhi, his great niece, who had been cared for by Kasturba when she lost her own mother.
    Gandhi wrote to Manu, saying his ambition for her was that she should remain a virgin till the end of her life.
    'We may both be killed by the Muslims at any time and must put our purity to the ultimate test so we know we should be offering the purest of sacrifices and so we should now both start sleeping naked.'
    He was sleeping with her in the nude - and the rather more reluctant Abha (who insisted on keeping her clothes on) - till the end. In fact, the devoted pair were walking either side of him when the assassin's bullet - fired by a Hindu - finally shot him dead.

    Source
     
  9. Sid

    Sid Regular Member

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    The article is very pro British. Though I am not an admirer of Gandhi,but there are some points in the articles which should be brought to light.

    1. According to the article, Lord Wavell arrested Gandhi because he was hindering the British action against the Japanese. The author has exceeded his limits that if Japan would have attached India, we would not have been able to resist and our fate would matched that of Filipinos.

    2. The situation, considered by the author is grossly hypothetical. In no way could anyone judge the response of Indians if Japanese would have attacked.

    3. Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose and his Azaad Hind Fauz was hand in hand with the Japanese. They would not have let the Japanese to treat the Indians in the same way the Filipinos were treated.
     
  10. Oracle

    Oracle New Member

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    Well yeah! But, I would prefer pro British articles, than having no insight at all. How many Indian writers have the guts to write candid truths?

    1. Not untrue. Japs have been almost barbarians prior to their atomic bombings.
    2. What would have Indians done? Apart from rebel Indians(as were termed by British), no one carried arms in those days, not even now.
    3. AHF would not have mattered much considering Japs were huge in terms of numbers and fire-power. And had Japs come out winners in WWII, NE India would have been Japanese territory, as well as Tibet and China.
     
  11. Sid

    Sid Regular Member

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    Yeah, but still I would say that the article speculates alot without proving anything.

    regarding Gandhi, his non-violence was a sham.

    Gandhi was a shrewd politician clad in saintly robes to fool the gullible Hindu masses.
     
  12. Oracle

    Oracle New Member

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    I agree with you. But then, look at this the other way. Had there been no speculation, would we have debated it here? Also I respect foreign writers a lot as they spend years researching before coming out with prints. Speculation about the Japs taking over NE might be a little far stretched, but then again it was WWII and he sure must have done some research on that. As about Bapu - I am sure the writer would not have made those claims, if he did not have any proof. Where there is smoke; there is fire. :)
     
  13. Sid

    Sid Regular Member

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    I agree with you, when I said the same thing on other defence forums, I almost got banned.

    Foreign writers are more acceptable to me. They are alot better than the Marxist Historians of JNU.
     
  14. SHASH2K2

    SHASH2K2 New Member

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    so what are the proofs we have for his claims. I read it that there are few letters as well to support his claims. hope more facts will come out in coming days.
     
  15. Oracle

    Oracle New Member

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    :confused: :confused:

    Yeah I too hope that. One thing is that foreign publications too would not publish rhetoric based on assumptions. They minutely scrutinize details before sending the manuscript to the printing press.
     
  16. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

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    This is pure garbage, the British should be glad a peaceful man like Gandhi was there at the time and a violent path wasn't taken to get them out.
     
  17. malluowl

    malluowl Regular Member

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    Its what the man did for his fellow human beings that matter, not what his personality was or his sexual orientation. The man left a legacy that even now is source of inspiration. Did you hear the Baharanis are taking a leaf out of his book in fighting their oppressors. That itself speaks volumes of the man's contribution to this planet.
     
  18. Oracle

    Oracle New Member

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    Violence as a way to gain freedom was adopted by a portion of Indians LF. I won't refute the claim, until someone noteworthy proves it otherwise.
     
  19. Oracle

    Oracle New Member

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    Even Martin Luther King respected him. It does not matter what his sexual preferences were, right. But have you read all the posts of this thread?
     
  20. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

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    one famous person was Subash Chandra Bose who forged alliances with The Germans and Japanese. Being peaceful only brought division and ongoing hostility maybe a Hindu-muslim alliance that thrashed the British would have changed history for the better??
     
  21. Oracle

    Oracle New Member

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    Can't say anything concrete LF. Those times were different, these times are also different.
     

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