Controversial author, Hagiographer Joseph Lelyveld has maligned Mahatma Gandhi in his new Book: “Great Soul: Mahatma Gandhi and His Struggle with India“. So, This book has been banned in India.
Mohandas Gandhi, the great soul, father of nation, took India towards freedom from the clutches of British Empire. Along with his magnanimous life mentioned in biography and philosophy, few of his thoughts are caught into critics. He is assassinated by maverick Hindu chauvinist. He surrendered blaming; Gandhi allowed and helped Partition of India, ignoring the fact of violence and genocide. This author has blindly ignored the fact that when India was celebrating the independence in mid night of 15 August, 1947, Mahatama Gandhi was trying to stop the Hindu-Muslim violence, to create a peace among two religions.
Few more controversial views mentioned by Lelyveld and my counter views here below.
- Gandhi and Ambedkar: His thoughts were different from B.R.Ambedkar, who spoke for 55 million untouchables. He named ‘Harijan’ to untouchables. But later decades all people refused this name from him. Ambedkar called Gandhi as ‘devious an untrustworthy’
- Gandhi and Hitler: Gandhi tried to advise jews and Czechs to adopt non-violence towards Nazis. Gandhi said, ‘a single Jew standing upand refusing to bow to Hitler’s decrees.. to melt Hitler’s heart.’ He wrote a letter to Hitler saying,’My Friend, Will you listen to the appeal of one who has deliberately shunned the method of war not without considerable success?’ The lined seemed egotistic to author Lelyveld. As per me, this shows more confidence in his values and philosophy than egotism.
- Racist thoughts: Lelyveld says, Gandhi fought civil-rights movement in blacks in South Africa, but he was much racist in his thoughts. “We could understand not being classed with whites, but to be placed on the same level as the -Natives seemed too much to put up with. Kaffirs are as a rule uncivilized—the convicts even more so. They are troublesome, very dirty and live like animals.”, said by Gandhi while in this movement. From the letter written by Gandhi to South Africa’s provinces, his words show much vengeance towards African whites. Gandhi wrote “the Indian is being dragged down to the position of the raw Kaffir,whose occupation is hunting and whose sole ambition is to collect a number of cattle to buy a wife, and then pass his life in indolence and nakedness. We believe as much in the purity of races as we think they do.”
- Gandhi has refused his son Manilal to marry –Fatima Gool, a Muslim.
- His thoughts about bramhacharya and sex were weired. He tried to do experiments with his thought about sexuality. As per the author Lelyveld’s details. When Gandhi was in his 70s and close to independence, he encouraged 17-year old niece, Manu to be naked during her ‘nighty cuddles’ with him. In his spiritual quest, he stared sleeping naked with young women. He was trying to refrain from sex, and trying to test the patience and perseverance. Gandhi’s personal stenographer R. P. Parasuram, resigned when he saw Gandhi sleeping naked with Manu in Sabaramati Ashram. Gandhi insisted that he never felt aroused while he slept beside her, or with Sushila Nayar or Abha. “I am sorry” Gandhi said to Parasuram, “you are at liberty to leave me today.” During the old age days, he used women as his walking sticks. More clear and true information can be read in his book or other references. The explanation by author is childish and trying to revoke and condemn Gandhian thoughts. He has forgotten the respectful place for women in mind of Gandhi. Gandhi has sacrificed his person life for the sake of nation.
- Bisexuality: Mr. Lelvyeld bluntly cleared that Gandhi had expressed his love for Jewish Architecht and body builder, Mermann Kallnbach in 1908. He left his wife Kasturba for him. Gandhi said to Mermann , ‘Your only portrait stands on my mantelpiece in my bedroom, the mantelpiece is opposite to the bed.’ Lelvyeld has called bi-sexual. This is ridiculous ! Author further says, after returning back to Indian and living in Sabaramati Ashram, he remained sexually aroused along with women. It is a complete defamation of Gandhi, with no unclear, baseless thoughts. Book has been banned in India.
- Non-violence: Gandhi started his fasts in non-co operation movement, but Fasting is one self violence, killing the human cells without food. In Lelyveld’s words, ‘the worst form of coercion, which militates against the fundamental principles of non-violence.’ This fact looks very funny.. I feel pity for this author.
- In 1932, Gandhi started fast to prevent reserved seat for untouchables in future saying ‘a religious, not a political question. The abolition of untouchability would not entail caste Hindus having to dine with former Untouchables.’
Gandhi has invented revolutionary principles to fight for independence. ‘Non-violence’, ‘Truth’ were the basic principles. Gandhian philosophy has changed the face of twentieth century. Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela has turned towards Gandhian thoughts and became successful in their movement against racism. He was a role model to American civil right movements. Philosophy and leadership of Barack Obama is based on Gandhan thoughts. He had taken inspiration from Mahatma Gandhi. As Gandhi has been considered the most influential human being in twentieth century.
This author has written big critical issues catching the words by Gandhi. He has humiliated the great soul. This book has been banned in India, irrespective of his Pulitzer prize. I hoped it has to be banned everywhere. I request amazon to stop shipping of this book.