Gandhi racist and bisexual? (was Rajiv Malhotra and the Infinity Foundation)

Dominik Wujastyk wujastyk at GMAIL.COM
Mon Apr 4 10:16:14 UTC 2011

It is standard good practice in email forums to record when the subject of a
discussion moves on from one topic to another.  Someone posting a new
message may update the Subject: line to reflect this change.   A common way
to do it is to change

Subject: Old topic
Subject: New topic (was Old topic)

That's what has happened here.

Dominik Wujastyk
for the INDOLOGY Committee.

On 4 April 2011 11:07, Veeranarayana Pandurangi <veerankp at> wrote:

> I do not understand the title of message which clubbed gandhi and malhotra.
> is it a mistake or some message is hidden?
> On Tue, Mar 29, 2011 at 9:13 PM, Ashok Aklujkar <ashok.aklujkar at>wrote:
>> On 2011-03-29, at 1:25 AM, franco at RZ.UNI-LEIPZIG.DE wrote:
>> > A new biography of Gandhi (extracts in the Wall Street Journal)
>> describes him as a racist and bisexual.
>> Compare:
>> 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 prizewinner 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."
> --
> Veeranarayana N.K. Pandurangi
> Head, Dept of Darshanas,
> Yoganandacharya Bhavan,
> Jagadguru Ramanandacharya Rajasthan Samskrita University, Madau, post
> Bhankrota, Jaipur, 302026.
> अथ चेत्त्वमिमं धर्म्यं संग्रामं न करिष्यसि।
> ततः स्वधर्मं कीर्तिं च हित्वा पापमवाप्स्यसि।।
> तस्मादुत्तिष्ठ कौन्तेय युद्धाय कृतनिश्चयः।
> निराशीर्निर्ममो भूत्वा युध्यस्व विगतज्वरः।। (भ.गी.)

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