Gandhi is in news again, but for wrong reasons! The Pulitzer-winning writer Joseph Lelyveld’s new book, “Great Soul: Mahatma Gandhi and His struggle With India”, allegedly hints that Gandhi was a racist and bisexual. Two State governments (Maharashtra & Gujarat) have already banned the book. Very difficult to prove! His friendship with Hermann Kallenbach was deep and few historians referred to them ‘as a couple’. This kind of ‘categorical’ statement is not well appreciated in India, as Gandhi is a symbol of the ‘right way’ to lead one’s life. Nevertheless, Gandhi’s correspondence with Kallenbach provides a fascinating glimpse into the deep mutual respect they had for each other and how they had affected each others thoughts and ideas.
Gandhi has always meant different things to different people – in his lifetime as well as after. Most have misused or misquoted him to suit their convenience! The need of the hour, during his times, was industrialization within our country; so, he did preach that we should use products made in India. But, today the means to survive and flourish is through Globalization and many use Gandhi’s ‘Made in India’ slogan wrongly to oppose globalization thereby hindering progress. So, it does not matter what or how people interpret his ‘life’ that was more or less like a state of sainthood. Of course, whether he was bisexual or racist – most of us do believe he led a ‘straight’ life! But, Gandhi has remained unique till today – part mystery and part alien!