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Indian State Bans Book Suggesting Gandhi was Gay

Over the weekend, Steve posted about Joseph Lelyveld's new biography of Mahatma Gandhi titled, Great Soul, in which Lelyveld suggests that Gandhi left his wife in 1908 for a German-Jewish architect and bodybuilder, Hermann Kallenbach.

Gandhi Now, an Indian state has banned the book, and more may follow:

A state in western India banned Pulitzer-Prize winning author Joseph Lelyveld's new book about Mahatma Gandhi on Wednesday after reviews saying it hints that the father of India's independence had a homosexual relationship.

More bans have been proposed in India, where homosexuality was illegal until 2009 and still carries social stigma.

Gujarat's state assembly voted unanimously Wednesday to immediately ban "Great Soul: Mahatma Gandhi and His Struggle With India."

The book has not yet been released there.

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  1. So much for India being the World's largest democracy...

    Posted by: Ted B. (Charging Rhino) | Mar 30, 2011 12:50:36 PM

  2. Gandhi is very much a protected figure in India, Truth or possibility be damned, they wont allow any slander.

    Unfortunately people need to learn that being gay/bi isnt bad and isnt slander.

    Posted by: Fenrox | Mar 30, 2011 1:16:23 PM

  3. FYI :
    Narendra Modi, the Chief-Minister(Governor) of the state of Gujarat is from the BJP party, a right-wing, religio-fanatical hindu-supremacy-toting party. They're like the republican party in the US.

    It comes as no surprise to me that he and his party are banning the book.

    eitherways, I think there is no "evidence" that Gandhi had a homosexual relationship. It is just press-bait to drum up sales of the book.

    I think people should get their heads out of their asses and realize when they are being played by the media.

    Posted by: suede | Mar 30, 2011 2:12:57 PM

  4. People often look really stupid when they try to explain foreign politics in US terms.

    So, BJP is a right-wing, religio-fanatical hindu-supremacy-toting party. Just like the GOP. Right! I vividly remember when a book claiming that the great Republican president Lincoln was gay was published six years ago Republican politicians were falling over each other in the rush to ban it. Back then they controlled Senate, House, and the White House. I cannot figure out how I managed to get this book despite all that.

    Posted by: AG | Mar 30, 2011 3:58:46 PM

  5. It is definitely the media--most of whom haven't read the book--that is playing up the gay/bisexual (and racist, too) angle. I heard the author of the book interviewed, and he made it a point that he's not suggesting Gandhi was gay/bisexual but rather that he had an intimate (not necessarily sexual--though they did lots of body rituals together so . . . ?) and very important relationship with Kallenbach. His tone was nothing like the inflammatory response. I'm sure the attention will help sales of the book, but it's stupidly reductive, which means of course that the right-wing religious types will want to talk about nothing else.

    Posted by: Ernie | Mar 30, 2011 4:51:46 PM

  6. Of course they did. Gandhi is to India what Ataturk is to Turkey, and any perceived "slander" against him is going to be quashed in the name of national dignity.

    Posted by: Paul R | Mar 30, 2011 5:13:30 PM

  7. thanks...nice news.

    Posted by: ibrahim Bradarvar | Mar 31, 2011 11:32:50 AM

  8. Ernie, might you tell Towleroad readers where/how we could access the interview you mentioned.

    Posted by: Bryce | Mar 31, 2011 12:18:59 PM

  9. When homophobes realize they can't handle the reality that not everyone is heterosexual, they try to shove anything non-straight out of sight and mind to not have to question there own ideas and insecurities.

    Posted by: Francis | Mar 31, 2011 12:37:49 PM

  10. gandi did nothing all he wanted was fame

    Posted by: M singh | Apr 1, 2011 4:03:40 PM

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