Centre may ban book that says Gandhi is bisexual

Union Law Minister Veerappa Moily on Tuesday said the Centre was planning to ban the controversial book (Great Soul: Mahatma Gandhi and his struggle with India) by Pulitzer Prize-winning former editor of The New York Times Joseph Lelyveld that has quoted correspondence to suggest Mahatma Gandhi was bisexual.

"The government has taken a serious note of the book that has made disgraceful statement on the national leader. It is demeaning for the nation," he said when asked on the government's reaction to the book during his visit to Congress Bhavan in Pune.

Moily's statement came even as the Maharashtra government on Tuesday decided to approach the Union government seeking a ban on the book.

"The references made by the American author are not acceptable and the government will initiate steps to ensure that the book does not get published in Maharashtra. We will also request the Central government to initiate steps to ban the book which maligns Mahatma Gandhi's image," said Industries Minister Narayan Rane in Mumbai.

"The book has made statements that are unacceptable and it will not be tolerated," Rane said.

He was replying to a question in the Legislative Council by Congress MLC and state Congress chief Manikrao Thakre.

Thakre highlighted newspaper reports that the book had maligned the character of the Father of the Nation. Council chairman Shivajirao Deshmukh requested Rane to take a decision on the issue on behalf of the government.

The book Great Soul: Mahatma Gandhi and his struggle with India has allegedly referred to Gandhi as a bisexual, a racist and a man who loved the concept of humanity more than individual human beings.

Meanwhile, reacting to reports, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi too urged the Central government to ban the book.

"The apostle of truth, peace and non-violence has been represented in a perverted manner. I urge the Central government to ban its (book's) sale and publication,'" Modi told reporters in Gandhinagar.

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