- Congress backs Priyanka Gandhi as she hits out at opposition for 'targeting Robert Vadra without proof'
- Elections 2014 LIVE: Cong gave birth to child but killed the mother, says Modi on Telangana
- Would prefer to go to Pakistan than stop criticising Narendra Modi: Omar Abdullah
- IPL spot fixing: Do you want to probe charges against Srinivasan? SC asks Justice Mudgal panel
- Hate speeches: Petty statements by those claiming to be BJP well wishers deviating poll campaign, says Modi
The new Gandhi book, Great Soul: Mahatma Gandhi and His Struggle With India, is struggling with India before it has even been read here. Former New York Times executive editor Joseph Lelyveld's biography of Gandhi has predictably been reviled and banned, based on a clutch of initial reviews that highlighted a few racy bits about Gandhi's possibly sexual affection for a young Jewish architect Hermann Kallenbach, and his less-than-immediate solidarity with blacks in South Africa. These are only fleeting mentions in the book, as many reviewers acknowledge, and are intended to humanise the Mahatma, rather than detracting from his tremendous achievements — but that hasn't stopped the flood of self-righteous fury in India. Maharashtra and Gujarat, the most easily excitable states, were the first to announce the ban, but Union Law Minister Veerappa Moily has assured the public that the Centre is also considering a ban.
This furore is depressingly predictable. Partly, it is because we prefer nationalist history to sound like a bedtime story of the good and the bad, and no one is so unambiguously good as Gandhi. Then again, in a country where Article 377 that criminalised homosexuality has only recently been struck down, sexuality is not a matter of airy speculation. When the suggestion is made of the sainted Gandhi, some controversy was only to be expected. However, Gandhi did not abide by these limits. His letters and conversations reveal him as consumed with the idea of bodily discipline, matters of diet, hygiene and sexuality — he truly experimented with these ideas, rather than accepting the givens of his culture, even if he returned to an idealised vegetarianism and chastity. It's a pity that those who are so protective of his halo now do not possess that capacity to think for themselves.
- Five months after gruesome ATM attack, accused still at large
- Ex-syndicate member of Bangalore University held in marks-for-cash scam
- Accused get bail as police fail to file chargesheet
- ‘Naxals collected info on trucks carrying explosives from Khadki to Ahmednagar’
- A tale of two villages: Ramayan and Mahabharat
- UP CM tears into Modi bastion on first visit to Gujarat, says Third Front ready