I didn't know that Ghandi, while he was a lawyer in South Africa, left his wife to live with a guy in Johannesburg. The guy was Hermann Kallenbach, a German-Jewish architect.
Pulitzer Prize–winning author Joseph Lelyveld writes in his biography of Ghandi, “Great Soul: Mahatma Gandhi and His Struggle With India,"
“... It was no secret then, or later, that Gandhi, leaving his wife behind, had gone to live with a man."
Check out this article in the New York Times about the uproar going on in India about this book and how it is being banned.
Homophobic things are being said on many sides of the world, including in this country. The Wall Street Journal's review said in it's first paragraph:
""Great Soul" also obligingly gives readers more than enough information to discern that he [Ghandi] was a sexual weirdo, a political incompetent and a fanatical faddist—one who was often downright cruel to those around him"(Note to Andrew Roberts, who wrote that review: Being bisexual does not make someone a sexual "weirdo.")
Evidently, the whole idea of this idol of civil disobedience, peaceful protest, and India's transformation into an independent nation being in any way queer is so disturbing that rather than read and discuss the lingering homophobia in the culture, the powers that be would rather ban the book and keep the "dangerous" information away from the public.
Again, from the New York Times:
"India’s law minister, M. Veerappa Moily, said on Tuesday that “the book denigrates the national pride and leadership,” which he said could not be tolerated. Officials “will consider prohibiting the book,” he added."
The author of the biography writes in this interview in The Times Of India that he personally believes Ghandi and Kallenbach were celibate - in an apologetic tone, as if that would make Ghandi's love for another man somehow 'less gay' - but still says quite clearly:
"I think my discussion of Gandhi's letters to Kallenbach â€” which have been in the public domain for nearly 20 years â€” shows very clearly that Gandhi had a deep love for his Jewish friend and wanted him by his side for the rest of his life. He says as much."
And yet, with all the noise about banning this book, and, whatever Ghandi and Kallenbach did or did not do in the privacy of their own home, I have to say:
Ghandi loving a man makes me kind of ridiculously happy.
Ghandi's first name was Mohandas.
Mohandas Ghandi than I'm used to seeing
And here's a photo I found of the two men together:
"Gandhi mit seiner Sekretärin Sonia Schlesin
und Dr. Hermann Kallenbach kurz vor dem
historischen Marsch von Natal nach Transvaal,
1913," from which I gather it is Gandhi on the left,
his secretary Sonia Schlesin in the middle, and
seated on the right is Hermann Kallenbach.
The picture is from 1913.
Mohandas and Hermann, a lawyer and architect, living together in the largest city of South Africa, and... in love.
Ghandi's always been one of my heroes. And now I discover, he's a queer one.
*Delightedly adding another book to my To Be Read pile*