“This is the most un-Gandhian thing to do,” said Tushar Gandhi, the great-grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, reacting to the Maharashtra government’s “knee-jerk” reaction to propose a ban on a new biography of Gandhi, The Great Soul: Mahatma Gandhi And His Struggle With India.
“I will definitely take legal opinion on this. This culture of banning and burning has to be opposed. Bapu never accepted this kind of state censorship. He never shut out his critics. Instead he welcomed them to a public debate,” said Tushar, adding that this was probably the first instance of a book being banned based on its reviews.
Reviews of the book have alleged that author Joseph Lelyveld labelled Gandhi bisexual and may have been involved in a relationship with a German-Jew, Hermann Kllenbach. Lelyveld has denied the allegation.
Tushar said people should be free to read the book.
“Bapu’s life was transparent and can stand scrutiny. Why use official draconian laws to curtail opposing opinion?” asked Tushar.
Tushar said he never heard of any mention of Bapu being bisexual.
“If you read many of his letters to his near and dear ones, he many a times asks them why he hasn’t received a ‘love letter’ from them. That’s the way he communicated. He shared his love with everyone and love is not always sexual.”
Stating that westerners often misunderstand Gandhi, Tushar said according to western notions, 75% of Indian men are gay as they hold hands.
“Bapu conducted his Brahmacharya (celibacy) experiment in public. Why would he hide something of this nature?”