New biography says Gandhi had Jewish gay lover

"Great Soul" says Indian leader was in love with weight lifter Hermann Kallenback, called blacks "as a rule, uncivilized."

March 28, 2011 12:25
1 minute read.
Mahatma Gandhi

mahatma gandhi 311. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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A new biography of Mahatma Gandhi suggests that the Indian leader was a cruel racist with a Jewish gay lover.

A Wall Street Journal review of Great Soul, a new biography of Gandhi, says the book "gives readers more than enough information to discern that he was a sexual weirdo, a political incompetent and a fanatical faddist—one who was often downright cruel to those around him," adding that Gandhi "profess[ed] his love for ­mankind as a concept while actually ­despising people as individuals."

According to the biography, written by former New York Times executive editor Joseph Lelyveld, Gandhi was in love with a Jewish architect and weight-lifter from Germany named Hermann Kallenbach, and even left his wife to be with Kallenbach in 1908. The two met while Gandhi was banished to South Africa, and were separated in 1914, when he returned to India and Kallenbach was not allowed in due to World War I.

Gandhi wrote to Kallenbach: "How completely thou have taken possession of my body. This is slavery with a vengeance." In a letter to Kallenbach, he promised not to "look lustfully upon any woman," and pledged "such love as...the world has not yet seen."

Lelyveld also claims that Gandhi had racist views of the blacks in South Africa, complaining that they are "as a rule uncivilized."

"We were marched off to a prison intended for [blacks]," he wrote. "We could understand not being classed with whites, but to be placed on the same level as the Natives seemed too much to put up with."

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