Insightful newsletter of Drishtikone: Issue #261 - Gandhi, a Sexual Pervert?
When one reads Gandhi's own words and those close to him, it is difficult to even believe that such a perversity ever walked this land. Leave alone lead it and decide fates of several generations!
“A lie that is half-truth is the darkest of all lies.” ― Alfred Tennyson
Spirituality is a solitary path. No Guru, not even a God can help if you are not ready to transform within. Others, if they are willing, can help you as co-travelers, but they cannot transform you.
Those who use others as sacrifices in their own quest miss the entire point.
When you are working to embrace the real being that you are, the first casualty is any link to the physical.
But for those who cannot get away from the physical such that they get onto useless ego trips to declare their piety, then you can be assured that you are seeing the WWF equivalent of spirituality.
Meaningless, gamed, loud, boastful, tasteless, and utterly shameful display of ego.
Anyone who equates piety of the body with spiritual attainment is like a WWF fighter standing on the ropes and beating his chest to declare his power.
When it came to such a display, Gandhi was the Hulk Hogan of Spirituality.
Loud, relentlessly patronizing, hopelessly egotistical, and tastelessly overbearing. But worst of all, he was involved in predatory actions, which will not be tolerated in any aware society. Only private chambers in the Vatican or dark rooms of Ram Rahim Baba can match the perversity.
Basics of male sexuality
Male sexuality has been the biggest curse on this planet. Not only has it proliferated progeny at an unsustainable rate but even more importantly, made the female species to bear the burden of its overpowering nature.
Women walk around in burkha simply because men cannot handle their libido. So the woman should cover herself. By religious edict. “You tempt us - so cover up.” is the argument.
How does this male sexuality work?
Before we go into this discussion today let us get a couple of basic things in there so we can look at this whole discussion in its proper perspective.
The first is about sexuality and men. Erectile Dysfunction. The ability to have and sustain an erection. At age 70, 70% of men have mild to moderate ED. 15% have complete ED.
About 5 percent of men that are 40 years old have complete erectile dysfunction, and that number increases to about 15 percent of men at age 70. Mild and moderate erectile dysfunction affects approximately 10 percent of men per decade of life (i.e., 50 percent of men in their 50s, 60 percent of men in their 60s). (Source)
A man’s sexual functions comprise three components:
Interest and desire for sexual activity (libido)
The ability to obtain and maintain an erection
Ejaculation and climax (orgasm)
For the second to occur, the first is imperative.
Gandhi, as you will discover, was obsessed with not getting to the 2nd (erection) or even the 3rd stage (ejaculation) while working hard to create the first situation artificially and incestuously!
Now let us start the discussion on Gandhi and his sexual life to understand the man and his myth a bit better.
Who was Gandhi?
Many great men have had their own flaws and sometimes it is just not historically correct to start judging them by the morals or norms of today. However, there are surely some actions and standards that go above and beyond the times. Abuse, slavery, and mass killings are part of those things that no matter what the era was, people who stood by, encouraged, backed, justified, or facilitated them should be answerable at least in terms of their reputation.
Power is not always about weapons and money. Sometimes it is also about the sway the person or rather his reputation has over the masses. Sometimes it is hard to undo that and even fight it.
Gandhi’s reputation was such.
It was also built upon by those who were in a position to take advantage of it. The Nehrus, the British, the Birlas, and the Congress party in general. That is why even until the 1960’s Utpal Dutt, a legendary Indian actor was arrested in West Bengal for doing a play on the Royal Indian Naval mutiny. (How India got its independence - The Real Story) Why? Because that was the real reason for India’s independence from the British. The government in Bengal was of Congress Party and that party had a story to defend. That Gandhi got India its independence.
Some folks however knew the truth. Here is an extract from an article by Indian-American journalist Mayukh Sen in Vice. His grandfather was with Gandhi in jail. His sharing is quite insightful.
My maternal grandfather went to jail with Gandhi in 1933, so I grew up knowing this myth was cobbled together from half-truths. My grandfather took the lessons he'd learned in jail to begin an ashram in the bowels of West Bengal. As a consequence, my parents raised me with an intimate understanding of Gandhi that teetered between laudatory and critical. My family adored him, though we never really bought into the idea that he single-handedly orchestrated India's independence movement. This is to say nothing of Gandhi's bigotry, which we didn't touch in our household. In the decades since his assassination in 1948, the image of Gandhi has been constructed so carefully, scrubbed clean of its grimy details, that it's easy to forget that he predicated his rhetoric on anti-blackness, a vehement allergy to female sexuality, and a general unwillingness to help liberate the Dalit, or "untouchable," caste. (Source)
From 1944, Gandhi started a series of experiments in sexuality and his understanding of ‘spirituality’ to “test himself” and to help others who participated in these “experiments.” Three women were “regular” participants - grandnieces Abha and Manu and his personal physical Sushila Nayyar who had degrees from Lady Hardinge Medical College (LHMC) in Delhi and Masters from John Hopkins School of Public Health in the US.
At that time Gandhi, who was born in 1869 was 75 years old. An age where 70% of most men have moderate, if not complete, erectile dysfunction. These are those who are desirous of sex and physical intimacy. For most men, that stage is gone by then. So, it is interesting to note that at that age, his experiments in so-called spirituality centered around his erections while sleeping naked with his grandnieces.
His associates knew. In March 1947, one of Gandhi’s closest associates Nirmal Kumar Bose wrote to another associate - Kishorlal G. Mashruwala about Gandhi’s “experiments.”
“When I first learnt about Gandhi’s experiment in which a girl took off her clothes and lay under the same cover with him and he tried to find out if any sexual feeling was evoked in him or his companion, I felt genuinely surprised. Personally, I would not tempt myself like that and more than that, my respect for [women] would prevent me from treating her as an instrument in my experiment.” (Source)
Leaders like Vallabhai Patel, J. B. Kriplani, and Vinobha Bhave knew about this sexual affliction of Gandhi and confronted him as well.
Vallabhai Patel told Gandhi off to his face. He said what he was doing was ‘adharma’ (immoral). In a classic, egotistical way Gandhi retorted to Patel by telling Balkrishna Bhave “for me Manu sleeping with me is a matter of dharma (moral duty).” (Source)
He wrote to Vinoba Bhave about his “sleeping naked with Manu” - where he said, “My mind daily sleeps in an innocent manner with millions of women, and Manu also, who is a blood relation to me, sleeps with me as one these millions.”
One wonders if Gandhi, at that age, was having sexual fantasies with women he would meet? Because he seems to suggest that he was “in his mind” sleeping with millions of women, “innocently” of course, while actually sleeping naked with Manu. Manu (Mridula) Gandhi, called "Manuben", for the record, was a distant cousin niece, Abhaben Gandhi was the wife of Gandhi’s nephew Kanu Gandhi. Kanu had a Master’s from MIT and was a NASA and US DoD scientist.
Kanu Gandhi’s marriage to Abha - daughter of Amritlal Chatterjee (Gandhi follower) - was arranged by Kasturba (Gandhi’s wife) and took place in 1944.
This means that Abhaben, wife of Gandhi’s nephew was sleeping with her husband’s uncle after her marriage!
From which ungodly angle is this an “experiment”?
Gandhi’s sexual fantasies would bring many women to his bed. Susheela (India’s 1st Health Minister), Manu (his grand-niece), Abha (wife of his nephew, a NASA scientist), and also Bibi Amtussalam. Gandhi wrote how he regretted that he did not start his sexual experiments by having Amtussalam naked with him in bed first!
Manuben's diary entry dated February 24, 1947, at Haimchar, Bihar, states: "Today Bapu wrote a strong letter to Amtussalamben saying that the element of regret that his celibacy experiment didn't start with her was apparent in her letter to him." (Source)
This letter also showed how there was extreme jealousy amongst these women who slept nude with the 75-year-old Gandhi to help him in his so-called experiments. Here is one letter from Gandhi trying to calm Sushila, his physician, who was upset that Manu was sleeping with him and not her.
Is it only me or does this sound like the typical scenario of how women in a harem would behave when they are vying for attention when the only meaningful thing in their lives is to satisfy the sexual desires of a man?
So, while Gandhi was sleeping in nude with any woman who would allow herself to be denigrated in this fashion, was his ashram, a place of promiscuity?
Heck no! Even the married couples were not allowed to sleep together. Of course, in the case of Kanu, he could send his wife to sleep with Gandhi instead!
Gandhi had made an unwritten rule of celibacy for all the inhabitants of his ashram. Oddly, he would even make married couples take this vow because he believed that this was central to his philosophy of non-violence. Sexual stimulation of any sort, he preached, evoked violence in one’s thoughts and behaviour. He would tell them that even touching each other was unacceptable. He made the life of one of his own sons, whose wife got pregnant, absolutely hell, angry that they had had sex when he had forbidden them to! Yet he was free to do as he pleased. He was so confident that he wouldn’t be challenged. (Source)
Sick to the core with this kind of madness around him, Gandhi’s close confidant, his stenographer wrote a long letter to Gandhi while he left him. This is an extract of his letter (which he called “Letter of Indictment”) which is worth reading! (We have highlighted some parts in bold)
1 January 1947
I write these lines in sorrow and pain. You know how shy and unforward I have been these two years. You must imagine to what depths I must have been agitated then to overcome my shyness and become bold and that too with a man who is considered by many to be the greatest man living.
You must also ponder over the fact as to what it is that has made me bold and say things so boldly. It is because I feel I am so clearly in the right and you so clearly in the wrong. It is the cause that gives me the courage.
It is not that I did not know these before. I knew and kept quiet. I thought, “Why should I bring these to him?” There are men like Kanu [Gandhi], Kishorilal bhai [Mashruwala], etc., experienced men and men knowing you fully. And then I had not the courage. I have come over my shyness with you.
When [at] first I came to the ashram, I came with high respect for the ashram and its inmates and its way of life. All that was knocked off in 24 hours. After coming here I must confess to having lost a portion of the respect I had for you. You are the Father of our Nation. You have taken us so far along the path of freedom and independence. You must see the hand of God in the fact that I have overcome my shyness.
I object to your sleeping in the same bed with members of the opposite sex. In February 1945 or so, I was given the draft of a statement to type. I was shocked by the contents…I must tell you that even before I know of this. One day Amin-bhai came and told me that he was shocked to see Manu [Manu Gandhi — Gandhi’s own grand niece] getting into your bed.
In those days I was more shy than I am now. My only friend in the ashram was Amin. Even then I came to know of the discussions about this affair because the ashram people are so careless and can’t keep their mouth shut. Everybody objected to your doing this.
Apart from the question of any affect on you, what about the effect on girls?
There is something of other wrong with them [the women who sleep naked with Gandhi]. [The] Punjabi girl who lived opposite my room in Matunga. She used to weep unrestrainedly and that not caring whether others saw her or not. She laughed also unrestrainedly. And then here is Dr. Sushila-behn [the 24-year-old in-house physician at the ashram who Gandhi also used for his ‘experiments’]. How many are the days when she has not wept? She is a doctor and yet she is always a patient, always is ill. Who has heard of a doctor who cries out at night?
Even then the whole thing is considered wrong by the world. I do not like it. Nirmal babu [Bose] does not. Sucheta-behn [Kriplani] did not like it and said, “However great he may be, he cannot do such things. What is this?” You must admit that there is something in our objection. You cannot waive it aside.
As for blood relations [this is in reference to Manu Gandhi]. The world is sceptic even there. There have been cases of immorality between father and daughter, brother and sister.
I object to your having massage done by girls. When I was studying in college, I read a report saying you were being massaged by Dr. Sushila-behn. And now I find you do get yourself massaged by girls.
Those people who know that you are naked during massage time say that you could at least put a cover over it [his genitals].
The same objection I hold against girls coming to the bathroom when you go there. Ramachandran saw you like that and said you had fallen a little from his estimation. However great you may be, you cannot do these things.
Your placing your hands on shoulders of girls. You had written once that you gave up this practice because others intimated you with evil intention. I have not come across any other writing saying you could resume it. So it was strange to me why you resumed it. During the two years I have been with you, about 50 letters or so objecting to this practice from admirers and calumniators came. None of them got any reply.
Your being seen naked [during his bath and massage] jars on the mind of strangers, admirers though they might be. Ramachandran did not like it. He said it was the limit.
Ever since the 17th December , when in the small hours of the morning you made those dreadful sounds, dreadful because it came from you man of such eminence, even otherwise unbecoming for any wise or old man, my head has not been at peace. I have heard of another such instance from Mr. Ramachandran of the API [Associated Press of India] when you told Sushila-behn to leave you. I have seen such another instance at Delhi. But this event shook me to my depths. I said to myself that God and the nation would not forgive me if I kept quiet.
You commit Himalyan blunders. But you refuse to see these things and when told, you are irritated. I say you are conceited and constitute yourself to be the repository of all the wisdom in the world.
And now to my charges. Unless [my demands] are fulfilled, I [will] depart. I beg to differ and go away. Your actions to which I object:
1. Your sleeping with any member of the opposite sex.
2. Being massaged by any member of the opposite sex.
3. Allowing yourself to be seen naked by any member of the opposite sex.
4. Allowing yourself to be seen naked by strangers and even by people who are of your party who are not so intimate.
5. Placing your hands on the shoulders of girls when walking.
On January 2, 1947, Gandhi responded to Parasuram’s letter with, “I cannot concede your demands. Since such is my opinion and there is a conflict of ideals, you are at liberty to leave me today.” (Source)
This letter shows the pain that his victims had to go through. Sushila ben was a hysterical case where she would cry and laugh uncontrollably. She would cry herself to sleep in the nights!
Gandhi was not just sleeping naked with these women. He also got massages from them while he was naked and these women would join him in his bath naked.
Gandhi, however, in his magnanimity, did tell Parasuram that his regard for his “ability as a typist and shorthand writer remains undiminished.” That is all Gandhi saw of him.
Was Gandhi Gaslighting his victims?
Yes, we chose to call them “victims” for what he had done to them. But what is most fascinating is how he handled Manuben. In this letter he tells her how whatever he was doing to her was “solely for your good”. This he said she should “engrave in her heart.”
A very typical gaslighter’s tactic.
This was, however, after a letter, where he called her a “slovenly girl” while chiding her for having “received education but learnt no wisdom”. Strangely, while he was gaslighting her, he kept affirming that he did not “wish to point out your faults.”
And when Manu wanted to come over to him, Gandhi pushed her back. “Come only if you wish to take up some work here,” he said.
Take up some work. As opposed to? Sleeping with him?!!
This push back is often a tactic that is used by gaslighters while they are pulling their victims into their web.
When Gandhi died, the thought that hit Manuben the most was the access to Gandhi’s body. That, his body, which was there was no longer available.
Manuben writes the next day: "While the flames on the funeral pyre were consuming Bapu's body, I felt like sitting till well after the funeral was over. Sardar Patel comforted me and took me to his home. It was just unimaginable for me. Bapu was there two days ago, yesterday at least his body was there and today I am all alone. I am totally distraught." The next and last entry in the diary is on February 21, 1948, when she left for Mahuva near Bhavnagar from Delhi by train. It says: "Today I left Delhi." In Last Glimpses of Bapu, one of five books Manuben wrote after Gandhi's death, she notes: "Kaka (Gandhi's youngest son Devdas) warned me not to disclose the contents of my diary to anyone and at the same time forbade me to divulge the contents of the important letters? He said, 'You are very young but you possess a lot of valuable literature. And you are also unsophisticated.'" (Source)
What these women wrote, like Manuben, in their diaries were to be kept a secret. The legend around Gandhi was to be carefully crafted.
Runanubandha - the web of energy
Physical intimacy in the traditional yogic and Dharmic traditions is not scorned because of some “sin” (unlike Abrahamic faiths), but because of what it does to one’s well-being. Physical touch and specifically sexual intimacy add to a body’s memory. These impact in terms of how a person behaves - “When physical memory overlaps, it causes a physical level of confusion, which will bring a certain level of discomfort, lack of exuberance and involvement with anything around you.” (Source) You can understand more about the Runanubandha in this video.
If one reads Gandhi’s letters on the web, there is one consistent theme in some of them. Insomnia. He would find it hard to even go off to sleep. Despite being exhausted.
This is so uncharacteristic of a person who is on a spiritual path and doing sadhana and so typical of one who has issues with his body and mind. Those who have a disturbed mind find it hardest to sleep. Gandhi had these bouts of insomnia when even chants of the name of Ram wouldn’t help him to sleep!
One is not sure whether this happened more often during the times that the women companions were not around in the bed?
So when we discuss Gandhi, we should remember that he was at best a sexual pervert. For this generation's laws, he would have been in jail for being a sexual predator!
… and his incestuous son
And, we haven’t yet discussed how Gandhi's own son was raping his daughter. When Gandhi came to know of the incestuous rape, he wrote a letter of anger and disapproval - a slap on the hand - and left it at that. (Mahatma Gandhi's Letter Accusing Son of Raping His Own Daughter Up for Auction in UK) In any normal and civilized family and society, such a man should have been behind the bars. No such thing in India for those associated with Gandhi however. Just like the double standards of his ashram.
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