In the final part of this series on Gandhi, we shall focus on his not-so personal life and understand what all went behind the closed curtains. Before delving into the part where he practiced intimate physical experiments, we shall understand the complex and confused actions which were undertaken under his leadership, the repercussions of which we all still suffer from. Gandhi’s systematic attempts to obliterate the identity of other freedom fighters and revolutionaries to ensure his and Nehru’s continued political hegemony, shouldn’t go unnoticed. What Gandhi did to S.C. Bose and Shaheed Bhagat Singh shouldn’t come as a shocker to many and can be understood from the below mentioned incidents’;
When Netaji was chosen as the president of Congress against Gandhi’s wishes, the then Viceroy with the help of Kriplani sent a file to Gandhi mentioning how Bose is readying a force of volunteers against Britishers and that’s why Bose shouldn’t be elected as the president of the Congress. Though, Bose was elected and he became the president, however, Gandhi due to some hidden agenda and covert motives didn’t let him function. Circumstances were created,forcing Bose to resign, post his resignation, Bose was arrested but he managed to escape. It is pertinent to note that Gandhi suffered humiliating defeat, at the hands of Subhash Chandra Bose in the Congress Presidential elections, when his close aid Pattabhi Sitaramayya, lost against Bose in 1939. This despite, Gandhi’s followers/sponsors had spent huge amount of money on their campaign as compared to Netaji.
Had Gandhi wished and acted proactively, he could have saved his fellow freedom fighters from the gallows; But he didn’t, why? Probably, so that he could remain in the spotlight and continue to be the symbolic head of India’s freedom struggle.The unfortunate hanging of Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev was one such incident. Had Gandhi wanted, he could have fought for their release, especially considering the fact that he wielded such great political influence within the then British circles. Was it because doing so could jeopardize his future political ambitions? Nonetheless, his political popularity could be gauged by the fact that he was shown Black flags and rightly greeted with the slogans of “Down with Gandhi” when he went to attend the Karachi Congress session after their unfortunate execution.
Will it be wrong to say that Gandhi and Nehru were in cahoots with the Britishers? Frequent communication on the lines of electing New India’s PM happened between the involved parties, prove the same. This was unfortunate, when Nehru was made the PM of India on the behest of Gandhi and the able Sardar Patel Ji was overlooked as the worthy candidate for being the next PM of India.
This and numerous other examples go on to prove that the actual agenda of Gandhiji was probably in variance with that known to the public but wasn’t highlighted.
There has been lot of speculation regarding his relations with females, especially young girls and it is said that Gandhi created an unusual and an uncomfortable relationship with them. He often kept pairs of young girls to address his basic daily needs and referred to them as, “Walking sticks”, as mentioned by Jad Adams in his book, Gandhi: Naked ambitions.
An incident changed his thoughts on having physical intimacy with women, i.e. whilst his father passed away, Gandhi was enjoying conjugal bliss with his wife. This made Gandhi decide that he won’t be able to fulfill his duty towards his motherland while he was so pre-occupied with lust; hence he took a vow for chastity. Though, his intention was good but same cannot be said the way it translated in real life. Gandhi’s brahmacharya didn’t turn out the way it usually does for people, it is said that in order to test his steely resolve, he started sleeping with young girls. What happened thereafter won’t be considered normal or acceptable in any society because to be honest, it was in variance with the societal norms.
He had set up ashrams where he conducted his experiments, where boys and girls were to bath together, sleep together. But they were to maintain chastity, they would be punished if there were any sexual talks. The rules of ashram had forbidden married couples living in the ashram to sleep together, and Gandhi had advised that the husbands should not be alone with their wives. When they felt passion, they should take a cold bath, he had further advised.
With the passage of time, Gandhi wanted to challenge himself further and what began as a sleeping arrangement gradually turned into experiments. This was his method of attaining the nirvana state of perfect Brahamacharya, to maintain abstinence while sleeping next to attractive young women without cloths. Apart from Sushila, his grandnieces Abha and Manu were his regular sleeping companions, along with other women in his Ashram.
As Gandhi grew older, the number of women surrounding him in Ashram had increased, particularly after the death of his wife Kasturba, after Gandhi denied her treatment by western medicine. More number of women were obliged to sleep with him to test his control over libido, the women who were not allowed to sleep with their own husband in the Ashram.
Gandhi in a letter written to his ashram manager Munnalal Shah, mentioned that, “Abha slept with me for hardly three nights. Kanchan slept one night only. Vinas sleeping with me might be called an accident. All that can be said is that she slept close to me.” It may be noted that Kanchan was Munnalal’s wife, while Abha was the wife of Gandhi’s grandnephew Kanu Gandhi.
Further he wrote, “what Abha and Kanchan told me was this; that she had no intention whatever of observing brahmacharya, but wished to enjoy the pleasure of sex. She, therefore, stayed very reluctantly and undressed only for fear of hurting me. If I remembered rightly, she was not with me for even an hour. I then stopped both the women from sleeping with me, for I realised that Kanu and you were upset.” Gandhi then added that these three women were excluded from the experiment.
There was a very disturbing experiment carried out at Gandhi’s ashrams, unfortunately not limited to him but now had started impacting young boys and girls. His belief to test his own chastity resulted in some weird and problematic experiments. In normal circumstances, husband and wife weren’t allowed to sleep together, but in these experiments as mentioned in Adam’s book, he allowed the young girls and boys to bathe and then sleep together, where he acted as the watch-dog. He said, “I sent the boys reputed to be mischievous and the innocent young girls to bathe at the same time.”Now under the experiment, if any of the boys or girls succumbed to the temptation, they would be punished. Unfortunately, here the girls suffered harsher punishment, where their hair would be chopped off.
There were numerous relationships he had with other ladies, despite him being married to Kasturba Gandhi. There was a lady Madeleine Slade, who was the daughter of a British admiral and had left her home to join Gandhi to be a part of his initiatives. The two shared an unusual relationship, wherein both were inseparable and kept regular communication via intimate letters that many said were like love letters.
Gandhi wasn’t someone who shall be looked upon as an ideal husband or one who maintained marital harmony, rather he depicted shades of misogyny and unfortunately his wife became his favorite punching bag. Though he vowed to adopt chastity and follow the path of spirituality, unfortunately this didn’t pan out the way it was intended to be (apparently). He didn’t show or treat her with the respect she deserved, let alone as his wife but also as a lady. He passed some unsavory comments about her like, “I simply cannot bear to look at Ba’s face. The expression is often like that on the face of a meek cow and gives one the feeling as a cow occasionally does, that in her own dumb manner she is saying something.”
Gandhi practiced celibacy to fulfill his own goals, but unfortunately he forced his ways and practices upon others, this wasn’t and still isn’t acceptable in any which way. Adopting your life choices as per your taste is fine, but forcing them upon others, isn’t the norm and shouldn’t be either. He not only practiced celibacy, but also justified poverty and fasting, which might have been good for fulfilling his political ambitions but he made his family, most importantly his wife, a scapegoat in all of it. This sadly took a toll on her, especially poverty, which resulted in her health facing deterioration. In the year 1944, when she was down with pneumonia (which wasn’t an incurable disease aided with timely medical intervention), Gandhi yet again imposed his choices and didn’t allow her to be injected with an ‘alien medicine’, i.e. penicillin. This resulted in her tragic death. How fair this was on his behalf is a questionable debate, considering the fact that all his lifestyle choices vanished into thin air when he himself was down with malaria and got injected with quinine.
Did he believe that his life was precious than that of his wife? Why this partiality of interests? How does a Mahatma, have different set of rules for himself and different for others? These and many other questions need to be answered.
It is high time that this anti-India narrative propagated by the leftists and pseudo-seculars to protect Gandhi and projecting his image as an all good doer, be called out. Right now when Hindus have started uniting and are raising their voice against the historical wrong-doings, the Government too shall come out in support of the nationalists and change the set false narrative to the right course. This calls for setting the course of history right and giving the actual freedom fighters their long-due respect and recognition.
This is the time when the Hindus shall unite and make the future generations realize who their real idols were and let them decide the future course of Bharat’s journey.