New book suggests Gandhi was gay

Thu. March 31, 2011 2:26 PM by News Staff

gandhi, his secretary sonia schlesin, and hermann kallenbach

photo credit //
Mumbai, India - Pulitzer prize-winning author Joseph Lelyveld is getting a lot of heat for suggesting that Mahatma Gandhi was gay in his new book, "Great Soul: Mahatma Gandhi and His Struggle With India."

The book, released this week in the United States, talks about Gandhi's relationship with German-Jewish architect and bodybuilder Hermann Kallenbach.

The Wall Street Journal said that Lelyveld quotes this from a letter Gandhi wrote to Kallenbach: "How completely you have taken possession of my body. This is slavery with a vengeance."

Lelyveld writes that Gandhi left his wife in 1908 to be with Kallenbach. They lived together for a time, and they called each other "soulmates."

Some of Gandhi's relatives are not convinced.

"I wouldn't put it past any American writer to not be able to understand relationships without adding a sexual connotation," great-grandson Tushar Gandhi told The Mail Today. " These western writers have a morbid fascination for Gandhi's sexuality."

Kallenbach was a wealthy man who donated a thousand acre farm near Johannesburg to Gandhi.

Lelyveld is a former executive editor of the New York Times.