Posted on March 29, 2011 at 6:49 am

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Gandhi was Gay? What?

The second you read the subject matter of certain books, you can tell than an angry mob – or at the very least some uproar – will follow.  Such is the case for the latest biography on Gandhi titled, “Great Soul: Mahatma Gandhi and his Struggle with India.”

In the book, NY Times Pulitzer-Prize winning author, Joseph Lelyveld, accuses Mahatma Gandhi of being bisexual (or even just gay) and spins the details of his relationship with a supposed male lover.

In the book, Lelyveld states that Mahatma Gandhi was in love with a German-Jewish architect / bodybuilder named Hermann Kallenbach.

He has quoted written correspondence to point a finger at Gandhiji‘s sexuality citing a supposed letter that the Mahatma wrote to Kallenbach reportedly writing: “about ‘how completely you have taken possession of my body…this is slavery with a vengeance’.”  Lelyveld goes on to claim that “Gandhi nicknamed himself ‘Upper House’ and Kallenbach ‘Lower House’, and… “made Lower House promise not to ‘look lustfully upon any woman’. The two then pledged ‘more love, and yet more love… such love as they hope the world has not yet seen’.” (Lelyveld in “Great Soul: Mahatma Gandhi and his struggle with India.”)

We at Urban Asian are not sure how true or how extensively researched this book is, but since Lelyveld is writing on perhaps one of the most famous Indian figures in the world, we felt we should share this news with you.

What do you all think?  Was Gandhiji gay or bisexual or is Lelyveld needlessly stirring up controversy to promote his book?  Even if it turns out Gandhiji was gay or bisexual, do you think it even matters?

Personally, I have never been tempted to judge someone based on sexuality, race, etc. but I do judge based on morality and character.  So, from my perspective, it doesn’t change the opinion we should have of the Mahatma.  Voice your opinion below and let us know your thoughts.

Mahatma Gandhi & Kallenbach (courtesy of