The government of India has purchased a series of letters between Mahatma Gandhi, the revered spirtual and political leader that led India to independence from British rule, and Hermann Kallenbach, a German-Jewish architect who many believe was Gandhi's lover. The controversy first began to swirl when a book, “Great Soul: Mahatma Gandhi and His Struggle With India,” written by Pulitzer-Prize winning author by Joseph Lelyveld was published last year. In Lelyveld's account, Gandhi seems uniquely enamored with Kallenbach. A Wall Street Journal review of the book quotes some salacious passages:
"Your portrait (the only one) stands on my mantelpiece in my bedroom," he wrote to Kallenbach. "The mantelpiece is opposite to the bed." For some reason, cotton wool and Vaseline were "a constant reminder" of Kallenbach, which Mr. Lelyveld believes might relate to the enemas Gandhi gave himself, although there could be other, less generous, explanations.
Gandhi wrote to Kallenbach about "how completely you have taken possession of my body. This is slavery with a vengeance." Gandhi nicknamed himself "Upper House" and Kallenbach "Lower House," and he 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."
"Upper House" and "Lower House?" "How completely you have taken possession of my body?" Vaseline? Yup, that sounds like a sexual relationship to me. And, it seems, to the Indian government. Letters between Gandhi and Kallenbach were to be auctioned off, but the Indian government managed to purchase them first, and, one assumes, they will not be publicly disseminated.
India only decriminalized homosexuality in 2009. It would be quite a shock if the father of their nation was gay. But the evidence is hard to dispute.