Gandhi using his supporters, Manu and Abha, as his walking sticks.
It is well known that Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, the most trusted and the most loyal stooge of the British crown, served the British interest through his Satyagraha or the nonviolent freedom struggle. But most of the people of this country, who take him to be a man of high moral, do not know what short vile lechery he indulged in in the name of keeping Brahmacharys or celibacy, or in experimenting with the same. In 1903, when he was only 34 years old ( alternatively in 1906, when he was 37), or in other words, when he was at the zenith of his youth, he took a vow that he will observe celibacy and will remain a brahmachari for the rest of his life (D Keer, Mahatma Gandhi, pp-73)..
But the question remains, what made Gandhi, an extremely sensual man, to take such a vow? Gandhi was so sensual that when his father Karamchand was dying, he preferred to make love and have sex with his wife Kasturba in another room of the same house. So, when such a sensual Gandhi took vow to keep celibacy, one becomes suspicious that there must have been an evil intention behind that vow. Many believe that at that time, he developed some form of aversion towards Kasturba, an illiterate mother of three children, or in other words, he disliked to share bed with her. So, his intention was to abandon Kasturba as a sleeping partner in the name of keeping celibacy.
In 1882, when Mohandas was married to Kasturba, he was 13 and Kasturba was 14.While he was in South Africa, he came in contact with several educated and well bred women
through his profession and Gandhi liked their company very much. From their company, Gandhi used to obtain a special kind of intellectual pleasure, which was not possible from Kasturba. At that time, more than a dozen women came very close to himand six of them were of Western origin. They were Graham Polak, Nilla Cram Cook, Madelline Slade (aka Miraben), Margarate Spiegel, Sonja Schlesin and Esther Faering (M V Kamath, Mahatma and Celibacy, Organiser, 2.7.2006). His closest Indian women were Srimati Prabhavati Devi (wife of Jaiprakash Narain), Kanchan Shah, Prema Ben Kantak, Sushila Nair (sister of Pyarelal), Manu Gandhi (wife of his grand-nephew Joysukhlal Gandhi), Ava Gandhi and Saraladevi Chaudhurani. This Saraladevi was a niece of the poet Rabindranath Tagore and her mother was Srimati Swarnakumari Devi (M V Kamath, ibid).
Abha Gandhi ; Prabhavati Jayaprakash and others walking in Bengal ; 1945
To narrate the affair between Gandhi and Saraladevi, Sri Girija Kumar says,“Saraladevi Chaudhurani came very close to Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi. Their whirl wind romance lasted for barely two years, but it upset the balance of the Gandhian establishment and shook its very roots. She is now a part of history and a footnote in contemporary Gandhian literature. She, however, left a scar in the minds of Gandhiji for the rest of his life.” (Brahmacharya: Gandhi and his Women Associates, as quoted by M V Kamath, ibid.). Gandhi used to admit that his relation with Saraladevi went up to sexuality(Girija Kumar (1997), The Book on Trial: Fundamentalism and Censorship in India, Har-Anand Publishers. pp. 73–107).
Next to Saraladevi was Prabhavatidevi. While commenting on Gandhi’s affair with her, Girija Kumar writes, “Prabhavati became so obssessed with Gandhi that she would not tolerate separation from him even for a single day. …. Her hysteria was highest manifestation of her desperation. She would remain unconscious for hours together…”,(Brahmacharya: Gandhi and his Women Associates, as quoted by M V Kamath, ibid.). “In his own way, without, obviously meaning it, the Mahatma ruined many lives. It was only when he was jailed at the Agha Khan Palace that he came to be reconciled with Kasturba. And it was only after Gandhi died that Prabhavati came to live a normal life with her husband, until she died a premature death. Many detested Gandhi’s so-called ‘experiments’ with celibacy” (M V Kamath, ibid). In 1938, Prema Ben Kantak wrote Prasad and Diksha, narrating her sex life with Gandhi, which triggered a widespread uproar in Maharastra.
However, the entire episode of his sexual perversion in the name of experimenting with celibacy or brahmacharya after coming back to India in 1915 and setting up the Sabarmati Ashram. And as a consequence, Gandhi started naked display of sex with his women associated, in a big way. This obviously aroused commotion among the other members of the ashram. “The main reason behind this uproar was his double standard. While for other members, he declared strict law for renunciation of women, he kept himself above all such restrictions. As an excuse, he used to say that he was an ardhanariswar (or half man and half woman, the other name of Lord Shiva ) and hence devoid of any carnal desire” (Yashodhara Roychowdhuri, Bengali daily Ananda Bazar Patrika, 25.6.2006). To hoodwink the other members, he used to say that he was the mother of all and hence every women of the ashram were either his mother or a sister. He used to deceive others in another way. He used to say that whatever he was doing, he was doing according to the command of his “inner voice”, or, in other words, according to the command of the God and hence all his deeds were sacred.
Though, due to the above mentioned uproar by the other members of the ashram, Gandhi was compelled to stop his sexual activities for a time being. But that was only to resume it with a new enthusiasm in the name of experiments on celibacy and sleeping naked with several naked women on the same bed. At first, he and his women, though shared the same room but slept on different beds. But after a short while, naked Gandhi and his naked women companions started to share the same bed. He used to say that lying with so many naked women kept him warm and the practice was a type of naturopathy for him (Patricia Caplan (1987). The Cultural construction of sexuality, Routledge. pp. 278 & Parekh, Bhikhu C. (1999). Colonialism, Tradition and Reform: An Analysis of Gandhi’s Political Discourse, Sage. pp-210 ). He also used to say that lying with so many naked women helped him a lot to assess his success in keeping celibacy,(Kumar, Girja (1997). The Book on Trial: Fundamentalism and Censorship in India, Har-Anand Publications. pp. 98, and Gandhi’s letter to G D Birla in April, April, 1945). It should be mentioned here that Gandhi considered his experiment a success if, despite such extraordinary provocation, his private part refused to erect.
Many will refuse to believe that, after Satyagraha (or nonviolence), sex was his second major subject of his articles and letters he wrote to his eulogists. He wrote a series of five articles of his experiments on celibacy, i.e. lying naked with so many naked women, which were later published in Harijan ( Kumar, Girja (1997). The Book on Trial: Fundamentalism and Censorship in India, Har-Anand Publications. Pp-98.). In the present context, it should also be mentioned that, in general, young and adolescent boys experience wet dream. When he was in South Africa, Gandhi had wet dream at least once in a month. But it is unbelievable that he had such an experience in Mumbai, when he was an old man of 67. This single incidence is more than enough to expose Gandhi’s sexual perversion. Moreover, Gandhi admitted that till his death, he failed to get rid of his sexual perversion (D Keer,ibid, p-678).
According to Gandhi, active-celibacy meant perfect self control in the presence of opposite sex. Gandhi conducted his experiments with a number of women such as Abha, the sixteen-year-old wife of his grandnephew Kanu Gandhi.. Gandhi acknowledged “that this experiment is very dangerous indeed”, but thought “that it was capable of yielding great results”
(Tidrick, Kathryn (2007). Gandhi: A Political and Spiritual Life. I.B.Tauris. pp. 302–304). Many believe that, in the name of active celibacy, he not only used those women, but as he never sought for consent of them, he committed sexual oppression on them. On the other hand, the victims had no other alternative but to endure all such oppressions silently (Yashodhara Roychowdhuri, Ananda Bazar Patrike, 25.6.2006).
While commenting on this aspect of Gandhi’s life, Acharya Vinoba Bhave, a real brahmachari and the most earnest follower of Gandhi, said, “There was no need for Gandhi to experiment with brahmacharya. In case Gandhi was a perfect brahmachari, he did not require his brahmacharya to be tested; and if he was an imperfect brahmachari, he should have avoided the experiments on principle” (M V Kamath, Organiser-2.7.2006). But Gandhi maintained that all his experiments yielded very good results (Tidrick, Kathryn (2007). Gandhi: A Political and Spiritual Life, I.B.Tauris. pp. 302–304).
It has been pointed out above that Gandhi conducted his experiments with a number of young women such as Abha, the sixteen-year-old wife of his grandnephew Kanu Gandhi. Another victim was 19 year-old Manu Gandhi, the daughter of his another grand-naphew Joysukhlal Gandhi. After making her a sleeping partner, Gandhi wrote to Joysukhlal that Manu had started to share his bed so that he may “correct her sleeping posture” ( Tidrick, Kathryn (2007). Gandhi: A Political and Spiritual Life, I.B.Tauris. pp.302–304.).
Gandhi went to Noakhali in December, 1946, and at that time Manu Gandhi was his sleeping partner. He used to say that at that time he was immensely benefited by lying naked with naked Manu. And it helped him to assess the serious problems like Partition and the Hindu-Muslim amity. Gandhi used to say that he slept with Manu like her mother and Abha and Manu were his walking sticks. It should be mentioned here that at that time,Manu Gandhi was married and her husband’s name was Surendra Mashruwala. In March, 1945, Gandhi told the press reporters that lying with naked Abha and Manu, he achieved great success in his experiment on celibacy. “Previously I carried out similar experiments with Kasturba, but that did not yield so much” ( Tidrick, Kathryn (2007). Gandhi: A Political and Spiritual Life, I.B.Tauris. pp. 302–304.).
Obviously, Gandhi became the target of bitter criticism, even by his closest companions, due to his sexual perversion in the name of experiments on brahmacharya. One day his stenographer R P Parashuram, observing him lying naked with naked Manu Gandhi, submitted his resignation letter and left the ashram. Gandhi told him that he was at liberty to do whatever he wanted. He could remain at the ashram or go. (Kumar, Girja (1997). The Book on Trial: Fundamentalism and Censorship in India, Har-Anand Publishers. pp. 73–107).
Nirmal Kumar Basu was one of the closest associates of Gandhi and accompanied him during his Noakhali tour. There an incident took place on 17th December that turned Nirmal Kumar into a severe critique of Gandhi. On that night Gandhi was sleeping, as usual naked, with Manu Gandhi and Dr Sushila Nair. Sushila was a doctor and accompanied Gandhi to look after his healthy. Just before dawn, it appeared that something unusual was happening in the room where Gandhi was sleeping with Manu and Sushila. It was found that Gandhi was screaming in shrill voice and slapping his forehead.
GANDHI WITH SARDAR PATEL,SUSHILA NAYAR AND OTHERS
Neither Manu nor Sushila had ever disclosed what happened on that fateful night. But it was not so difficult to guess. Most probably, Gandhi made sexual advances to Sushila and tried to rape an unwilling Sushila. She, on the other hand, prevented Gandhi and cried for help and that made Gandhi to scream out of frustration. After this incident, Nirmal Kumar decided to abandon Gandhi and he permanently left him on 18th March, 1947 (Ghose, Sankar (1991). Mahatma Gandhi, Allied Publishers. pp. 356, D Keer, p-759 & Yashodhara Roychowdhuri, ibid.).
Later on, Nirmal Kumar expressed his grievances through a letter. He wrote that, perhaps he, lying naked with several naked women, wanted to test whether that aroused his sexual passion. But, in fact, he was ruining the lives of his young women associates. It is a shame that we are still using the word Mahatma before the name of such a sexually pervert man.