Intellectuals, Gandhiji's kin decry book ban

Gujarat government has already banned the book “Great Soul: Mahatma Gandhi and His Struggle With India” by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Joseph Lelyveld while Maharashtra is contemplating such a move. Union Law Minister M Veerappa Moily had also hinted at such a possibility earlier.

The reviews of the book that hit the newspapers in England and US had claimed that the book says Gandhi was a bisexual and had a German-Jewish bodybuilder lover in Hermann Kallenbach. Condemning the ban, Lelyveld said, “in a country that calls itself a democracy, it is shameful to ban a book that no one has read, including the people who are doing the banning.  “They should at least make an effort to see the pages that they think offend them before they take such an extreme step. I find it very discouraging to think that India would so limit the discussion,” he said.

Gandhi’s great grandson Tushar Gandhi tweeted: “If the government of Maharashtra bans the book, it will be a greater insult to Bapu than that book or the author might have intended. I will challenge the ban,” he tweeted. He said he was against the culture of banning books and added, “how does it matter if the Mahatma was straight, gay or bisexual? Every time he would still be the man who led India to freedom”.

Writer K Sachidanandan said the plans to ban the book should be condemned. “Banning a book is not a democratic action,” he said.

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