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Great Soul

Gandhi. The name conjures up images of passive-resistance: meeting tyranny and opposition with a simple, passive refusal to co-operate and participate in the oppressive norm. We also associate the great philosophical leader with leading a basic, plain existance, eating simple vegetarian food, fasting and owning few possessions. But a new biography recently written by a former New York Times executive editor, Joseph Lelyveld, brings to light the thinker's struggle with bisexuality that remained covered by his beliefs in marriage and celibacy.

The book, 'Great Soul' details correspondence that passed between Gandhi and a German Jewish bodybuilder called Hermann Kallenbach and how Gandhi's enfatuation with the physical presence of Hermann and his thoughts on his own budgeoning bisexuality coloured his thoughts of the physical as well as the spiritual, Pinknews tells us.

'The book says: 'Gandhi wrote to Kallenbach about ‘how completely you have taken possession of my body. This is slavery with a vengeance’.'

'It claimed that Gandhi nicknamed himself 'Upper House' and Kallenbach 'Lower House.' Lelyveld wrote: '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’.'

Would the world have approved of Gandhi's feelings towards both sexes and would he have been successful in leading India's fight for independence in the 'Forties? We may never know.

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