Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Gandhi had been sharing his bed for a number of years with young women

Towards the end of his life, it became public knowledge that Gandhi had been sharing his bed for a number of years with young women.[40][41] He explained that he did this for bodily warmth at night and termed his actions as “nature cure”. Later in his life he started experimenting with Brahmacharya in order to test his self control. His letter to Birla in April, 1945 referring to ‘women or girls who have been naked with me’ indicates that several women were part of his experiments.[42] ***** became the most talked about subject matter by Gandhi after ahimsa (non-violence) and increasingly so in his later years. He devoted five full editorials in Harijan discussing the practice of Brahmacharya.[43]
As part of these experiments, he initially slept with his women associates in the same room but at a distance. Afterwards he started to lie in the same bed with his women disciples and later took to sleeping naked alongside them.[42] According to Gandhi active-celibacy meant perfect self control in the presence of opposite *****. 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”.[44] His nineteen-year-old grandniece, Manu Gandhi, too was part of his experiments. Gandhi had earlier written to her father, Jaisukhlal Gandhi, that Manu had started to share his bed so that he may “correct her sleeping posture”.[44] In Gandhi’s view, the experiment of sleeping naked with Manu in Noakhali would help him in contemplating upon Hindu-Muslim unity in India before partition and ease communal tensions. Gandhi saw himself as a mother to these women and would refer to Abha and Manu as “my walking sticks”.
Gandhi called Sarladevi, a married woman with children and a devout follower, his “spiritual wife”. He later said that he had come close to having *****ual relations with her.[45] He had told a correspondent in March, 1945 that “sleeping together came with my taking up of bramhacharya or even before that”; he said he had experimented with his wife “but that was not enough”.[44] Gandhi felt satisfied with his experiments and wrote to Manu that “I have successfully practiced the eleven vows taken by me. This is the culmination of my striving for last thirty six years. In this yajna I got a glimpse of the ideal truth and purity for which I have been striving”.
Gandhi had to take criticism for his experiments by many of his followers and opponents. His stenographer, R. P. Parasuram, resigned when he saw Gandhi sleeping naked with Manu.[46] Gandhi insisted that he never felt aroused while he slept beside her, or with Sushila or Abha. “I am sorry” Gandhi said to Parasuram, “you are at liberty to leave me today.” Nirmal Kumar Bose, another close associate of Gandhi, parted company with him in April 1947, post Gandhi’s tour of Noakhali, where some sort of altercation had taken place between Gandhi and Sushila Nayar in his bedroom at midnight that caused Gandhi to slap his forehead. Bose had stated that the nature of his experiments in Bramhacharya still remained unknown and unstated.[46][47]
N. K. Bose, who stayed close to Gandhi during his Noakhali tour, testified that “there was no immorality on part of Gandhi. Moreover Gandhi tried to conquer the feeling of ***** by consciously endeavouring to convert himself into a mother of those who were under his care, whether men or women”. Dattatreya Balkrishna Kalelkar, a revolutionary turned disciple of Gandhi, used to say that Gandhi’s “relationships with women were, from beginning to end, as pure as mother’s milk”.[48]

Reproducing the wikipedia content (the article on Mahatma Gandhi is a Featured Article – implies that the article is one of the best works of Wikipedia and has gone through intense peer review):

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