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Intense Discussion on Life of Kasturba Gandhi and her relationship with husband, Mahatma Gandhi at Book Launch in Delhi sparks Controversy

The Secret Diary of Kasturba” is a narrative, blow-by-blow fictional account of Kasturba Gandhi’s life

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New Delhi, Nov 26, 2016: In an intense discussion on the life of Kasturba Gandhi and her relationship with husband, Mahatma Gandhi, author Neelima Dalmia Adhar sparked a controversy saying “some people may even call him a paedophile”, only to retract later.

These remarks, among other re-examinations of various aspects of Mahatma Gandhi’s life, unfolded at the launch of “The Secret Diary of Kasturba”, (Westland/pp 395/Rs 699) a historical fiction penned by Adhar, where Congress MP Shashi Tharoor and journalist Barkha Dutt participated in a discussion with the author Friday evening.

“Everything aside he put his wife through a lot of injustices. In terms of sexuality, Gandhi took it to a maniac level,” said Adhar, adding “some people may even call him a paedophile.”

Tharoor, almost cutting her half way through the controversial remark, quipped: “The one thing that we cannot doubt about Gandhiji is his commitment to truth.”

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He further said that there was no evidence to suggest that Mahatma Gandhi indulged in “sexual activities” with his devotees, during what Gandhi described as “My Experiments with Truth.”

“If there was any instance, one would surely find mention of it in his works. Gandhi ji’s commitment to truth is one thing we cannot doubt,” said Tharoor.

In response, Adhar noted that “Gandhiji had occupied a cult status in the society” and that he was not “preaching by his example” before quoting a few instances when there was disapproval of his behaviour from within his own ashram.

Trying to end the heated discussion, Tharoor said: “I do not think you would judge a person as a whole for this. But as a human being, I am sure one’s perception about Gandhiji will be hardened after knowing this.”

But Adhar persisted.

“My endeavour was never to demonise Gandhi. I hugely revere Gandhi that we all know. But he would owe his sainthood largely to Kasturba. You will find a little bit of bias because a lot of me has come into the character. It is my voice primarily juxtaposed with Kasturba’s,” said the author.

Tharoor congratulated Adhar, saying that she had “actually given life” to a character that “had long lived in the shadows of history.”

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Speaking to IANS after the launch, Adhar, however, retracted from her earlier “paedophile” remark and said: “I didn’t mean that, that was a mistake. What I meant was that the experiments he carried out will be very offending and appalling to the sensibilities of today’s world.”

“In today’s times, with the liberalized society that we live in, this behaviour would have been highly offensive to anybody. Even then it was offensive. I believe that there are certain aspects of Gandhi’s character and on his path to becoming the param-yogi that we do not understand. There are many aspects of sexuality of Lord Krishna that find resonance in Gandhi’s practices.”

Delhi University’s former Vice Chancellor, Dinesh Singh, who was also in attendance at the launch told IANS that even the most iconic figures need to be examined.

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“Even the most iconic figures from the history are actually unknown to us. We need to constantly examine them and improve our understanding about them. Kasturba Gandhi was largely an ignored figure in our history and therefore I feel the author has done a good job,” he said.

On the controversial “paedophile” remark, the former DU VC said: “She didn’t call him paedophile, she said people may call him paedophile but that is not so. Some people have even suggested that Gandhiji was homosexual and although it is not wrong to be a homosexual, there is no evidence to suggest so.”

“The Secret Diary of Kasturba” is a narrative, blow-by-blow fictional account of Kasturba Gandhi’s life. (IANS)

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15 Amazing Facts About The Revolutionary Bhagat Singh

Bhagat Singh is considered to be a legend. Many of his actions are well-known. Even after his death, his inspiring actions continued to stir the desire for freedom.

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Bhagat Singh belonged to Punjab and popularly referred as legendary revolutionary Shaheed-e-Azam Bhagat Singh. Wikimedia Commons
Bhagat Singh belonged to Punjab and popularly referred as legendary revolutionary Shaheed-e-Azam Bhagat Singh. Wikimedia Commons
  • Bhagat Singh was born on 28 September 1907
  • At a very early age, he got inclined towards socialism and socialist revolutions
  • Bhagat Singh was a very versatile theatre artist

Bhagat Singh stands out to be one of India’s greatest revolutionary freedom fighter who was given the death penalty by the British colonizers. Although he died at a very young age of 23 but his actions inspired the youth of the nation to fight for the nation’s freedom.

Bhagat Singh belonged to Punjab and popularly referred as legendary revolutionary Shaheed-e-Azam Bhagat Singh. He was born on 28 September 1907 in the village of Banga, Lyallpur district (now in Pakistan). Bhagat Singh is considered to be one of the most influential revolutionaries of the Indian independence movement. He inculcated the spirit of martyrdom since his childhood.

Due to the utter influence of Bhagat Singh, Britishers hanged him an hour ahead of the official time. Wikimedia Commons
Due to the utter influence of Bhagat Singh, Britishers hanged him an hour ahead of the official time. Wikimedia Commons

At a very early age, he got inclined towards socialism and socialist revolutions led by Lenin and soon he started to follow and read about them. The leaflet that he threw in the Central Assembly on 9 April 1929, he stated, “It is easy to kill individuals but you cannot kill the ideas. Great empires crumbled while the ideas survived.”

Also Read: 8 must-read works of Rabindranath Tagore

Take a look at the life of one of the most celebrated Indian freedom fighters.

  1. Bhagat Singh was a great actor in college and a theatre artist. He took part in several plays. The most notable plays he was part of were ‘Rana Pratap’, ‘Samrat Chandragupta’ and ‘Bharata-durdasha’.
  2. When the Jalianwala Bagh incident occurred, Bhagat Singh was in school. He immediately left the school and went straight to the place of the tragedy. He collected the mud of that place which was mixed with the blood of Indians and worshipped the bottle every day. At that time, he was just 12 years old.
  3. In his childhood, Bhagat Singh often talked and wanted to grow guns in the fields, so that he could fight the British and push them back.
  4. Being a kid, he never talked about toys or games. He used to speak about driving out Britishers from India.
  5. The bomb that Bhagat Singh and his associates threw in the Central Assembly, were made of low-grade explosives. They were thrown away from people in the corridors of the building and were only meant to startle and not harm anyone. The British investigation report and forensics details also confirmed this.
  6. Bhagat Singh coined the word “political prisoner” during his stay in prison in 1930. He demanded basic amenities for his comrades in the prison which were even given to British looters and goons in the jail.
  7. ‘Inquilab Zindabad’ was the very famous phrase of Bhagat Singh. It fueled the independence vision of the people and later on became the slogan of India’s armed freedom struggle.
  8. Due to the utter influence of Bhagat Singh, Britishers hanged him an hour ahead of the official time. He was then secretly cremated on the banks of the river Sutlej by jail authorities. However, on hearing the news of his execution, thousands of people gathered at the spot of his cremation and took out a procession with his ashes.
  9. When Bhagat Singh was imprisoned in Lahore Jail, he kept a diary with him in which he penned down his fervent thoughts about freedom and revolution.
  10. At the very young age of 14 years, Bhagat Singh took part in a protest against the killing of a large number of unarmed people at Gurudwara Nankana Sahib.
  11. Bhagat Singh debunked Mahatma Gandhi’s philosophy of non-violence. After the 1922 Chauri Chaura incident, he joined the Young Revolutionary Movement and began to advocate for the violent methods to overthrow the British Government in India.
  12. To avoid a forced marriage by his family, Bhagat Singh ran away to Kanpur and left a letter, which read, “My life has been dedicated to the noblest cause, that of the freedom of the country. Therefore, there is no rest or worldly desire that can lure me now.”
  13. When the British police became aware of Singh’s influence on youth, they immediately arrested him on the false pretext of having been involved in a bombing.
  14. After witnessing the Hindu-Muslim riots that broke out after Gandhi disbanded the Non-Cooperation Movement, he began to question religious ideologies of the society. After that point, Singh dropped his religious beliefs. He believed that the religion hinders the revolutionaries’ struggle for independence, and started studying the works of Bakunin, Lenin, Trotsky – all atheist revolutionaries. Later on, Bhagat Singh also wrote an essay titled ‘Why I am an Atheist’ in 1930 in Lahore Central Jail.
  15. Bhagat Singh wrote for Urdu and Punjabi newspapers which used to get published from Amritsar. He also contributed to the publishing of pamphlets by the Naujawan Bharat Sabha that excoriated the British. In his college time, Singh won an essay competition set by the Punjab Hindi Sahitya Sammelan. Bhagat Singh also published a series of articles on anarchism in Kirti and used many pseudonyms such as Balwant, Ranjit and Vidhrohi for publishing his writings.
    ‘Inquilab Zindabad’ was the very famous phrase of Bhagat Singh. Wikimedia Commons
    ‘Inquilab Zindabad’ was the very famous phrase of Bhagat Singh. Wikimedia Commons

     

    Also Read: 10 Facts You Need To Know About Homi Bhabha

    Bhagat Singh is considered to be a legend. Many of his actions are well-known. His execution ignited the feeling of unity in many people to take up the revolutionary path, playing an important role in India’s freedom struggle. On the other hand, many didn’t agree with his radical approach to attain freedom. Even after his death, his inspiring actions continued to stir the desire for freedom.

    Once Bhagat Singh said, “They may kill me, but they cannot kill my ideas. They can crush my body, but they will not be able to crush my spirit.