Last year, a biography of Mahatma Gandhi was released, titled Great Soul: Mahatma Gandhi and His Struggle With India. The book, written by Pulitzer prize winning author Joseph Lelyveld, tackled a topic written about many times before.
But, as expected in a book from a Pulitzer prize winner, something new and very interesting lay within the pages — details from Gandhi’s personal letters describing a provocative relationship between Gandhi and Hermann Kallenbach, a German-Jewish architect and body builder. Unfortunate but not unexpected, Lelyveld’s work wasn’t met with much acclaim by Indian officials, who immediately banned the book from sale in Gandhi’s home country, according to the BBC.
Now, it appears the Indian government is again trying to prevent these details from emerging. Ahead of a planned auction by Sotheby’s of thousands of documents related to Gandhi (from the archive of Kallenbach no less), the Indian government struck a $1.1 million deal to purchase documents said to contain letters written by Gandhi’s family, friends, and others, according to the BBC.
While only a few of the letters are said to have been written by Gandhi himself, it is speculated that several of the letters would shed light on the nature of Kallenbach and Gandhi’s relationship, which some have speculated was homosexual, others calling it simply homoerotic.
The documents are expected to be catalogued in Delhi’s National Archive.
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