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India state bans book hinting Gandhi had gay lover

ERIKA KINETZ AP 03/31/2011 05:02
India state bans book hinting Gandhi had gay lover - Mahatma Gandhi - culture - Asia - Book - India

A state in western India banned Pulitzer-Prize winning author Joseph Lelyveld's new book about Mahatma Gandhi on Wednesday after reviews saying it hints that the father of India's independence had a homosexual relationship.

More bans have been proposed in India, where homosexuality was illegal until 2009 and still carries social stigma.

Gujarat's state assembly voted unanimously Wednesday to immediately ban "Great Soul: Mahatma Gandhi and His Struggle With India."

The furor was sparked by local media reports, based on early reviews out of the U.S. and U.K., some of which emphasized passages in the book suggesting Gandhi had an intimate relationship with a German man named Hermann Kallenbach.

The book has not yet been released in India, so few here have actually read Lelyveld's writings.

Lelyveld has said his work was taken out of context. "I do not allege that Gandhi is a racist or bisexual in 'Great Soul,'" Lelyveld told the Times of India. "The word 'bisexual' nowhere appears in the book."