Friday, 1 April 2011

How gay was Gandhi?

Totally gay according to the Daily Mail. Not gay really but just an utter wierdo and all time pain-in-the-arse according to Andrew Roberts whose article in the Wall Street Journal sparked off the fuss leading to the banning of Joseph Lelyveld's actually rather sympathetic biography of Gandhi  by good ole' Narendra Modi.

It is Roberts review- rather than Lelyveld's book (the author denies claiming Gandhi was a sodomite)- with which I take issue.
It contains pretty much all the silly things that can be said about Gandhi.

Here's a start- For all his lifelong campaign for Swaraj ("self-rule"), India could have achieved it many years earlier if ­Gandhi had not continually abandoned his civil-disobedience campaigns just as they were beginning to be successful.
Why is this nonsense?
Gandhi did not campaign lifelong for Independence. He was not a revolutionist. He had no truck with the 'garam dal'- Bal, Pal & Lal- and openly condemned Savarkar and Jugantar and so on. He was pretty loyal to the British Empire- as were the majority of Indians. There was not one single year when the Government had any difficulty recruiting as many civil servants as they needed. Only in 1917, 18 was there a problem or recruitment for the Army, but that was only because certain districts, and 'martial castes' within those districts, had already sent as many boys as they could manage. Roberts mentions Gandhi's role as a recruiting sergeant- not that he failed dismally. To remain politically significant he had to move to the ground those longer in the game had already marked out for him- viz. a position of metaphysical extremism which cashed out as an infantilizing and rendering innocuous of the passions of the rising generation- a safe option given that the Revolutionists had failed, the arms promised by the German Crown Prince were seized by the British, the powers of surveillance and coercion of the Raj had risen to meet and more than risen to meet the threat posed by the Nationalists. All the members of the 'garam dal' mellowed. The Revolutionists either died or turned Communist- M.K Roy became Stalin's envoy to the Kuomintang- or became Godmen or set up as apolitical sectarians.
True, the British could have been forced out of India at any time- it's just that they'd have taken their legacy with them. Gandhi talked shite but he deserved the money and adulation he received for giving the British a guilt complex about selling the whole thing up for scrap value.
Why does Roberts not congratulate Gandhi for prolonging British rule in India? Well, it's because of that 'progressive' stench that emanates from him- vegetarianism, pacificism, interminable pi-jab about the duties of wealth and so on. And being a great Gay boy, hot for a Jewish body-builder, is the sort of thing those Progressives go in for. Shame but there it is.
Rajmohan and Leela Gandhi, on the other hand, have no problem with the notion of a Gandhi with a functioning libido. Quite right too. If he really was gay or bisexual, then enormous prestige is lent to the fight against homophobia- definitely a good thing- though, of course, it's no good telling lies about something like this. Setting up a silly ashram or joining a shit-head cult is not the way to go if you're just coming out- saving up your pocket money for some real eye-catching tramp stamps and body piercing should be the priority.

I always had a soft soft for Stanley Wopert's picture of the young Nehru as a total dick magnet- it's kind of aristocratic, dontchasee?- and have repeated the marvellous insinuation (made by the daughter of a famous singer) that Firaq Gorakpuri was bumming Nehru till Gandhi stuck his oar in. His oar, not his dick. Let us be clear about that.
And, no, Rahul Baba- don't you be getting any ideas. Chee, chee- put it away- nasty boy.


Shiela said...

Apparently, Lady Tolstoy thought there was something homo-erotic in her husband's relationship with Chertkov- perhaps Gandhi and Kallenbach were, in a sense, reduplicating that relationship.
I was watching the Alan Yentob TV documentary on Tolstoy and struck by how unloving the late Tolstoy was- quite the opposite of Gandhi.

windwheel said...

@ Shiela, I wonder, was Tolstoy a bit autistic?- hypo-mentalist, hyper-mechanistic- great descriptive powers, little humour or wit- Tolstoy's final flight reminds me of that of the old tutor in Doestoevsky's 'the demons'- and Chertkov ends up sucking up to the Soviets and living out his span in Moscow.
Them guys were seriously fucked in the head and rank with Rasputin as destroyers of Russia.
Gandhi, on the other hand, was an affectionate kind of guy- he had the Gujerati genius for sociability and easy, direct, speech.
The problem was he didn't trust the peasants. He told Louis Fischer that if a philanthropic Micro-finance Bank was set up lending at three per cent, the little shits wouldn't repay the money. The Bania's loans at twenty percent per quarter they would repay coz that was part of Indian tradition. He didn't believe, and Kumarappa didn't tell him, that the Govt had enough money to do land reform with compensation- as for eg. on the Irish pattern. He thought the peasants would just grab the land and tell the landlords to fuck off and this would happen sooner or later. In other words, his 'soul-force' was holding the line- permitting civilization this last breathing space- but the future was bleak. His village swaraj was a pipe-dream and he knew it. The Soviet (in the original sense) or Federation of village republics clearly wouldn't pay for roads and railways- which, of course, he thought a good thing.
Stupid? Yes. But, why didn't Kumarappa or some other Chartered Accountant or Business brain put him right about these things?