As part of a campaign to ensure illiteracy, a second Indian state is moving to preemptively ban the Mahatma Gandhi biography that claims the civil disobedience champion had a thing for a hot German male bodybuilder. Gujarat, in western India, has already blocked the book from sale. Now here comes the state of Maharashtra, south of Gujarat, hoping to keep Great Soul: Mahatma Gandhi and His Struggle from lining the commoners’ bookshelves. And they want Pulitzer-Prize winning author Joseph Lelyveld to keep out, too.
After Congress members voiced strong objections in the Council, Industries Minister Narayan Rane, referring to the book’s claims, said: “Such remarks against Gandhiji would not be tolerated. He was the Father of the Nation. The government will take steps to ban the publishing of the book in the State. The State would write to the Centre to that effect.” Congress MLC and Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee president Manikrao Thakre said the book maligned the Mahatma. Condemning the book, MLA Krishna Hegde said the biography was “the figment of a sick mind’s imagination.”
“It has become a fashion to tarnish the image of great Indian leaders for self publicity and sale of books. The government should evoke a law to severely punish anyone who tarnishes the image of the Father of the Nation as in England where no one can speak against the Queen,” Mr. Hegde said. In the suburb of Mulund, Congress workers burnt Mr. Lelyveld’s posters “for writing derogatory remarks about the great Mahatma’s sexual orientation,” said Congress member Rajesh Ingle. He called for a worldwide ban of the book and warned “the author should not dare enter India as Congress workers will not spare him for his misdeed.”
Now how about we round up the kids, throw some dal makhani on the pot, and have a good old fashioned neighborhood book burning?