The Indian government just forked over $1.28 million to buy at auction decades’ worth of documents, telegrams and letters between the Gandhi and bodybuilder Hermann Kallenbach, a lifelong friend and, according to some, longtime lover.
A spokesperson for the India’s Ministry of Culture denied leaders were trying to burying any incriminating evidence: “We already have part of the collection,” said Sanjiv Mittal. “The idea was to fill the gap.”
In his book Great Soul, biographer Joseph Lelyveld claims the muscle man and the Mahatma were more than just pals:
…Gandhi’s organ probably only rarely became aroused with his naked young ladies, because the love of his life was a German-Jewish architect and bodybuilder, Hermann Kallenbach, for whom Gandhi left his wife in 1908. “Your portrait (the only one) stands on my mantelpiece in my bedroom,” he wrote to Kallenbach. “The mantelpiece is opposite to the bed.”
For some reason, cotton wool and Vaseline were “a constant reminder” of Kallenbach, which Mr. Lelyveld believes might relate to the enemas Gandhi gave himself, although there could be other, less generous, explanations.
Gandhi wrote to Kallenbach about “how completely you have taken possession of my body. This is slavery with a vengeance.” Gandhi nicknamed himself “Upper House” and Kallenbach “Lower House,” and he made Lower House promise not to “look lustfully upon any woman.” The two then pledged “more love, and yet more love . . . such love as they hope the world has not yet seen.”
Gandhi destroyed his share of much of their correspondence.