Outrage at writer's Gandhi slur
Published 01/04/2011 | 05:00
AUTHORITIES in India are considering making it a criminal offence to insult Mahatma Gandhi after a new biography sparked fresh speculation about his sexual preferences and suggested he once made racist comments.
Minister of Law and Justice Moodbidri Veerappa Moily told reporters yesterday he was reviewing legislation to protect the reputation of a man considered a national icon.
"The writer has indulged in the most reprehensible act," claimed the state's chief minister.
The move comes after authorities in the state of Gujarat, where Gandhi lived for many years, announced they would ban the book, 'Great Soul: Mahatma Gandhi and His Struggle with India', written by Pulitzer-prize winning journalist Joseph Lelyveld. Much of the controversy, however, focuses on reviews of the biography, and which the author claims are inaccurate.
Among the reviews that created the storm was one by British historian Andrew Roberts in the Wall Street Journal, in which he claimed the biography portrayed the independence leader as "a sexual weirdo, a political incompetent and a fanatical faddist".