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Gandhi to Asaram: Who Empowers the Sex Crimes of ‘Gurus?’

September 4, 2013
Asaram arrested 1569114g

Asaram arrested

by Rita Banerji

It’s uncanny how similar he is to Gandhi.  I’m talking about Asaram, the Indian spiritual leader who was recently arrested for sexually assaulting the 15-year-old daughter of one of his devotees.

Both Gandhi and Asaram commanded followers in the millions, who regarded them as saints, spiritual ‘guides’ and called them “Bapu” or Father.

Both Gandhi and Asaram regarded sex as and sexual desire as “sins,” and any expression of sexuality as ‘dirty’ imports from the west that needed to be shunned because they ruin India’s youth and culture.  Both preached abstinence to their followers and the control of sexual desire as a form of self-‘purification.’

And both Gandhi and Asaram in hypocritical violations of their own preaching, indulged in sexual gratification of one kind or another, even when it resulted in the sexual abuse of girls and women in their flock.

Details that continue to emerge about Asaram’s past indicate that he not only sexually abused and raped other women, but that he regarded the women in his ashram as his sexual ‘toys.’ Gandhi on the other hand would have among the younger of his female followers, some in their late teens, sleep naked with him, in his bed, at night.  He claimed that was his way of testing his ‘power’ of abstinence.  More shockingly, this was open knowledge not just among his followers, but among everyone who came in contact with him—his large fan following of politicians, activists, philosophers, and journalists—both from Indian and abroad. While having the girls and women sleep naked with him was in and of itself a form of sexual abuse – a privilege Gandhi exercised because of his position and stature, what actually took place in his bed remains hidden, because the women were sworn to secrecy.  Non-the-less studying the behavior and responses of the women around him, and examining excerpts from some of their diaries, there are clear indications of sexual manipulation and exploitation. [See below an excerpt from my book ‘Sex and Power.’]

What allows these spiritual leaders to blatantly get away with sexual predation?

 14asaramFirstly, it is the clout these leaders have over the political and governing classes because of the hypnotic command they have over large masses.  Because of their cult figure status, that makes millions worship them blindly, the politicians see them as an easy way to reach out to and influence the masses.  Gandhi’s close political associates, even those who disapproved of what he was doing remained silent precisely for this reason.  Similarly, the reason the police took 15 days to arrest Asaram is because he had the protection of politicians who hope to garner the votes of the millions of Indians who worship Asaram, in the upcoming election in India in 2014.  So actually it is the masses that follow blindly that have the power to give immunity to gurus and godheads. After all, religion or belief in any organized form lends itself well to this kind of cult mentality and blind following.

Yet, contrary to what many argue this is not just about religion.  This cult-like mentality and blind faith also includes people who may shun religion, but who exalt and place on high pedestals public personas like Gandhi, who they equate with lofty ideas and ideals.  And these sanctified men with cult followings exist in all fields – religion, politics, sports and even the performing arts!

gandhi crowds

Gandhi’s mob support

Asaram’s followers went on the violent defensive attacking media vans and journalists to shield him.  But Gandhi’s worshippers do the same, even today!  Articles I’ve written on Gandhi with regards to his attitude to sex, sexuality and women, or even an article in a UK newspaper that cited me, have had public comments, not just from India but from western countries too, that were verbally hostile and defensive.  Interestingly, the critics didn’t want to engage with what was written, but emphasized aspects of him they saw as redeeming.  In other words, because they think Gandhi preached non-violence or led India to freedom, this was a little something in him that they’d happily ignore!  And they wish the rest of us would too.  Some others insisted that sexual abuse etc. is an issue of our times, and that it didn’t mean the same at that time!  I wonder, what these people think the parents of the teenage girls in Gandhi’s entourage felt in the 1940s?  Are they suggesting those parents felt honored to have Gandhi use their daughters for his perverse experiments with sex?

It is very important to recognize that men in leadership positions can sexually prey on vulnerable girls and women because the people who honor their leadership, also create the space and give them to power to do so! 

Asaram has now been arrested.  But it wasn’t easy.  The father of the 15-year-old girl victim was a lone voice standing by his daughter when she filed her complaint with the police of how Asaram held her hostage and sexually molested her for an hour.  He remained resolute in his demand for an arrest, despite the powerful protection offered to Asaram by politicians, the police, and millions of angry Asaram supporters.  The father who once was Asaram’s devotee said he was wrong in following him so blindly!  But it has now given courage to other victims of Asaram to come forward.

It is an important pointer, to the fact that we are each responsible for the injustices of the men we place on pedestals! And we are each accountable.                                                                                                                     

[Below are excerpts from pages 265-281.  In Sex and Power: Defining History, Shaping Societies by Rita Banerji.  Penguin Books, India, 2008; Penguin Global, 2009]

Mohandas K. Gandhi ;Manilal Gandhi ;Mrs. Kanu Gandhi;Pyarelal;Sita Gandhi;Sushila Pai;Raj Kumari[Celibacy was one] of Gandhi’s favoured ideologies…propounded with much zeal as an integral aspect of his social and political preaching…[He] regarded sex as an “impure” practice for all people, including married couples.  Sexual curiosity among [the unmarried youth in his ashram] would displease Gandhi.  He was known to ask women [among his followers] to take on a lifelong vow of celibacy as a guru-dakshina [a teacher’s fee] to him.  He [even] advised married couples [in his ashram to]…avoid sharing not just a bed but also a room, unless they intended to have a child…Despite his denouncement of the [caste based] practice of ‘untouchability’…he rarely placed Adivasis or tribals in responsible positions in his ashram..because he disapproved of their sexually liberal traditions…His vision for celibacy was that some day it would be embraced by “the whole world.”

Gandhi’s wrangling with his libido played out in a lifelong ordeal as he obsessively experimented with all sorts of strategies to subdue [what he called] “the insidious enemy.” He admitted to being a person of intense “sexual passion”…and spoke of needing constant “courage” and “vigilance” in his “war” against this “enemy.” He tried to achieve control through food, exhaustively categorizing food into those that fed the libido and those that killed it.

[The kind of sexual repression Gandhi exhibited] according to [Swiss psychologist] Jung [is] often expressed either in sexually perverse behavior or in Puritanism, both of which Gandhi exhibited amply.  [For ironically,] as fixated as he was on eliminating [sexual] sesory stimulation through food, he did not apply this theory to [his proximity with women.]

He was constantly surrounded by young women who tended to his [bodily] needs…including full body naked massages [and baths].  He used women as [body] props for support..and walked, draping his arms around their shoulders, when a walking cane, or a couple of young men would have served just as well. [His so-called “experiments with Truth” involved] sleeping with naked young women to test the resolve of his celibacy —one of these girls being his own great-niece.

It is difficult to imagine the psychological state [of these young women, many of who were teenagers]. It was well know that women in his entourage constantly vied for physical proximity to him…competing for [his] touch…and women who shared his bed…were known to get “hysterical” exhibiting [jealousy and] rejection anxiety if he turned them away…The upheaval in the minds [and lives] of some of these women is revealed in [what is recorded as a ‘dream’ narrative in the personal diary] of Prema Kantak.  [She writes that] she was a small girl in Gandhi’s lap, drinking milk that spurted from his breast into her mouth.  She recalls the intense alarm she felt in the dream when the milk did not stop streaming out, even when she was satiated and her clothes and her body was drenched, while Gandhi kept coaxing her to drink more.  Even though Gandhi brightly assured her that it meant she felt safe with him, the symbolism of semen as milk, and the pent-up sexual content [and implications of sexual abuse in this]  relationship are unmistakable elements of Prema’s [subconscious narrative].

© The 50 Million Missing CampaignAll Rights Reserved. To share please refer to ourcopyright guidelines.

ABOUT THE WRITER

Rita Banerji is an author and gender activist, and the founder of The 50 Million Missing Campaign to end India’s female genocide.  Her book ‘Sex and Power: Defining History Shaping Societies, is a historical and social look at how the relationship between gender and power in India has led to the ongoing female gendercide.  Her website is www.ritabanerji.com She blogs at Revolutions in my Space and tweets at @Rita_Banerji

139 Comments leave one →
  1. September 4, 2013 10:04 pm

    Superb article – applies to many societies. Superb site.

  2. Samir Chatterjee permalink
    September 5, 2013 1:11 am

    Rita, I always suspected you have a nasty hidden agenda. I wonder whether you are really concerned about women’s emancipation in India at all or break-up of India. You will never get any genuine support from Indians towards your ‘official cause’ by attacking Gandhi’s so-called ‘immorality’ as you see it. You are referring to the ‘Father of the Nation’ who made incredible sacrifices in his personal life to bring about freedom of India from the clutches of the largest empire this world has ever seen. All the leaders of India including Nehru, Subhas Bose, Ballav bhai Patel and Maulana Abul Kalam Azad etc followed him. Do you think they were all stupid and only you intelligent? Even if your dirty allegations against Gandhi are true (which I doubt very much), it is most tactless to harp on it if you need the strong support of Indians towards their women’s emancipation.

    The sexuality of Hindus have originated in their ancient tales of Lord Krishna, their sculpture on their temples, their poetry and their culture. We have been all infected by it. Islam banned all this portrayal of sexuality through religion and destroyed many Hindu temples. Who do you think wrote Kamasutra? It was an ancient Hindu monk. Indian culture has been enriched or impoverished by that depending on your sexuality. I have seen many newly married couples receiving a copy of Kamasutra as their wedding present in Kolkata. It did not need Gandhi to project that sexuality in India. Gandhi’s morality has been copied the world over including by Martin Luther King in USA and Nelson Mandela of Africa.

    Whoever is financing your campaign, has a hidden agenda. So don’t try to sell your penguin book to me and just stick to your subject of emancipation of Indian women. Assaram was quite out of order and should be banned from his religious order but that has nothing to do with Gandhi. If you cannot stick to your ‘official cause’, please don’t send me any of these rantings of yours on a totally different subject. Or just take my name off your website as it offends me!

    • September 6, 2013 6:48 pm

      @Samir Chatterjee — With reference to your question about who’s financing our campaign, this is to let you know this campaign is a fund free, grassroots campaign and runs on volunteer effort. Check this out https://genderbytes.wordpress.com/patrons/

    • September 7, 2013 1:21 am

      Just another idiot…. Blind follower.

    • sudhir jain permalink
      September 7, 2013 10:53 am

      I totally agree with with sameer chatterjee How could she write such things and compare asaram with bapu she’s just another person vying for some cheap publicity for her book.

    • Tewari permalink
      September 7, 2013 12:09 pm

      Samir Chatterjee, Subhas Bose never quite “followed” Gandhi. He was too modern and independent minded for that kind of slavish devotion. The other men you mention neatly fit into the category the author here describes as, “The cult-like mentality and blind faith also includes people who may shun religion, but who exalt and place on high pedestals public personas like Gandhi, who they equate with lofty ideas and ideals. And these sanctified men with cult followings exist in all fields – religion, politics, sports and even the performing arts!”
      .
      About Indian freedom no one outside the circle of the post-independence court historians of the Congress Party, or the hippie like western followers of Gandhi the eastern mystique, seriously believes that Gandhi brought freedom to India. The truth is, if any one event was responsible for the transfer of power to the Indians it was WWII, which rendered post-war Britain financially and logistically bankrupt. The “almost revolution” in response to the INA trials in 1946, and the disquiet in the army and the navy that followed it, also played major roles. These events made it clear to the British that they could no longer trust the Indian Army unless it was entirely stuffed by British soldiers, something which was impossible in post war Britain with a Labor government. As explicitly spelt out by Michael Edwardes (who was personally privy to many of the discussions among the British officials) in his book “The Last Days of the British Empire” Subhas Bose, even indirectly through the INA trials and the switch of the loyalty of the Indian army, had a much more profound effect on the transfer of power than Gandhi or any one else.
      .
      Finally, everything the author has written here is true.

    • September 7, 2013 4:40 pm

      @Samir,

      You seem more like a fundamentalist than anything else.

      You don’t represent an Indian, neither do I. Please think twice before saying that this site won’t get support from Indians just because YOU think so. Let’s stick to the topic and don’t get personal.

      A wonderful article indeed. Though I’ve always been a great follower of Gandhiji myself, I absolutely loved reading the article🙂

      There’s nothing wrong in looking at things from point-of-view that is different from ours. If that is right, we’ve got a new way of looking at things. If that view point is wrong, it won’t matter anyway🙂

      Peace🙂

    • asdf permalink
      September 8, 2013 8:31 am

      “Many bright people followed him so he must be great”.. that’s not the best argument I’ve heard. Also, writing a book on neat ways of having sex and actually using teenage girls for your experiments are completely different things.

    • swatibhatt permalink
      September 8, 2013 12:13 pm

      @Samir Chatterjee what is true is true…..Gandhi indeed contributed a lot to the freedom struggle but we cannot ignore his dark side.

    • September 9, 2013 11:12 am

      Samir – 1)You should be targeting your argument at Gandhi and his likes! Just FYI – Gandhi believed the erotic temples of India, Konark, Kharujaho etc. were a product of western influences and he had his band of followers all ready to destroy them. It was Tagore who stopped him. Reminds one of the Taliban at Bamiyan, right?
      2) If you still are unable/unwilling to thoughtfully engage with the argument made, then don’t read it! It’s that simple.
      3)The article asserts that is those who blindly/uncritically supports political and religious and other leaders who are also empowering their ability to sexually predate. Do you realize your comment here puts you in that category?
      4)If I did not believe that there are enough Indians out there who have both the sense and the integrity to look this female genocide in the India, recognize it as a terrible wrong fostered by the social mindset (like the one I discuss in this article), I wouldn’t be running this campaign for 7 years! Your support, none-the-less will still be greatly appreciated.

    • nilesh wankhede permalink
      September 16, 2013 12:20 am

      please update your self..

      no record that gandhi is father of nation..
      even mahtma designation given by ravindra nath tigor and he take back his crown of mahtma..
      tell me one moment ever success-ed by gandhi
      biggest failure in india
      read B.N Bali book name as Rangila Gandhi..

      Brother update your knowledge

    • Nitin permalink
      September 18, 2013 11:45 am

      Mr. Samir what do you think about your statement
      The sexuality of Hindus have originated in their ancient tales of Lord Krishna, their sculpture on their temples, their poetry and their culture” have you seen lord krishna ? this is totally foolish idea bring by so-called writers. if you have consumed with hindus tradition then why only lower caste women from (SC/ST/Minority) get reaped ? why not others Brahmin women or other soc-called women not reaped ? see another example in khajurao, sun temple at kornark and many more temple showing sexuality what did men? if we have reach culture why then this kind incident happens regularly??
      if any women bringing real issues (for example Rita Banarji on her books) related to womens issues then what is the problem so-called peoples in India. Another is you mention on your comment “Gandhi is a Nation of Father” who will gives this identity to Gandhi ? how he is a father of nation ? he is a most castest person during the freedom. he appose for dalit issues and many more.
      another is you don’t have right to say “”don’t try to sell your penguin book to me and just stick to your subject of emancipation of Indian women””
      for further refrances please read this link.
      http://upliftthem.blogspot.in/2013/09/what-is-gandhi-got-to-do-with-america.html

    • Akesh Abhilash permalink
      October 18, 2013 9:23 am

      Rita, that was an excellent article concerning the hysteria and blind worship that tends to follow these cult figures. It was well researched and I enjoyed it. I bid you ignore the likes of Samir Chatterjee who have little intelligent or constructive to contribute to the discussion.

    • October 18, 2013 12:17 pm

      Thank you Akesh! It is curious though why this inability to regard Gandhi in particular of all historical figures in a critical light. In India we are not taught to read history critically. But in the west they are, like there is plenty of critique of JFK, Lincoln, Jefferson, (his slaves, Sally Hemings etc.) yet even Americans — and I’m talking liberals, intellectuals, academics are unable to regard Gandhi in a historical, critical light. What is the issue here? It confounds me!

    • Ravi permalink
      October 18, 2013 2:50 pm

      See Miss Rita, I respect your use of freedom of speech or expression, but who gives u right to over criticize who spent whole of his life fighting for the right of poor nd uniting various provinces of India against the British rule that too in a peaceful, rational nd just using non violence as he of all men, knew that using non violence and only non violence, you can sweep this White men out of India. There might have been many revolts like one in 1857 but in vain had he not directed the people to use peaceful means to protest because only then you can gain the sympathy of people worldwide who would then criticise the Britishers. Now you know why we call him the Father of the Nation. Convicting him of such wrongful practices nd comparing to that cheap so called godman Asaram just reveals your extremr hatred nd hollow thinking about Mahatma. What you are not trying to understand is his motive of practicing celibacy was to gain nd test his control over himself although still he should never have gone to that extent. But his motive was not wrong. Comparing him with Asaram whose soul motive was sexual pleasure nd making a fool of his blind followers is just so wrong. Now it really makes me think whether you really researched over it or just made it up. Grow up you…

    • Anurag Yaparla permalink
      August 23, 2015 5:52 am

      While comparing Asaram to Gandhi could be a bit of an overstatement as Asaram can never ever come close to the cult following which Gandhi commanded. What you can talk about are the similarities between them both.
      so now lets mull over the idea that almost all men in powerful positions have indulged in some or the other form of perversion. You speak only of Gandhi but his eldest son indulged in incest and this is proven and this not some right wing propaganda to tarnish the image of the “father of the Nation”.
      Don’t get me wrong for what i am about to say; The idea of why a person in that kind of influential position would indulge in such atrociously perverse acts we have to look at the psychology of man. For ages religions preached about the sinful nature of women who ensnare holy men by their charms just to manipulate them into a sexual frenzy. This meant that men couldn’t have the complete domination over women and over their own bodies about which they speak so highly of.
      The main issue with these kind of people who take religion,’culture’ and traditions so seriously is that they themselves know the ultimate truth, the sole reason why a man of superior intelligence,persona and a god like influence over the masses, would indulge in these kind of perverse acts is because of some deep rooted inferiority complex about ones own sexual prowess.
      The pleasure which these devious minds derive from rape,molestation and sexual humiliation is not simply for pleasing oneself sexually but it must be a trigger for the victimized way they feel on the inside as by doling out that kind of behavior to women would their sexual escape for the person, therefore giving him the required release.

  3. September 6, 2013 1:00 am

    Excellent, fearless and true. Thank you.

    • Prasanna Kumar Acharya permalink
      September 15, 2013 2:58 pm

      Dear Tewari
      While waht you have said is true, that does not undermine the role of Gandhiji in India’s freedom. What you are saying is that Gandhi had no role in Indian independence. While he was used by congress and neo capitalists of India, it is Gandhi who touched million hearts just for nothing, without any virtue. Just like Arindam Choudhry said in his book “Count your Chickens before they hatch” that Subhas asked for blood for Indian independence, few Indians came out and Subhas failed. Whereas Gandhi succeeded in touching Indians heart by preaching non-violence. It suited the Indian mentality. He also reiterareted his point by inciting one more example of Indian mentality during Bombay riot. When somebody called for a Light procession defying curfew in support of Hindu-Muslim unity, very few turned out. Then somebody proposed that all should beat pots at a particular time in the night to express Hindu-muslim solidarity and the movement was hugely successful. Why ?? Had Subhas succeeded, india would be a differrent India. India bought its freedom in compromise, with lots of sacrifice by likes of Subhas, Kshudiram,Bhagat Singh forgotten intentionally by congress. But that in any way does not reduce Gandhiji’s contribution.
      My point of view is that it is very easy to view things from your point when someone is not alive to defend himself or place his view point. In any case Asaram and Bapu are not the same. Asaram is available for a debate, Gandhiji is not available for debate. You may place your point of view, but you can not hang him on the ground of morality.

      regarding Sameer, I also agree, that some people might think, the campaign is to systematically decimate the phenomena of Gandhiji from Indian pshyche. This might be true, might not be true, Rita knows it best. Its upto you to accept the arguments or not accept them. you have to be mature enough to judge the matter objectively.

  4. Sudeshna Sengupta permalink
    September 6, 2013 7:18 pm

    Thank you — excellent points made.

  5. September 6, 2013 9:26 pm

    Rita Banerji,Just want to say one thing ,half knowledge is always dangerous ,i dont know how much u read about and understand Gandhi,this kind of controversial writing might give you instant fame ,you desire,but you have to understand it might heart the faith of millions of people and only add more frustration in our society,so my request is please just start thinking beyond success and material ambitions ,u ll realize how much sick you intellectual are,and believe as a common citizen of India , we dont want intellectual people like you . get well soon

    • September 11, 2013 4:24 pm

      Truth always needed to be said, it hurts or not , that does not matter

    • Akesh Abhilash permalink
      October 18, 2013 9:25 am

      As a common citizen of India, you don’t want intellectual persons? No wonder the country is mired in the doldrums. Shame on you Vinit, for being such so close minded and averse to intelligent discussion.

  6. Punam Zutshi permalink
    September 6, 2013 11:18 pm

    We are all now Brown Anglo Saxon Protestants and while I cannot be part of the world of Gandhiji or want to go back in time , the superficiality of comparison is galling. Gandhi’s experiments were controversial undoubtedly, NK Bose the anthropologist left off being Gandhi’s secretary even… We have it seems as modern people no reference point for Gandhi other than Asaram Bapu !!! Mr Sameer Chatterjee I do not think there is even need for speaking about funding and agenda, this article typifies a paradigm that is crude and impoverished, as it is superficial …

  7. Dr Pritam Singh permalink
    September 7, 2013 6:12 am

    Many more Rita Banerji needed. Salute your courage. Keep it up.

  8. Revolution permalink
    September 7, 2013 9:57 am

    Rita, I don’t know if your allegations are true or not. But, what I think here is that our mindset(as a society) has been tuned to believe/perceive events in a certain way. Let me elaborate on this:

    1) We- The People make leaders because of their thoughts, beliefs, ability, courage, will power, optimism etc etc. We see all the good qualities which may solve a purpose of the society at that moment. During this process of electing a leader, we do not focus on “What that leader thinks on SEX?” – right? and that’s the way it is. That’s not an important thing to be focused on. Sex is his personal life. Let him keep it to himself. What we should make sure is that they do not misuse their power.

    Now, what makes these leaders to preach about their thoughts on sex? we never asked them for their opinion. This again can be attributed to the mindset. We, as a society, see people who abstain from sex as more powerful or more evolved (This mindset of ours make them preach about sex). Yes, this may be true. But, is it because of this abstinence that they have the other good qualities? No. This is where we go wrong. We think that these leaders are what they are because of their abstinence from SEX. how did we conclude that? there is no logic. A person who is sexually oriented may also have all the leadership qualities.

    So, lets stop judging, electing, praising and criticizing leaders based on their thoughts on sex. This does not mean that we allow them to misuse their power.

    2) Even all the leaders, religious guru’s are all human beings. They have the same body and blood. The thing we know from all religious books is that these people are masters of their senses. That is they do not fall prey to impulses.

    Now, you can be a master of your sense only when you are aware of that sense? right? you know there is light because you know there is something like darkness. Similarly, you master your sense only when you are aware about the sense.

    What am I trying to conclude here?

    Well, the point is that it is foolish to just blindly believe that a leader/guru has no sexual thoughts just because he is a leader/guru. Rather, what will be wise it to believe that he has mastered that impulse. So, rather than asking them their thoughts on sex/or any desires, we should ask them how they mastered that?

    Based on the answers you get, you can easily judge the person. How? Think over it.

    If the leader just asks you to stay away from the cause of impulse, that means he has not mastered it. Why? That’s like running away from something. Rather, the purpose is to master that wherein that impulse is not going to dictate terms to you but you are going to use that at your discretion.

    If we think well, we can easily judge people in the right way.

    • September 9, 2013 11:34 am

      Revolution — Don’t confuse sex and abuse. If Gandhi said he believe in free love, free sex, and like Krishna and the gopis went frolicking around I’d wouldn’t give a dam! But I AM TALKING ABOUT SEXUAL ABUSE HERE! I sincerely hope you understand that sexual abuse and free sex are not one and the same thing! Why don’t you go have a look through his collection of letters: Mahatam Gandhi’s Letters on Brahmacharya, Sexuality and Love. Here’s an excerpt from the letter Nirmal Kumar Bose wrote to Gandhi on 3 Jan 1947: “With regards to the questions raised by Parashuram…the facts are, you take massage in a state of nudity. Then again, for the sake of a certain experiment, whose nature is unknown to me, you said that you required the held pf a woman. You wanted to find out by means of that experiment whether any lustful feeling evoked either in you or any women by lying on th same bed with you at night…Sushila (one of the women who shared the bed) I have botice for some time past…has been in a terribly unbalanced state of mind. She has been crying and crying…” This revolution is not sex. This and a whole lot of other things, indicate systematic sexual control and abuse of women and teenage girls in his ashram.

  9. Joe Winston permalink
    September 7, 2013 10:30 am

    Absolutely true ! this has been the case with all Leaders, maybe the leadership genes come with immense sexual passion and have the capability to influence and control the opposite sex so easily. But one cannot accept the fact that all women get prey, there is a high degree of women who show intent to be in the arms of the powerful, where does the fault lie?

    • September 9, 2013 11:10 am

      Women wanting to be with men of power and women and girls who are preyed upon, coerced, sexually assaulted and raped, are not one and the same issue. I hope you understand that.

    • Prasanna Kumar Acharya permalink
      September 15, 2013 3:11 pm

      Dear Joe,
      So as men show intent to be in the arms of powerful ladies, but then also the lady gets character assasinated, is not it the typical MCP attitude !!

  10. Dushyant Marathe permalink
    September 7, 2013 1:01 pm

    The foolish public has always been in denial of the shenanigans of those raised to God-like status. Great article.

  11. Akhilesh permalink
    September 7, 2013 2:07 pm

    @Sameer chatterjee: It seems congress paid u big bucks to write this! I can’t believe that in this modern India with all the ‘real’ information at our finger tips, one can still believe ‘the way’ being reflected by ur comment above.

    • Prasanna Kumar Acharya permalink
      September 15, 2013 3:09 pm

      Dear Akhilesh

      real information at your finger tips ???? Is that true ?? My dear friend you get information what the informer wants to share with you, otherwise Julian Assenga would not be running hither and thither for assylum.

  12. Varun Khullar permalink
    September 7, 2013 4:15 pm

    please read more about gandhi😀 , also his experiments were transparent and not secret which in itself give him the benefit of the doubt and yes neither you neither was born nor saw what exactly happened and whatever you know is through second hand sources .Comparing Mahatma Gandhi with Asaram is a good way of making people read your article though

    • September 9, 2013 11:29 am

      No Varun — it people like you who go to 2nd hand, sanitized, rehashed, sources. I’m a researcher. I go to the horses’s mouth! Meaning Gandhi’s diaries, letters, etc., and I’ve cited all my sources. Why don’t you go have a look through his collection of letters: Mahatam Gandhi’s Letters on Brahmacharya, Sexuality and Love. Here’s an excerpt from the letter Nirmal Kumar Bose wrote to Gandhi on 3 Jan 1947: “With regards to the questions raised by Parashuram…the facts are, you take massage in a state of nudity. Then again, for the sake of a certain experiment, whose nature is unknown to me, you said that you required the held pf a woman. You wanted to find out by means of that experiment whether any lustful feeling evoked either in you or any women by lying on th same bed with you at night…Sushila (one of the women who shared the bed) I have botice for some time past…has been in a terribly unbalanced state of mind. She has been crying and crying…” Go Varun — check out more for yourself! And remember — Satyamev Jayate!

  13. dr.s permalink
    September 7, 2013 7:58 pm

    Wow!!, i had heard of a lot of negative qualities in Gandhi’s personality, but this is the 1st ive heard of his “sexual” depravement,I admire your guts to come out and say this rita, but please be careful of the backlash you are going to face from all of Gandhi’s “Blind” followers.

    • Prasanna Kumar Acharya permalink
      September 15, 2013 3:22 pm

      Dear Rita
      While I do not negate your research capabilities, even then how come you are so sure about N.K.Bose ? Had he had a conversation with Sushila to get to know why she was in this state of mind ? This in no way means that I support Gandhiji’s experiment with sex, personally I am against this kind of experiment, but who knows the experiment with the consent of the girls or just under the hypnotic aura of gandhiji’s cult status. I again reiterate, none of them is living to defend themselves. So you can only place your view point, not verdict.
      Thanx

    • June 30, 2015 6:08 am

      You are absolutely right

  14. bishal permalink
    September 7, 2013 11:17 pm

    By comparing asharam with gandhi. the writer just tries to attract the audience .. As simple as that.. i agree with u @ Sameer Chatterjee.

  15. September 7, 2013 11:22 pm

    If you attack Gandhi, you will not get the support for your cause. You know this very well. But your agenda might be different. Under facade of Women’s problems you are carefully trying to roll your dice. This is one bad way to fight on women’s problems. Don’t go by truth/reality/fact(even if it is) of something that works against a cause. Go getters take practical paths. -Kishore Kancherla.

  16. R W permalink
    September 8, 2013 12:07 am

    This article gave me a lot to think about. I have seen it happen it other religious orders that when celibacy is demanded of the followers (or leaders), then sexual abuses arise. (I am thinking of the Christian Catholic order specially.) I believe that sex, between consenting adults, in a loving relationship is a beautiful, and very healthy thing that our bodies and minds need to be healthy and whole. And I believe that denying ourselves those things can (and most often does) lead to unhealthy acting out – if you will. We need a healthy way to fulfill our desires to help keep up safe from unhealthy (abusive) urges. And definitely, teasing the senses with being physically close to your sexual counterpart is not going to lead to healthy desires in that area. I can see why you question Gandhi’s actions in that matter.

    • Ronk permalink
      September 9, 2013 7:00 pm

      You clearly know nothing of Catholicism nor of the incidence and causes of sexual abuses. Celibacy is not “demanded” of anybody by the Catholic Church. Those few Catholics who make vows of celibacy do so in total freedom and after many years of careful thought, prayer and preparation. In fact the Church’s rules say that a vow of celibacy is INVALID if the person making it was under any kind of duress or pressure to do so.

      A tiny minority of Catholic clergy have ever seriously been accused of sexual abuse. The proportion is the same or lower than the proportion of those in religions with mainly married clergy, and much lower than the proportion among non-Christian lay school teachers and sports coaches. The great majority of sexual abusers of children are married or in an ongoing sexual relationship with another adult. Sexual abuse of children has nothing to do with “acting out” unhealthily urges which are denied. This is a stupid theory which Siggy Freud dreamed up which has now been thoroughly discredited by scientific medicine and criminology.

    • September 9, 2013 7:22 pm

      There has been extensive cover up by the Vatican of massive child sexual abuse in among their churches both in Europe and the U.S. There’s is no excuse for that. But the reason it goes on is again Blind faith in the priests and system!

  17. Shampa permalink
    September 8, 2013 12:28 am

    Rita I am so so proud of you ………thank you for your courage your strength and your example to all the Indian Woman where ever they live in the world ……..now they too will have a voice to be heard !!

  18. Vijay permalink
    September 8, 2013 4:27 pm

    Well Written! Very valid points. The “Father of the Nation” got away courtesy the Halo that surrounded him (and continues to this day, ably nurtured by people like Samir Chaterjee). But let us hope that today’s “Gandhis” don’t get away with it.

  19. Mitr Manav permalink
    September 9, 2013 2:15 am

    please share more excerpts from ur sources verbatim so that we can be sure about the nature of Gandhi’s experiments with sexuality.. anyways do u have the courage to talk about similar leaders from the past? example: Islam’s so called prophet mohhammad?
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Criticism_of_Muhammad
    ..look at what cult he has left behind and what happens to so many young girls in muslim society..esp poor..sold as slaves to Arab merchants who want to follow their perfect man ever mr, muhammad! if u really have guts and u think u r on the side of these 50 MILLION MISSING girls.. lets see if u can speak about this as well.. its easy to target an asaram or gandhi because of secular nature of Hindus and India in general.. lets see if u can speak about the leader of another cult and historical figure Muhammad.. I guess u’ll chicken out.. haha.. bloody writers like u think u have done ur job by writing pieces like this ..just look urself in the mirror before thinking what u do.. u want fame ..its clear from ur targets gandhi and asaram.. but if u want womens to be really uplifted and not used as sexual toys ..u gotta think again.. and talk about everbody.. if u get ur facts right u will find that this muhammad was also no diff than this asaram..
    also think about the author who was killed recently in Afghanistan..and taslima and rushdie)

    • September 9, 2013 11:20 am

      Mitr — My book ‘Sex and Power’ looks at the attitude of sex and sexuality in 5 different periods in India. And yes, to answer your question, I have done a critical analysis of all the other religions and personalities from those historical periods in India: which includes Buddhism, Islam and Christianity. Here is a small bit on what I wrote about Buddha: What was Buddha’s Issue with sex and women. Research is my primary field, and I have never been squeamish about facing facts regardless! The book has detailed citations, book, page number etc if that’s what you are looking for.

    • Mitr Manav permalink
      September 10, 2013 12:32 am

      what i look forward from you is that as a secular and independent person you must take a look at other religious leaders too.. a good link I found recently:
      http://www.answering-islam.org/Silas/mo_sex.htm

    • September 11, 2013 11:08 am

      Mitr I always have. I’ve spoken about ALL religions, leaders, countries, nations, races. I’ve written about the Pope and about Buddha.

  20. September 9, 2013 2:52 am

    @Samir Chatterjee – ‘father of the nation’ doesn’t mean his ideas can’t be questioned or criticised from today’s perspective. if he championed the method of non-violent politics and played a big part in India’s independence, that doesn’t automatically mean he was right about everything. And I doubt that any of his contemporary leaders which you named (e.g. Nehru, Subhas Bose, Ballav bhai Patel and Maulana Abul Kalam Azad ) took Gandhi’s views on celibacy, women, (and castism) seriously. And even if we suppose for a moment that he was right about everything he said, still there is no harm in reflecting on it critically.

    So It seems that your response to the above article is emotionally motivated and reactive.

    Further I think that any progressive society must critically analyse and research all aspects of the character, personality & thoughts of its great heroes and legends, because the stories and ideas of these people command a lot of reverence and popularity and it would be dangerous to blindly follow all their ideas without questioning. personalities like Gandhi which enjoy worldwide following must be thoroughly analysed so that people know clearly the eccentricities and follies of their character, and also what part of their personality made them as great as they are.

  21. Dr Pritam Singh permalink
    September 9, 2013 11:36 am

    Some one has objected to Bose being put in the category of Gandhi followers and I think that that objection is certainly right on political grounds. Would you Rita Banerje, tell us the results of your reseach and thinking on Bose’s views on sex and gender.

    • September 9, 2013 6:59 pm

      Dr. Pritam Singh — He was in love with Emilie Schenkl, married her later. Unlike Gandhi who was really awful to his wife, abusive (he never apologized for the abuse and violence he inflicted on her because he believed it was for her own good; apparently she learnt from it!) Bose regarded his wife as a friend and companion with whom he shared his thoughts and aspirations — and there are a series of letters on that too. Bose, like Ambedkar and other prominent leaders of their time, were opposed to many of Gandhi’s political positions and ways. However, I do believe that Bose’s stand on aligning with the Nazis and later the Japanese would have compromised India in a worse way than it was with the British.

    • Dr Pritam Singh permalink
      September 9, 2013 8:14 pm

      Thanks Rita for this gem of a piece on Subhash Bose. I think that there are two political currents in India in the early part of the 20th century: Gandhi/Nehru/Patel troika (despite some differences between them) and Bose/ Ambedkar/ Bhagat Singh (despite lack of enough contact between them). Indian state has systematically tried to build through all channels the legitimacy of the first for obvious reasons and a large part of the Indian Intelligentsia has just lapped that up and finds sharp critical comments on the first troika (especially Gandhi because he was raised to the status of Mahatma) emotionally very distrubing. That is understandable but the task of critical evaluation such as yours must go on. It is in, fact, very encouraging that you have had many appreciative comments and that indicates that the time to deconstruct the ruling troika’s hegemony has arrived.

  22. September 9, 2013 1:22 pm

    To malign someone based merely on unproven allegations, and especially when the matter is under investigation / subjudice, is unacceptable to say the least. My full response to this article is available here: http://gurudas108.wordpress.com/2013/09/09/when-zeal-overshadows-reason/

  23. ABILASHA permalink
    September 9, 2013 1:42 pm

    Hello Samir,
    There are lots of facts missing in your article.
    1.Girl is 16yrs old
    2. “Both Gandhi and Asaram commanded followers in the millions”- Here you used the word command. People are not idiots or slaves, there are also learned people for whom both where idols. If they like they follow and they hear to thier words.
    3. 3rd paragraph- You have given an article on making valentine day as asaram asked for. Simply putting blind article does not work. You need to do background studies on this valentine’s day and tell me why in India pple need this day. Secondly give me the video or audio where both call sex as sin. Remember that abstinence is what they go through, they are on enforcing it on people, they suggest. And there are lots of grihasta(hope you know what it means) who have idoled both.
    4. Practically through Mathru Basha we learn the culture. Here we converse mostly in English and we adapt lots of western way of living and moving around.
    5. If you have keenly noticed personally Gandhi tried to control his sexual pray which he has written in his book but you need to know difference between preaching and enforcing. Both had sons of their own and in the videos or audios which I dont find any such adverse enforcement. Please highlight that in your article with facts.
    And there are lot many to quote. You say that Asaram followers attacked the mediaperson. The media which you right now quote has hid the Muzafarnagar riot for 10 days and you take that and run this article with belief.

    I donot know how many learned people introspect and put that facts. Honestly I see only emotions in your article. Place the facts and debate with it so its healthy and then there is argument. Just like that without even thinking twice just like mainstream media if you write an article then there is no difference between you and Mainstream Media who get money to bash on Hindus mainly and On culture of Bharat.

    You need to know he is Alleged not accused.Put points which proves his act and then go for some strong article.

  24. K.P Ajikumar permalink
    September 9, 2013 1:50 pm

    When i read “My experiments with truth”, i had so many questions about his sexual life. nobody was there to answer my questions. now i got all the answers. If you do experiments you can do everything, because it is experiment.
    Thank you
    you have done a great story.

    I think you better know about Nehru too………

    • September 9, 2013 7:03 pm

      Nehru never openly confronted Gandhi on these issues, though he has expressed his concern about the emphasis on religion, faith and blind following that was a part of Gandhi’s functioning. On Nehru’s personal life, he liked the company of women, and much has been said about his affair with Lady Mountbatten — a married woman. However, that was still a personal relationship between two consenting adults. Not the same as sexual exploitation of under-age girls who are under your care in your ashram!

  25. September 10, 2013 9:02 pm

    @Rita Banerji,

    According to you, Gandhiji preyed on women/girls… according to Joseph Lelyveld, Gandhiji was Gay… would be interesting indeed to see the two of you debate…

    History has an uncanny knack for being distorted… made apparent in the fact that… Jesus was a Jew who was crucified by the Romans, yet today its Rome that is the headquarters of the worlds largest Christian sect and them poor Jews who continue to get persecuted for supposed “selling out” by a Judas.

    Yours is a well written and a well meaning article though, just like Joseph Lelyveld’s

    • September 11, 2013 11:07 am

      As Freud say we are all bisexual🙂 But I don’t mean to joke with this — because these were underage girls, and any child psychologist who goes through their diaries and letters that exchanged information about what was happening and the responses of these girls, its a very clearly child sexual abuse. But the thing is even now — with people in high places, the others surrounding them almost offer this abuse as a privilege to the men. The Vatican and the Pope covered for paedophile priests. Then there is the BBC. So it’s happening everywhere but what is frightening is how people around these predators go along along with them.

  26. Krisnakumar permalink
    September 11, 2013 12:13 am

    Rita – I really believe that you are doing a wonderful thing. Let people start thinking in a different way and conclude on their on part. Why some people are coming and blindly attacking before even reading or understanding fully? I can not understand!!!

  27. September 11, 2013 8:40 pm

    I think it is a really good article. And to all those who say that you will not get support if you attack Gandhi, they are wrong. Though you have gone a bit overboard when you compare Gandhi to Asaram Bapu. Though in this regard, the comparison is valid to a large extent I think.

    I also think celibacy as a practice is very overrated. Sexuality is an important part of one’s personality and there is no way that it is wrong or dirty as is portrayed.

    One more thing I would like to point out to people is that one should view every person or idea on the merit of it. One should’nt accept something because some great/famous person said it or because religion says it. I may be digressing from the issue, but that is exactly why religion has become a tool at the hands of a few people to exploit the vast majority and particularly women.

    Every person has good qualities and bad qualities. Nobody said that Gandhi did’nt do anything good in his life, but these “experiments” definitely showed his ugly side.

    I guess people should’nt place others on a pedestal. When they do, they accept everything this person says/does as right. This leads to a lot of problems. One should try to be objective in judging everyone and everything, especially when religion is involved.

    There is a very famous quote by George Carlin- “Tell people there’s an invisible man in the sky who created the universe, and the vast majority believe you. Tell them the paint is wet, and they have to touch it to be sure.”

  28. Jayasankar permalink
    September 14, 2013 3:02 pm

    i do not fully agree with Rita Banerji. .Had the Rita Banerji had told about Nehru’s sexual deeds i would have appreciated.her. Because Nehru is sex perverted man.. He had many wives. one is ENGLISH LADY and Mrs. Mountbatain. .Gandhi and Bose at one stage did not see eye to eye. Gandhi always had a soft corner to Nehru.The Destroyer of India.

    My foremost Question to Rita Banerji, can you write against Mullah’s and Christian Fathers and Priest’s who Commits and had Comiited more Sexual Crimes than Assram Babu’s In India. Media is Biased towards Hindu’s.so is people like Rita Banerji. If you have guts write against Islam and Christianity. if you do not have shut your Mouth.

  29. ravi permalink
    September 14, 2013 8:21 pm

    Excellent article. Truth always hurts. Only brave people can write , read, or face the truth.

  30. Sandeep arya permalink
    September 15, 2013 9:29 am

    wonderful written, but Indian people don’t believe because of Blind-Faith that’s the main reason of in India More Women abuse.

  31. Prashant P permalink
    September 15, 2013 12:00 pm

    Me not a writer, hence going beyond grammar, but please try and understand the sentiments.

    If people don’t know you, then you say something that will touch millions.
    Then whole population looks at you. And you get double… (Positive + negative) publicity. And of which, many of today’s aspirants (I would say armatures) are hungry of. In this competitive world, it’s just a shortcut to fame. I can understand the hard work gone into creating this article, but the real motive is quite clear.
    The person in subject has ideology that no one in this world have challenged until now, hence usually people who want to stand against, would choose alternative path.
    Just another example, nothing much in this relation, Few days back some one (stupid) said about separating Mumbai from Maharashtra. I am sure no one in Maharashtra (or even in Mumbai) has thought on this subject. Like, there is no question at all. But then if you say this your name is automatically published.
    Similarly there is no question of comparing Asharam with Mahatma. Like, it’s quite pathetic to do so. How if someone compares Gandhi with Hitler or Osama, even they have high number of followers.. Point is people with same motives can be compared, how about comparing with Martin Luther King? Motives are different? Or comparing Alexander with Chengezh Khan?
    The person in news these days has nothing to do with national progress or nation building, rather he has made his empire and lots of self-property. The other person in comparison has literally changed whole world, without making anything for himself or family? Thought of Humanity? Was it heard of before?
    Following his words, I would just simply IGNORE this article, and continue my work 

  32. Prasanna Kumar Acharya permalink
    September 15, 2013 2:13 pm

    Dear Rita

    It is very very common today to raise a storm in the name of somebody enjoying an occult status. In the process he/she gets fame as well as fortune. While I don’t have any intent to offend you, I just wanted to say, none of the people you have involved in your studies are living today to derive the truth. Sometimes, somebody’s fantasy may spoil somebody with no fault of him. It is very difficult to judge who is right and who is wrong unless until there is a clear cut communication in the presence of the people in question. Something which is taboo today may become acceptable or questionable tomorrow.

    Waiting for your response.

  33. Paul Mann permalink
    September 15, 2013 11:26 pm

    @ Sameer, I guess you are smart guy but failed to understand the whole writing. For your knowledge Gandhi & Nehru always worked in proximity to British. You forget to mention Bhagat Singh, RajGuru , Kartar Singh Sarabha etc. who laid down their lives for the freedom. Gandhi refused to save Bhagat Singh, Rajuru etc through his connections with his masters this was one of the reasons he got killed. there was a post with regards to this on Facebook. The history is India is distorted and not written fairly. FYI- He is just called by politicians father of Nation but this title was never given to him by Nation called Bharat. He was also racist/Firku http://centralsikhmuseum.com/the-sikhs-and-gandhi/

    ps-Never mean to hurt anyone but we need to discuss so called saints…

  34. September 16, 2013 12:49 pm

    Reblogged this on REVOLUTIONS IN MY SPACE: A BLOG BY RITA BANERJI and commented:

    We are all accountable when we allow men we worship/ idealize/ idolize/ follow/ to get away with crimes we wouldn’t allow ordinary men to get away with.

    • sthabir permalink
      September 16, 2013 2:42 pm

      great!! i always thought there should be a psychoanalytical study on the Bapu/s (original and thereon). great that someone has already done it. very very relevant. luckily it is published by penguine thus has passed the rigor test. society requires such brave heart who do not behave like one in a flock of sheep.

  35. Lucky permalink
    September 16, 2013 4:14 pm

    Truth is Betr… Now i m Cleard . Thanks

  36. aroup chatterjee permalink
    September 16, 2013 7:03 pm

    I am totally anti Gandhi but I do not think he was a hypocrite. he was messed up about sexuality, science, logic, fine arts and even politics. He was a very backward man in most respects and hence is the ideal person to be India’s father of the nation. I do not think he ‘touched’ any of the women he ‘experimented’ with. Phulrenu Guha, who was one such woman grew up well rounded and a powerful politician

  37. Manmeet permalink
    September 16, 2013 11:23 pm

    Rita, great article!! I Sincerely hope that the truth about these pseudo-mahatmas comes to light… I’m tired of seeing people defending such hypocrits like MK Gandhi and these Babas and Swamis!!

  38. Jerry Joseph permalink
    September 17, 2013 12:25 pm

    In your enthusiasm to criticise Asaram, you have made a comparison with Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, a man whom Albert Einstein said, “Generations to come, it may well be, will scarce believe that such a man as this one ever in flesh and blood walked upon this Earth.” Mountbatten at the time of Gandhi’s death remarked that Gandhi will go down in history at par with Buddha and Jesus. Unlike Asaram, Gandhi’s experiments with sex came to be known to the world only because Gandhi revealed all those to the general public. So Gandhi’s truthfulness can’t be questioned. This is in complete contrast to the ways in which many of our leaders behave – both in the Left & the Right stream.
    Look at the way some of our own elites behave. Last month there was a report that Hyderabad University Vice Chancellor built a swimming pool in his compound and spent more than 3 crores from University budget to renovate his bungalow. When press people asked him about this, he said that these forms an asset to the University .Our M.P.s, M.L.As, Ministers, bureaucrats and senior officials are spending crores to renovate their offices and for their expensive lifestyles. Compare this with the lifestyle of Gandhi. He even shed his upper clothing to identify with the poor of India. He kept his life’s expenses to the bare minimum. He travelled only by the 3rd class compartment of Indian Railways. Several times he stayed in slums and brought the mighty Congress leaders to these slums to make them understand the harsh reality of a country they are going to rule. Though many of these acts were symbolic only, these symbols carry great messages as many in our ruling class forget that they are ruling over a country in which millions do not have bare minimum things for a decent life.
    Gandhi decided to abstain from sex only after the rise of spiritual consciousness in him. He is very frank about his earlier high sexual drive. As Indians we often keep sexuality and talk on sexual issues under a veil. So we often find faults with Gandhi’s plain speaking. Asaram, and the whole host of other god men have ensured that sex was seen as sinful, as celibacy or sperm-preservation was important and spawned a culture of not merely repression but by extension self-loathing. Gandhi on the contrary experimented with sex and fasting. Fasting was the most powerful weapon Gandhi unleashed. For Gandhi, fasting was the best way to allow the spirit to dominate the flesh. Like sexual continence, Gandhi viewed fasting as an essential element for spiritual progress. In most of the Indian households, spiritually inclined people used to fast earlier. In today’s materialist world, people may laugh at such measures as most of us have become slaves to consumerist doctrines. But please remember that Gandhi developed fasting into a true political weapon. During his political career, 16 times he fasted. Twice his fast had covered 21 days which led him almost to the point of death. Only a true spiritualist can experiment with one’s own body like that. Those who do not understand Gandhi and who have not undertaken even a small fraction of his sacrifices can easily criticize Gandhi. Here Rita Banerji is precisely doing that. Gandhi does not need a certificate from people like Rita Banerji. He is there in the hearts of millions of Indians. The intellectual exercise Rita Banerji undertakes shows how little she can reach up to the heights where Gandhi is standing. Frauds like Asaram Bapu are there everywhere. But genuine voices like Gandhi are not forgotten because of the interplay of frauds.

    • September 17, 2013 5:24 pm

      OK Jerry — you are a Gandhi devotee. We get that. But you still don’t answer the question. Gandhi was very open about his sleeping naked with underage girls. So how do you deal with this information. This is what we would like to know?

  39. Sanjana permalink
    September 18, 2013 1:08 am

    I am highly impressed with the authors views and approach to bring justice and equality for women in the country. I don’t see any other best way than this. Your views either make complete sense or no sense to everyone who reads it, but in both the cases you prove that you are one with a very unique rare and different approach for women equality and rigts.. Best wishes for future and keep writing, please!

  40. vinod permalink
    September 18, 2013 1:41 am

    Hi rita , It was really good to read the the way you use Gandhi to camouflage your materialistic zeal . let me address everyone who is reading this article and commenting . Who is this rita , before this article i never heard her name but after reading this article i’m posting a comment which is taking my precious 10-20 minutes and this time investment of mine adds value to your article . I really feel sorry for you if you have some agenda and wants do do something for Indian women go for a fight based on practical basis not defaming a person like GANDHI at-least . If your article doesn’t appear well and people comment on it you tell them upfront DON’T READ . You are not doing justice with your readers too and it shows your irresponsible attitude towards your profession., may be you are good at throwing stones and enjoying ripples , but again using Gandhji’s name is not good …. From the very childhood he is our role model . This article you have written on Gandhi then to justify your talk you will jump on Krishna , Ram , then Panchali .. this way you will get distracted from your so called HELPING INDIAN WOMEN so take chill pill and get back to your ground and startover with positive attitude but this time don’t do such cheap stuff ” Gaining Fame defaming grt people ” Regards😉

  41. Nitin permalink
    September 18, 2013 11:47 am

    Nice article

  42. Sriram permalink
    September 20, 2013 2:07 pm

    Hi Rita, Thank you for passionately advocating the cause of the LOST women of India. I applaud your singular dedication to the cause. That being said, I’m an admirer of Gandhiji. While I have read about these allegations before and perhaps if I personally were in the position of a relative of any girls, would not have allowed it to happen, on all accounts, Gandhiji had a sterling character. He was persnickety perhaps in many ways, mostly prudish with regards to sex perhaps, but I don’t buy he was a molester that at all. Sorry a girl crying is still not smoking gun evidence. I encourage you to provide more credible information before placing Gandhiji in the same witness box as Asaram Bapu.

    • September 21, 2013 3:21 pm

      @Sriram — This is not new information about Gandhi. It was all out in the open. Gandhi himself talked about it and you’ll find it in his autobiography. It made some of his ashram associates very uncomfortable, and one of his closest aides in fact resigned over it. But it absent in our school text books, because the Indian historians don’t know how to deal with this information, so they leave it out. Those who write history text books for general reading, will include it but explain it by saying things like he was no ordinary man and that this was a big, philosophical question he was asking or battling with ‘My experiments with Truth’ which is what he called it. And so it was ok for him to try this, but the rest of us mortals should not because we don’t have his great spiritual advancement etc. I am personally am against idealizing any person for this reason. I think that as intelligent, human beings, we need to ideas, philosophies of the past, of persons, and have the ability to both agree and disagree with the things a historical person did. To make our own choice of the things we want to take into our lives from the people who inspire us, and leave out the things we don’t want.

  43. Sunand permalink
    September 22, 2013 4:38 pm

    If it is so easy for our politicians / yogis / religious heads to drive mobs in the dawn of this 21st century I hardly doubt the capabilities of a learned few to impose their ideologies on the abundant illiterate uneducated people a century back. Gandhi touched the heart of millions?? Or are they those millions who came united to fight an alien force who made their lives miserable and intolerable?? Did they care about the path they took for achieving their goal?? The thought of Freedom was their weakness and I believe they would have followed any one who would have shown them a path!
    As far as i understand Rita is not addressing or dishonoring Gandhi’s political achievements and what India benefited from him. She has pointed something wrong and we should take effort to understand its authenticity rather than ignoring it on an influential word ‘Gandhi’. If we blindly believe what we hear then is there a difference between us and the followers of say ‘Asaram Bapu’ ?
    Thank you Rita for this post, atleast I will try to know how true the truth is🙂

  44. September 23, 2013 12:44 pm

    Hi Rita, Thanks for your reply. I completely agree with your perspective that we should not idealize any person!! As an admirer of Gandhiji, my own view has been that it is the greatest failure by intellectuals of the era to have placed Gandhiji on this superhuman pedestal causing most Indians to venerate/fear/disregard/disparage him rather than aspire to be like him (at least the aspects that one finds agreeable). I admire Gandhiji but these experiments of his make me very uncomfortable as well. From the perspective of an unbiased historian though, how would you suggest that they should have recorded this? Surely, a historian cannot suggest without concrete stronger objective evidence that Gandhiji was a molester. I mean the assumption of innocent until proven guilty is a basic tenet and on a practical note for someone to accuse someone of Gandhiji’s stature (spiritual or otherwise), you have to deal with the burden of stronger than usual proof to deal with inevitable public backlash. And hence, while I acknowledge your right of an opinion, I disagree with you stacking Gandhiji and Asaram Bapu together without more evidence. Insinuation/circumstantial evidence does not mean crime was committed although more investigation may be required, which is exactly what I’m saying.

    • October 3, 2013 12:51 pm

      Even if there is no way to establish that he raped these girls or sexually molested them in other ways, just having them lie in bed naked with him is an act of sexual molestation. That was what the whole Michael Jackson case with young boys was about. It is not ok. And the odd thing is there were people in his own ashram who furiously resented and protested. A man called Parashuram who wrote a 16 page letter, really angry letter to Gandhi 1947 before he resigned basically said that he had no right to do this. I will post that letter later on. But he says that everyone knows in and around the ashram, and the reason he kept quiet was because he thought others will object. But they didn’t. And that he had lost part of the respect he had for him before he joined his ashram. But I read it and think that people in Ganhi’s time, who worked with him had the conscience to challenge his ethics on this, what is wrong with us today?

    • Dr Pritam Singh permalink
      October 3, 2013 10:04 pm

      Parashuram letter would be really useful.

    • October 5, 2013 11:45 am

      Dr. Singh, Please give me a few days and I’ll post a link here.

    • October 15, 2013 7:25 pm

      Dr. Pritam Singh — Here’s a post which has Parasuram’s letter to Gandhi http://www.youthkiawaaz.com/2013/10/gandhi-used-power-position-exploit-young-women-way-react-matters-even-today/

  45. September 24, 2013 12:19 am

    I applaud your commitment to speaking the truth, even when it challenges the myths we have about our leaders. Keep speaking, you inspire me and others to do the same.

  46. October 7, 2013 11:41 pm

    excellent article in my opinion, and if read carefully, it actually does cover both the sides of the coin, one of them being the obvious, and one being the opposite of obvious(Gandhi’s sexual passion). To all those who think gandhi brought freedom to the country, he didn’t, it wouldn’t have made a difference if he was not there, because in the end, the Britishers left because they had gone bankrupt in WW 2, and so had to leave india,BUT , gandhi too was a human being, and much like anyone else, had sexual desires and tried to hide them, in my opinion, this article is not meant to show that Gandhi was a bad person, but to show he was just another person, and ought not be made into an idol and preached……

  47. Prayag permalink
    October 9, 2013 10:16 pm

    Please read more about Gandhi and his life before taking his name in the same breath as Asaram Bapu. Please realize that that man, more than anyone else, brought you the freedom you so take for granted today. The same freedom that lets you condemn him so openly. And with such little justification.

    Yes, he was human. Yes, he experimented with celibacy. Yes, it may have been traumatic in some way, to the women involved. But in no way is it even vaguely comparable to Asaram Bapu and his rapes. It is utterly ludicrous to compare them. This is poor research, and unethical, history-distorting, malicious writing.

  48. Anshu permalink
    October 15, 2013 11:32 pm

    great article! kudos Rita Banerji. Following should be supported by rationale and reasonable ways, not just because ‘everyone is jumping in the well, so should I’.🙂. Thanks to you.. I wasn’t knowing so deeply about these though I always wondered why Gandhi was so close to females in most of his pictures…!

  49. Abhishek Jain permalink
    October 16, 2013 6:39 am

    Hi Rita,
    I dont want to say that I agree or disagree with you. The thing is that no one is perfect. If someone is perfect, then He/She is no less than God. The point I want to make is that we should always look into positive aspect of a person. We should not dig into negative past. Your story is probably true because I had heard about it from independent source much before your book or this article was published. But still we should be wise in our words. There are faults in everyone, even religion is not perfect. But we should not prove the people that their religion is all false. This is because though it may be false or wrong, but it is a way the people have been living and they are doing good. Think about the time when all people believes that there is nothing like Sin, there will be chaos. Even the most educated knows that religion is something that is made by people but still they follows it because it works. Similarly I would request you to show Gandhijis good Deeds. Because it has been binding and inspiring people. He had made people do good things and this is good enough. If one person can inspire a huge chunk of humans to be good and follows good, then all his Sins can be neglected. Think about it deeply. I know you believe that people should know the truth but you are forgetting that one truth that can create choas is worse than million lies. If you had written that Gandhiji being so great also had flaws then I think people may have understood. But comparing him to Asharam is not right. Rest is your wish. Remember spiderman movie: “With great power comes great responsibility”. You are the wise one and you are in a position to judge right and wrong but the masses are not so dont try to give them facts that they are not ready to understand. Always try to circulate positive energy among masses and try to avoid negative interactions. We should only learn from mistakes and wrong deeds from our past, but we should not dig into things like you are that will portray someone from the past as evil and particularly the person who is inspiring and will be inspiring masses.
    I hope you understand my point.

  50. Vidyakant permalink
    October 16, 2013 1:26 pm

    Indeed an article written with intent to reveal the side of Mahatma Gandhi not praiseworthy. That being said, there’s no denying that had it not been for Gandhi, we still would have been slaves under British rule. You can say whatever you may, role of Subhas Chandra Bose and many other revolutionaries , it was Gandhi and only him who knew that rationality if Britishers can be fought with rational approach only. Through his principle of non violence, he was the one who showed them the gate. He emphasized on self reliance and taught others through abolishing foreign clothes and wearing home woven piece of cloth. He represented India as a whole by wearing a simple dhoti to symbolise the poorest India to feel their pain. It is true his idea of celibacy was intolerable to anyone known to him and should be, but he was not God. What he did was his experiment to control sexual desire towards opposite sex. I also share the opinion that this was very wrong of him for we are social and this is totally inacceptable . But comparing him with Asaram is just absurd. You cannot compare Gandhi who struggle all his life and fought against Britishers single handedly that too without killing anyone and just by using his principle of ‘ Ahimsa’ to a so called godman Asaram who first and foremost motive was satisfying his sexual desires wearimg a cloak of ‘ Sant’ and cheating people who actually believe in such absurd ‘Sant’ stuff. These Babas whatever Nirmal they may be just know how to use blind followership of people, sitting in a golden throne , air conditioned rooms and Swiss Bank balance . Gandhi was a totally different person and in no way comparable to these so called messengers of God ‘ Sant’.

  51. Abir permalink
    October 16, 2013 7:48 pm

    Please Read Gandhi’s book “Control of the Self”. and watch this bengali movie named ‘cosmic sex’. it will change your perception about Gandhi.

    • Abir permalink
      October 16, 2013 7:51 pm

      And yes, there is no comparison between Gandhi and Asaram. Gandhi was not a saint. he always used to say i have as many weaknesses as any human being. His sexual philosophy is highly under read and misunderstood specially by feminists

  52. October 19, 2013 3:29 am

    What non-sense! Gandhi’s sleeping naked with naked women could at worst be deemed “sick” (it actually was utterly sick, in my opinion). But, Gandhi did not do that for his own “pleasure”, and I don’t have any reason to believe that the women doing that were forced in anyway. And, did he ever hide this practice? No, because he did so with pure intentions (it, however, doesn’t make the practice any less sick, in my opinion). Comparing Gandhi with a fraud like Asaram is preposterous, at the least. And, there is a number of references of how Gandhi and his followers took this practice available all over internet and literature. None of them tends to show anything that could make Gandhi appear in a dark spot. If somebody is not hiding something, and are not apologetic about it, they are being truthful. And, truth is probably the biggest virtue a human being can have, and that Gandhi lived all his life upholding.

  53. ALOK PRUSTY permalink
    October 20, 2013 3:21 pm

    Samir Chatterjee, lot of people followed Hitler blindly too. does that mean he was a pious person. and Netaji never actually followed Gandhi. Please get your facts right. your comments stink of fascism and blind faith. Thanks to your comment, many more people ‘ll now try to try and find out the truth. the author really has no agenda. Political parties have agenda. n Gandhi was one of them. the most famous nn successful brand ever created. Kudos to Rita Banerji for her courage n for not succumbing to blind faith.

  54. Harshad Vaswani permalink
    October 24, 2013 10:56 am

    to avoid all future controversy, I’d advise footnoting your sources. It would just help people see where youve got your information from themselves, and determine its reliability. And if they still dont do that, then theyre idiots and can be ignored.

    • October 25, 2013 3:48 pm

      Already answered. Check the book cited “Sex and Power: Defining History, Shaping Societies” (Penguin Books) for detailed references.

  55. October 25, 2013 7:24 pm

    This article’s been an eye-opener. As it often happens, the deeds of great men are praised glowingly throughout history, with sparse attention reserved for others in the picture. A balanced analysis of the good and the bad hardly constitutes verbal vandalism. I’ve discarded the selective blindfold that’s only portrayed the scrupulous side of idolized humans of the past/present age so far. Thanks for a good read.

  56. November 1, 2013 9:53 am

    This is a fearless post indeed and I love reading this! People may react differently on this but I would say, be an open minded person. Think twice.

  57. November 19, 2013 7:40 pm

    Reblogged this on Right Wing Nuts and Bolts and commented:
    In “Malcolm X”, the great awakening in his life comes when he realizes that the great leaders for whom he gave his life in service were, in reality, nothing more than financial and sexual opportunists. There is an unspeakably great responsibility for true spiritual leaders not to fall to the very temptations they decry. Many do so from weakness, but many more only use the cloak of their position to prey upon the unsuspecting sheep. May they be eternally condemned!

    While I decry feminism, a blatant attempt of women to dominate society, I also decry the depths of sexual exploitation and butchery perpetuated by these demons in the guise of gurus. In America, while less obvious, sexual slavery is also alive and growing. Human trafficking is, has been, and always will be a problem of epidemic proportions. Though I am a Christian, I recognize that there are as many wolves leading the Christian flocks as there are anywhere else. It has to stop! This is why it’s paramount for the people in the pews to know the truth for themselves, so that they can spot and remove such men immediately. Shame on those who prey on the innocent, and shame on anyone who condones it!

  58. November 27, 2013 1:34 am

    though gandhi’s proofs are in file photos bapu asaram has not even one

  59. January 23, 2014 3:38 am

    Reblogged this on Flip It Right Side Up.

  60. February 1, 2014 12:51 pm

    Your analogy is not obnoxious but sheer bullshit. Gandhi was not killed by Godse but ‘elites’ like you

  61. indian permalink
    June 17, 2014 2:23 am

    Why Rita, u r so much interested about the bad side of GANDHI? Can u name any one person/or even GOD, who do not have any bad side?Instead of writing this, why not u emphasize the good sides like non violence,swaraj etc. How would u feel if people becoming more interesting to discuss about ur bad nature(if any) than ur writing talent?
    Please remember, HE IS FATHER OF OUR NATION. Please understand the meaning of it. All who are criticizing GANDHI, can u have done at least 1 % of contribution made by GANDHI?

    • Ravi permalink
      September 9, 2014 4:38 am

      what was good in gandhi ? Nothig, but India is cursed to say Gandhi GOOD – His goodness has been very costlier for India as Partition and other evils prevailing in India in the name of Congress which is dragging India in Backward direction keeping People poor and illitrate

    • Indian Woman permalink
      October 3, 2014 9:50 pm

      The great Indian has spoken!
      Rita, why not focus on the good deeds done by Asaram? Why only talk about the rampant abuse of women in his ashrams?
      It is imperative for people to know the truth.
      How will you or I, as an Indian citizen feel when people like Asaram use Gandhi as an example to justify their own actions.
      Think.
      And if you can, think like a woman.

    • October 7, 2014 6:54 pm

      Yes, I don’t care when and where, what nationality. Men like this need their asses kicked! That’s thinking like a woman🙂

  62. August 12, 2014 10:06 am

    I like looking through a post that can make people think.

    Also, many thanks for permitting me to comment!

  63. Ravi permalink
    September 9, 2014 4:31 am

    This is an article very well crafted with facts and truth ,, simply superb and thanks a lot to Rita Banarji for this thought provoking article

  64. Woman! permalink
    October 8, 2014 11:54 am

    Gandhi used his position to sexually exploit women. Although some may say the women involved ‘agreed’ to it, the truth is these women were constantly depressed and would cry the entire night! Both the bapus were predators. Just how so many object to people talking about Gandhi’s murkier side, thousands of Asarma followers get violent when Asaram was accussed and arrested for crime against humanity! Just how Gandhi ‘taught’ some good values, Asarma also taught a few ‘good’ things like meditation.
    However, if Asaram is convicted of his sexual crimes, despite teaching a few good things to his followers, so should Gandhi be.

  65. Rinku Kumar permalink
    January 25, 2015 12:24 am

    Thnx mam for disclosing truth of Gandhi
    My friends were not believe fr ds which I want was telling them but I hope they will think abt it With different mind….

  66. Chevin permalink
    March 18, 2015 12:03 pm

    Hi Rita,

    Kudos for the well-researched article here. Came here from ‘Youth ki Awaaz’

  67. Jaichand permalink
    March 31, 2015 10:30 pm

    Do any media have guts expose Vatican sex scandals that are happening .?

    • June 10, 2015 10:48 am

      They usual suspects will be exposed by the usual outlets at the usual times when the usual tort cases come to light and are settled out of court for the usual eye-watering amounts. We have this down to a science in the USA. Occasionally a minor priest will be tossed to the angry mobs as a sacrifice but no upper clergy will be harmed nor find need to worry. The Vatican will then wonder why no one takes it seriously as a moral authority.

  68. Md. Jonny Hossain permalink
    April 2, 2015 8:58 pm

    It is a great job that done by Rita Banerji & I appreciate her for her brilliant job that taught us in the sense that we still have enough time to say the black if it belongs to black & say the white if it belongs to that group. We can’t deny this truth. Because one day the truth will be unearthed by its own way, no one can stop that from unveiling it. Finally I thank the writer for letting us know the truth.

  69. Anurag permalink
    April 7, 2015 5:41 am

    People like Samir Chatterjee who commented here, do not look at what they are writing critically. What is written here about Gandhi as a sexual predator has bothered me since my childhood. Glad Rita Bannerji took the topic head on.

  70. Jaspreet Singh permalink
    April 24, 2015 2:11 pm

    Exploiting girls is always easy for Persons in power. But how easily can they do that.
    I had read some comments above who are still trying to save Gandhi’s Image as a national hero. But i didn’t rely with their reply’s waht gandhi had done is very shameful act and now i understand why he had given that 3 Monkey’s shit so that no-one can say a word about that. And if people think that he had help us for getting freedom then they should take a break and think about that again. we got our freedom just because for the sacrifices that our freedom fighters made by giving their lives. I am not his followers and never understand his tactics and what is non-violence. he said that if a person’s slap on your one cheek that offer other one also. One should fight for his rights and for his family so that they feel secure with him, this is the real meaning of non-violence, that a girl feel safe with a man,no matter where they are.
    But sleeping with your own grand niece is just a shameful thing which i have ever heard,even animals don’t do this.

  71. May 31, 2015 10:40 am

    Reblogged this on Just being loved!!.

  72. Peter Whyte permalink
    June 1, 2015 9:48 pm

    1. For all those who say Gandhi’s sex life was his own, I believe it was no longer his own when he made it a point to publicly paint sex as something dirty & yet, indulge in it forcefully & secretly.
    2. How can the fate of women change when a so-called ‘father-figure’ set an example for the rapist of today who act with impunity ??
    3. “Thumbs Up” Rita & just ignore those comments from those who do not want to open their minds to the truth – I thought the days of horses with blinders were over –🙂

  73. Ankur Singh permalink
    June 7, 2015 5:08 am

    I really appreciate the light in which this information has come out as a shocker to some while as a revelation to others,but dont you think,Ms Banerji,that ‘construction of truth’ as explained by Foucault,is a very subjective matter? While it can be believed that the documents,which in this case,Parasuram’s letters,can build up the knowledge of Gandhi’s sexuality and experimentation done for it,the truth for most other cases is always under doubt and suspicion.Do you believe yourself to be liberal enough to understand and apprehend different ‘truths’ or are you alway ‘scrutinising neutrally and unbiasedly’???
    ::honest question::

  74. GR Bhat permalink
    June 30, 2015 5:57 am

    Thank you dear for providing important information. Your contribution is is praiseworthy

  75. Krunal permalink
    July 11, 2015 9:41 am

    Rita do you have any proofs on Asaram Bapu case or this is based on what you learned from media? The matter is in court of law, don’t you think as a responsible author ( if not at least a citizen) you should have some patience and let the truth revealed ? Have been following case closely ? Do you know if merely accusing by any girl proves the crime ? By the way that is the law, unfortunately pOSCO is all about that , with a single blame from minor can land a man in jail and he has to prove innocence from jail, ironical isn’t it ?

    Did you even bother to reveal that Jodhpur SP Lamba in a press conference agreed that no rape was proven , did you know that medical report confirms no rape ? Did you know that girls age itself is under question ? Do you know fir was changed a few times ? A girl molested in Jodhpur is from chindwada and files report in midnight in Delhi ?

    Do you know he is in jail for more than 20 months ? Point here is if proven guilty he will be punished , what gives right to you to count on ongoing conspiracy against someone’s for your fame ?

    You are nothing but a hypocrite who doesn’t care about truth but only benefit.

    Also there are plenty of saints who were defamed and put behind bars only to find out later that they were innocents ? Would you care scratch history again ?

    Also does your artical or book highlight proven sexual predation in Vatican and Madarasas ? These are so recent events that you won’t have to scratch history at all. If you dig you will have thousands of cases. Would you dare to reveal PROVEN sex abuses by Christian and Muslim leaders ?

    If you can’t then don’t blindly defame Indian and Hindu leaders whether political or spiritual. If you have facts then show it but why giving a verdict on your behalf. Do you even know not a single crime has been proved against Asaram Bapu ? That Sadhvi Pragya is in jail despite being a cancer patient and not even a charge sheet filed against her ? Time to look into your own character Rita. Think about it.

  76. vipul permalink
    July 11, 2015 10:14 am

    So nicely you are trying to publicise your book. But let me tell you, people don’t follow anyone blindly, neither you nor any saint. After going through your article I found that your argument has lot of assumptions and lack of information. For example, you quoted girl age as 15 years but please check what has been proved in the court. Also for Gandhiji, who fought for our freedom, considered the girls as his daughters and not sex ‘toys’.
    If you want to comment on someone please do it wisely. As I quoted no one will just follow you or anyone else blindly.

  77. Kirmani permalink
    August 9, 2015 5:56 pm

    Great job Rita, wonderful, the way I see it “you may be taking India to another freedom” those are absolutely my own views. Infact I see it as a greater service towards humanity.

  78. Kirmani permalink
    August 9, 2015 6:04 pm

    Just wanted to add, I have seen some people taking this in an entirely different direction, I appreciate the noble intention and objective initiated.

Trackbacks

  1. The Veil of Naivety: Religion & Misogyny | The Fire Breathing Feminist
  2. Gandhi to Asaram: Who Empowers the Sex Crimes of ‘Gurus?’ | The Sex and Power Discussion Blog
  3. Gandhi Used His Power And Position To Exploit Young Women. The Way WE React To This Matters Even Today | Youth Ki Awaaz
  4. In the city of Cerritos a statue of Gandhi symbolizes immorality and hypocrisy. — The Good Men Project
  5. Who is Bapu? | Impressions
  6. Von Gandhi bis Asaram: Wer ermöglicht „Gurus“ sexuelle Strafhandlungen? | The 50 Million Missing Campaign: "50 Millionen verschwunden"
  7. Top Posts in 2013 by the @50millionmissin on #Crimes Against #Women in #India | THE 50 MILLION MISSING CAMPAIGN BLOG ON INDIA'S FEMALE GENDERCIDE
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  10. Somalia Nation :: Somali Language | Gandhi Used His Position To Sexually Exploit Young Women. The Way WE React To This Matters Even Today
  11. Gandhi Used His Position To Sexually Exploit Young Women. The Way WE React To This Matters Even Today | TAR News
  12. Open Letter to Houston City Council: Permanently Removal of Hermann Park Gandhi Statue - Gandhism
  13. Gandhi Sexually Abused His Grandnieces - Gandhism

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