Gandhi had Jewish architect lover, claims biographer

By Jennifer Lipman, March 28, 2011
Mahatma Gandhi

Mahatma Gandhi

A biographer of Mahatma Gandhi has claimed that the hero of Indian independence had a male Jewish partner who almost caused the break-up of his marriage.

In his book, Great Soul, former New York Times executive editor Joseph Lelyveld said Gandhi met German Jewish architect Hermann Kallenbach in 1908.

Mr Lelyveld said the pair became romantically involved during Gandhi’s time working in South Africa, but were separated at the beginning of the First World War.

In a letter to Mr Kallenbach quoted in the biography, Gandhi allegedly wrote that he would no longer "look lustfully upon any woman" and said: "How completely thou have taken possession of my body.”

Mr Lelyveld also alleged in the biography that Gandhi was a racist who considered black South Africans to be uncivilised.

Last updated: 4:07pm, March 28 2011