18 June, 2021

Bapu's Human Tryst

The Mahatma's attachment to a beautiful Bengali woman threatened his marriage, reveals his grandson.

Bapu's Human Tryst

For nearly 90 years, Gandhi's large family—which included, besides his wife, four sons, their wives and children, national leaders, fellow ashramites and freedom fighters and even his biographers—nursed one of the few secrets in his open-book life: a passionate love relationship the Mahatma had with a fiery beauty from Bengal called Saraladevi. She was a dazzling woman, by all accounts—belonging to the cream of Bengal's aristocratic intellectuals, a niece of Tagore's, a writer and musician who was hailed in her time as Bengal's Joan of Arc and goddess Durga come down to earth, and who drew around her a captivated circle of young men willing to fight and die at her instance. That Gandhi was clearly bewitched by her brilliance and beauty was no secret among his own circle of intimates, including C. Rajagopalachari, his sons, especially Devadas, and secretary Mahadev Desai, all of whom were worried enough to bring pressure upon him to end the affair for their sake and his. Even his wife Kasturba, one of the most unpossessive women in history, who took without a batting of an...

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