Interesting book out on Gandhi: Great Soul: Mahatma Gandhi and His Struggle with India...
Who can take a sunrise, sprinkle it with dew
Cover it with choc'late and a miracle or two
The Gandhi Man, oh the Gandhi Man can
The Gandhi Man can 'cause he mixes it with love and makes the world taste good
From the Wall Street Journal review:
Yet "Great Soul" also obligingly gives readers more than enough information to discern that he was a sexual weirdo, a political incompetent and a fanatical faddist—one who was often downright cruel to those around him. Gandhi was therefore the archetypal 20th-century progressive intellectual, professing his love for mankind as a concept while actually despising people as individuals.
Sounds about right, although far from the sanitized, revered icon he has become, which understandably brings down the wrath of those who would protect the myth.
He was also crazy and impractical (non-violence only really works on those with a sense of fair play, for example):
Starting a letter to Adolf Hitler with the words "My friend," Gandhi egotistically asked: "Will you listen to the appeal of one who has deliberately shunned the method of war not without considerable success?"
As Dr. Phil might say, "How's that working out for ya?"
He advised the Jews of Palestine to "rely on the goodwill of the Arabs" and wait for a Jewish state "till Arab opinion is ripe for it."
Yeah, we're still waiting to see which comes first - that or hell freezing over.
Even more delusional thinking:
Gandhi claimed that there was "an exact parallel" between the British Empire and the Third Reich, yet while the British imprisoned him in luxury in the Aga Khan's palace for 21 months until the Japanese tide had receded in 1944, Hitler stated that he would simply have had Gandhi and his supporters shot. (Gandhi and Mussolini got on well when they met in December 1931, with the Great Soul praising the Duce's "service to the poor, his opposition to super-urbanization, his efforts to bring about a coordination between Capital and Labour, his passionate love for his people.")
Ah, Mussolini, how we miss you - the trains running on time, the megalomania...
There's much more weirdness in Gandhi's life, but we all know the real story of his sexual passion from Seinfeld (Episode 4.18: The Old Man):
Mrs. O: That's when I began my affair with Mohandas.
Mrs. O: Mohandas.
Mrs. O: Oh, the *passion*. The *forbidden pleasure*--
Elaine: You had an affair with Gandhi?
Mrs. O: He used to dip his bald head in oil and rub it all over my body. Here, look... [shows Elaine a picture of the two together]
Elaine: Oh, my God... The Mahatma?
One annoying legend myth-busted.