Home Political History of India Gandhi letters auction: Gandhi's son did not rape his daughter, but his sister-in-law, Tushar Gandhi had clarified in 2014

Gandhi letters auction: Gandhi’s son did not rape his daughter, but his sister-in-law, Tushar Gandhi had clarified in 2014

After saying that Hiralal actually raped the sister-in-law and not the daughter, Tushar Gandhi had gone on to castigate the media for "sensational reporting" and "incorrect translation".

The Media on 15th May reported that three explosive letters written by MK Gandhi were up for auction in England. Mullock’s Auctioneers, based in Shropshire county, were hoping that the letters would fetch anywhere between 50,000 pounds and 60,000 pounds. The set of three letters written by Mr Gandhi that go for auction were written in June 1935. The letters pertain to the behaviour of his eldest son, Hiralal who allegedly, according to Gandhi’s letters raped his own daughter even before she turned 8 years old.

In the letter, MK Gandhi, raising concern over his son’s behaviour had written, “You should know that your problem has become much more difficult for me than even our national freedom”.

The letter goes on to say, “Manu is telling me a number of dangerous things about you. She says that you had raped her even before she was eight years and she was so much hurt that medical treatment was also to be taken”.

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Manu was Hiralal’s daughter.

In another letter, Gandhi questions Hiralal about his drinking habit. He writes, “At least let me have the pure truth, please tell me if still, you are interested in alcohol and debauchery. I wish that you better die rather than resort to alcohol in any manner”.

These letters that are on auction in 2019 have not surfaced newly. Even in 2014, these very letters were put up on Auction. In 2014, Mullocks had expected to fetch 80,000 pounds for the letters but had found no buyers. In fact, they had reduced the asking price to 20,000 pounds and still, failed to find buyers. 

When these letters surfaced in 2014, Tushar Gandhi, the lineage of MK Gandhi had written a letter to the Media on DNA saying that in the letters, originally written in Gujarati, MK Gandhi was concerned about Hiralal raping his sister-in-law and not daughter.

Tushar Gandhi had written, “The translated excerpts are uneducated and out of context assumptions. I read the letters in its original form in Bapu’s handwriting and realised how wrong and may be mischievous the assumptions were. In the letter, Bapu confronts Harilal kaka’s relationship with his dead wife’s sister whom he, Harilalkaka, was contemplating marrying her”.

He goes on to say that MK Gandhi approved of the marriage because the sister-in-law was a child widow but he “wished that both first confess to their previous sins”.

He says, “In this context, he writes to Harilal kaka that his daughter Manu who was then staying with Bapu at Sevagram, Wardha had told him about Harilal Kaka having raped ‘her’ and ‘she’ required medical help. The ‘her’ here refers to the sister-in-law, not Manu, as alluded to in the sensational reports published in newspapers”.

After saying that Hiralal actually raped the sister-in-law and not the daughter, Tushar Gandhi had gone on to castigate the media for “sensational reporting” and “incorrect translation”. He said that the sensationalism had hurt the descendants of Gandhi and those of Hiralal.

Interestingly, even after Tushar Gandhi’s clarification in 2014 that MK Gandhi’s son had raped the sister-in-law and not his daughter, the media in 2019, which mainly carried a PTI wire, has reported that Harilal raped his daughter.

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