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Newslaundry compares Gandhi’s ‘experiments with celibacy’, where he slept naked with girls, to PM Modi’s marital status in a video targeting Prof Anand Ranganathan

To compare this with MK Gandhi's 'experiments' with celibacy where he admits that he slept naked with young girls and women against their will is an example of propaganda journalism that discovers new lows in their political hate.

On June 28, Newslaundry stooped to another low in journalism with a below-the-belt attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi. In a 24-minute video, under their section ‘Tippani’ (comment in English), Newslaundry’s Atul Chaurasia ranted against Professor Anand Ranganathan for his comments on MK Gandhi. During the video, Chaurasia tried to draw a strange parallel between Gandhi’s celibacy experiments and PM Modi’s married life.

Chaurasia said, “Gandhi bluntly believed in idealism. Gandhi himself told the world about his experiments with celibacy. He did not hide it. He used to sleep naked while his granddaughter lived in the same room. It was a strange experiment. His associates were also stressed about it. But if you are from ‘Ranga Bridage’, you will describe it as ‘Gandhi used to sleep with his granddaughter’. This is a cunning way of describing it. Sleeping with granddaughter and sleeping in granddaughter’s presence are two different things.”

He added, “Take the example of Modi Ji. He broke his relationship with his wife long ago. In this, one side will always justify Modi claiming ‘he got married at a very young age. At that time, maybe he was not able to think or do anything about the decision [of the family]. The decision of two families was forced upon him. It is not necessary that it was the right decision. We do not know the real truth. In the language Gandhi is being described, is Ranga Babu going to describe Modi in the same language? You know the answer.”

In this segment, Chaurasia essentially wonders why Anand Ranganathan would not use the same language for MK Gandhi (while talking about his experiments with celibacy) and PM Modi (talking about his marriage). While attempting to show that Ranganathan was somehow biased against Gandhi and favoured PM Modi, Newslaundry ended up displaying their own glaring bias by essentially comparing the two and saying that the same yardstick needs to be used while talking abut the two situations – which have nothing in common – insinuating that PM Modi’s marital status was somehow equivalent or comparable to MK Gandhi sleeping naked with young girls.

His atrocious comments came in response to Prof Ranganathan’s recent video on the controversy surrounding Gita Press getting the Gandhi Award that went viral. In his statement, Prof Ranganathan said giving Gandhi Prize to Gita Press was an insult to Gita Press. He added that the award should not have existed in the first place. He briefly picked several instances of Gandhi’s life, including sleeping with his grandnieces, asking Hindus to let Muslims kill them, and asking Jews to disarm Hitler by praying and denying medicine to his wife while she was on her death bed, among others.

Prof Anand Ranganathan mentioned his celibacy experiments only twice, that too vaguely. But someone in Newslaundry thought it would be best to compare PM Modi’s married life with it in an elaborate video targeting Anand Ranganathan for not toeing their line.

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi and his celibacy experiments – sleeping naked with young girls and women against their will

First of all, MK Gandhi did not sleep with his granddaughter but grandnieces and the sister of his personal secretary. Yes, there were three women, not one. Gandhi’s experiments were not limited to just sleeping with young girls and women naked. On October 2, 2020, OpIndia published a detailed report on his experiments based on available documents. Initially, MK Gandhi embraced Brahmacharya in 1906 when he was in his 30s. It included complete abstinence from sexual relationships with his wife, Kasturba Gandhi. Brahmacharya meant a complete change in his lifestyle, not just celibacy – it also included strict control on diet and other aspects of daily life. In 1907, he wrote, “It is the duty of every thoughtful Indian not to marry. In case he is helpless in regard to marriage, he should abstain from sexual intercourse with his wife.” According to him, sexual intercourse was justified only to have children and should be avoided at all other times.

However, things changed with time. His experiments with Brahmacharya got strange and bordered amounted to the abuse of young girls when he challenged his resolve to test himself. And thus began a series of experiments which the Newslaundry has now tried to justify. He had set up ashrams where he conducted his experiments, where boys and girls were to bathe together and sleep together. But they were to maintain chastity – they would be punished if there were any sexual talks. The rules of the ashram had forbidden married couples living in the ashram to sleep together, and Gandhi had advised that the husbands should not be alone with their wives. When they felt passion, they should take a cold bath; he had further advised.

Rules were different for Gandhi himself, who had started to surround himself with women to challenge his resolve. In the 1920s, Gandhi started resting his hand on the shoulders of young women during his morning and evening walks, whom he had jokingly referred to as his walking sticks. His grandnieces Abha and Manu were his regular ‘walking sticks’. After this started, elaborate daily massages were performed by young women in the ashram. The massage was followed by taking a bath, helped and accompanied by his female attendants.

Sushila Nayar, the sister of MK Gandhi’s personal secretary Pyarelal Nayyar, was his personal doctor who took care of MK Gandhi since her teenage years. She was his regular companion in taking baths. He had claimed that he didn’t look at Sushila while taking a bath together, saying he used to keep his eyes tightly shut.

Gandhi’s experiments also progressed as time progressed, which now involved young women sleeping with Gandhi naked. Initially, it was merely a sleeping arrangement, but it soon became a part of his experiments. This was his method of attaining the nirvana state of perfect Brahmacharya, to maintain abstinence while sleeping next to attractive young women naked. Apart from Sushila, his grandnieces Abha and Manu were his regular ‘sleeping companions’, along with other women in his Ashram.

As Gandhi grew older, the number of women surrounding him in the Ashram increased, particularly after the death of his wife, Kasturba, after Gandhi denied her treatment by Western medicine. More women were asked to sleep with him to test his control over his libido. While Gandhi slept naked with these women, they were not allowed to sleep with their own husbands in the Ashram.

Disclosing his experiments, he wrote in a letter to his Ashram manager Munnalal Shah Gandhi had written, “Abha slept with me for hardly three nights. Kanchan slept only one night. Vinas sleeping with me might be called an accident. All that can be said is that she slept close to me.” It may be noted that Kanchan was Munnalal’s wife, while Abha was the wife of Gandhi’s grandnephew Kanu Gandhi.

He went on to write, “What Abha and Kanchan told me was this; that she had no intention whatever of observing Brahmacharya, but wished to enjoy the pleasure of sex. She, therefore, stayed very reluctantly and undressed only for fear of hurting me. If I remember correctly, she was not with me for an hour. I then stopped both the women from sleeping with me, for I realised that Kanu and you were upset.” Gandhi then added that these three women were excluded from the experiment.

He then added, “I have deliberately included Pra. in the experiment. Maybe I should not. She often used to sleep with me to keep me warm even before I was conscious that I was doing an experiment. I used to draw her to me when she lay on the floor, shivering, for my sake.”

While many women slept naked with Gandhi, and some women were willing partners in his experiments, most did so at the insistence of Gandhi and not out of a free will. He had a strong personality, and it was very difficult to say no to him. Gandhi himself revealed it. In a letter to Krishnachandra, he wrote, “What I mean is that I have done naturally. Almost all of them would strip reluctantly. I have written— haven’t I?—that they did so at my prompting. If I wish to be a Brahmachari under all circumstances and want women also to be such, this is the one way. Now leave this matter alone and watch what happens.”

Gandhi led a very unusual life which would not be acceptable in today’s era, and legal action will follow if someone tries such ‘experiments’ today. Actually, it was not acceptable in that era. From his personal assistants to senior leaders like Jawaharlal Nehru, everyone criticised it. Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel had called it a “terrible blunder” and had asked him to stop it.

Newslaundry and the new low in journalism – comparing MK Gandhi’s questionable ‘experiments’ with PM Modi’s marital situation in a video targeting Anand Ranganathan

Prime Minister Modi got married when his wife, Jasodaben was 17. According to her own interview when Narendra Modi was declared BJP’s PM candidate, after marriage, when she came to his house, he would ask her why she came to her in-law’s house when she is so young. He would repeatedly ask her to pursue her studies and do well in life. She spoke about how the separation was amicable and her in-laws were always kind to her. Essentially, it was a marriage because the families decided so, however, it was evident that Modi’s heart was not in it. He had dedicated his life to his work and wanted Jasodaben to study and advance her career and life.

Jasodaben says that in the three years that they were together, Modi and she must have communicated for only three months in which he told her to pursue academics. She still wishes him well and hopes he succeeds.

Ultimately, it was a child marriage which ended with both parties going their separate ways amicably, with the woman going on to pursue her studies and becoming a teacher and the man going on to lead a country of 1.3 billion people.

To compare this with MK Gandhi’s ‘experiments’ with celibacy where he admits that he slept naked with young girls and women against their will is an example of propaganda journalism that discovers new lows in their political hate. MK Gandhi slept naked with young girls and women, sometimes, against their will. They were reluctant in getting undressed but Gandhi insisted. PM Modi separated from his young wife, urging her to pursue her studies and dedicated himself to the service of the people of his country.

Interestingly, Newslaundry had a previous working relationship with Anand Ranganathan. After they parted ways because of their ideological difference, the “journalists” and writers of Newslaundry constantly slandered Ranganathan and encouraged vicious abuse against him. Ranganathan refused to toe their Leftists line and paid the price for it. This video by Newslaundry was another attempt to slander Anand Ranganathan and in the process, slander PM Modi and all those who refuse to bow down to their insidious agenda.

Those who are aware of the lifestyle Gandhi followed in the backdrop of their ‘larger than life’ stature as “Father of the Nation”, “Mahatma”, or “Bapuji” can see how wrong Newslaundry is. Stooping low to the level where you compare Gandhi’s sexual experiments with naked women outside his marriage is disgusting and a blot on journalism.

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Anurag
Anurag
B.Sc. Multimedia, a journalist by profession.

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