*Dr.Angkayarkan Vinayaka Selvi

Department of English

Bharathidasan University

Tiruchirappalli – 620 024

**Mr.V.R. Anil Kumar

Research Scholar (Full -Time)

Department of English,

Bharathidasan University

Tiruchirappalli

India

 

Abstract                                                                                     

This paper proposes to examine the complexities involved explicitly in the Gandhi an sense of sexuality and brahmacharya as rendered in Jad Adam’s Gandhi: Naked Ambition. Attempt to revamp or comprehend Gandhi’s notions on sex and celibacy would invite ambivalent thought process for recognizing the purpose of it. Life- writers of Gandhi have placed this issuephilosophically sensational and morally controversial subject at several levels of interpretations. Since the sexual morality fluctuates from one cultural pattern to another, it would be an intricate social task to design an acceptable method for generalizing the very essence of sex and celibacy unequivocally. Jad Adams has critically focused on the views of Gandhi’s celibacy and brahmacharya, and he also severely blasted the image of Gandhi in the name of bramacharya and sexuality with his judgment and understanding. Though, he has criticized this conviction of Gandhi, many Gandhian admirers haveendeavored to philosophize it by comparing it to the views and practices of well-known mystic personalities. The paper also discusses the possibilities for an alternative sexuality wrapped with moral sensibility of thought and deed in the contemporary cultural praxis. The practice of brahmacharya and celibacy with the medium of truth and non-violence propagated by Gandhi is taken for a serious discussion, and critiqued the position of Jad Adam’s with suitable justification. Gandhian conviction of brahmacharya and sexuality are complex cultural phenomena to be practiced in an ordinary life, but a slice of an idea from his thought could be used today for eradicating few social menaces. The relevance of Gandhian sense of sexuality and celibacy in the contemporary age of cyber culture has also been scrutinized.

This paper proposes to focus on the presentation of Gandhian sense of sexuality and celibacy as a method to attain the spiritual goal of brahmacharaya in the life-referential text Gandhi: Naked Ambition (2010) by Jad Adams.Understanding the reality of a person or an object becomes more conspicuous when it is analyzed through the systems of representation. The process of representing a life of any person in any mode could be based on an agenda. Every endeavor in representing the life of a person could be grounded on polemics. The procedure of the life writing activity is not simple but a complex process. Arguing for and against a person’s life is a general human tendency, and from this strategic disposition, there emerges the possibility of biography as a valid kind of literature. Represented versions of the life of Mahatma Gandhi in biographies, fictions and films give an impression that how stimulating is the subject of Gandhi.  Gandhian biographers have attempted to characterize Gandhi not only to display the idealized versions of his life and praxis but also to critique the flaws in his personal life and socio-political misjudgments. The life-writing is an important task for tracing objectively the multiple voices of a person. Each of the biographers has approached the life of Gandhi with an intention to decipher all the unexplored complications affiliated to his experiments with life. Therefore, this paper endeavors to trace how Gandhi is represented in the biography of Jad Adams Gandhi: Naked Ambition (2010). Before disclosing how the life is narrated in these biographies of Gandhi, it would be essential for placing a brief understanding of the genre called biography.

The biography is a genre which describes as well as records the life of an individual in a specific narrative pattern. In biography, the life has to be represented by considering the facts and events of one’s life. A holistic assessment of an individual’s life is the base for the life-writing or life referential writing. Biography is one of the most popular areas of study providing sense of history, inspiration, didacticism, entertainment, and above all understanding life of a person.Though the making biography is a process of recording the significant phases of one’s life, it is not similar to the process of historiography. In historiography, the facts regarding a person or an event are presented in a scientific manner but in biography the author has the right to make the facts more creative. Ian Bruce Nadel quotes in his Biography: Fiction, Fact and Form (1984) the views of Virginia Woolf as presented inThe Art of Biography(1915) thus: “Almost any biographer, wrote Woolf, if he presents fact, can give us much more than another fact to add to our collection. He can give us the creative fact; the fertile fact; the fact that suggests and engenders. For Woolf this is the greatest asset of the biographer, making him equal to the novelist in creative power and importance” (7).

InThe Oxford Companion to English Literature (2006)the biography has been defined as, “biography is as old as gossip, and may be as ephemeral…it has achieved a Golden Age, and found a favored if controversial place in literature and intellectual life. It has risen to power as virtually a new genre, challenging the novel in its ability to depict character and explore ideas through narrative…but it has also courted sensationalism and scandal” (101).Hermion Lee in her Biography: A very Short Introduction (2009) attempts show the possible definition of the term biography with the support of The Oxford English Dictionary (1971) and The New Oxford Dictionary of English (2001): “First…The history of the individual men as a branch of literature. Second…A written record of the life of an individual…An account of someone’s life written by someone else” (25-26).Again she traces certain possibilities of the defining biography:

Biography is the story of a person told by someone else. Why story rather than account? Because biography is a form of narrative, not just the presentation of facts. Why ‘told’ rather than ‘written’? After all, the word biography literally means ‘life-writing’. The two halves of the word derive from Medieval Greek: ‘bios’, ‘life’ and ‘graphia’, ‘writing’. But all biography involves an oral dimension—the recounts of memories, witness testimony, much-repeated anecdotes. And some forms of biography, such as documentary film (26-27).

The modern biographical structure is relatively recent, and several experiments on the life-writing have been emerging in the contemporary world with different patterns of representation. The life-writing as a tradition initially bequeathed to English authors by the Greeks and Romans through the works of Xenophon, Suetonius, and Pliny. The notable contribution to the life –writing genre was bestowed by Plutarch in his classic Lives of the Noble Grecians and Romans (1579). Plutarch had influenced the life-writers for the development of the biography in the nineteenth century: “The importance of Plutarch for the nineteenth-century biography is most easily recognized by the numerous translations of the Parallel Lives in the period. Their appearance throughout the century suggests that nineteenth-century biography virtually began and ended with Plutarch” (Ira Bruce Nadel 16). “Plutarch dominates the composition and style of nineteenth-century biographical writing” (Nadel, 14). The author of Life of Johnson (1791) James Boswell has cited the influence of Plutarch as his authority when he was narrating the life of Samuel Johnson. The Plutarchiannotions of making the biography imparted the suppression of the scratchy or too revealing facts that could be the negative side of the subject in an effort to maintain dignity of the character or subject. The primary purpose of life-referential writing for Plutarch was to instruct moral as it has a didactic purpose.Ira Bruce Nadel has quoted Francis Jeffery’s description of biography and the basic purpose in the making of life-narrative thus: “as the most instructive and interesting of all writing …teaching us …great moral lessons, both as to the value of labour and industry, and the necessity of virtues, as well as the intellectual endowments, for the attainment of lasting excellence” (19).

Aelfric’s Lives of the Saints (AD 993-8) was the early life narrative and it forms the early tradition of hagiography (which tells the lives of saints). He had included the lives of prominent ecclesiastical leaders, and notably the miracles of men and women canonized by Roman Catholic Church, namely of the nativity of Christ, of saint Eugenia, of saint Agnes, of saint George, of saint Martin, of saint St. Thomas the Apostle, etc. Izaak Walton (1594-1683) who is famous for his work The Complete Angler (1653) has written short biographies like Lives of John Donne, Henry Wotton, Richard Hooker, George Herbert &C. In 1633,he completed the biography of John Donne, and in 1642 he completed the life story of Sir Henry Wotton and published it in the year 1651. In 1662 and 1670, he completed the life of Hooker and George Herbert respectively. John Aubrey’s (1626-1697) Brief Lives (1693) includes the life story of the prominent literary figures of Francis Bacon, Robert Boyle, Thomas Brown, John Dee, Sir Walter Raleigh, Ben Jonson, Thomas Hobbes and William Shakespeare. English life-writing began to gain popularity in the eighteenth century with numerous biographical collections such as the lives of criminals in the Newgate Calendar (1773). Another significant contribution to life-narration was Dr. Samuel Johnson’s Lives of the English Poets (1779-81). It comprises of the short biographical sketches and critical appraisals of fifty two poets, among those six of the lives have been given noticeable place and they are John Milton, John Dryden, Alexander Pope, Joseph Addison, Jonathan Swift and Thomas Gray. Margaret Drabble has quoted in Dr. Samuel Johnson’s views on the true essence of signifyinglife through the genre of life-narration in his seminal essay ‘On the Genius of Biography’ which was published in Rambler No 60 (1750): “No species of writing…can more certainly enchain the heart by irresistible interest, or more widely diffuse instruction to every diversity of condition ….We are all prompted by the same motives, all deceived by the same fallacies, all animated by hope, obstructed by danger, entangled by desire, and seduced by pleasure” (102). William Godwin’s Memoir (1794) about his “embattled feminist” wife Mary Wollstonecraft is an emotional narrative that provoked general disgrace from various critics. Godwin has included the most painful events in the life of Wollstonecraft, namely her brutal drunken father, her affair with Gilbert Imlay and birth of their illegitimate daughter Fanny, her two suicide attempts, her unconventional religious faith and the distressing details of her death. The poet Robert Southey disapproved and condemned Godwin for presenting the life of Wollstonecraft in a horrifying manner.

There were many flowering of biographies in Europe which assessed the life of prominent figures in depth: John Gibson Lockhart’s writing about his father-in-law Walter Scott in 1837-38, John Forster’s contributions about of his intimate Charles Dickens in 1872-74, Thomas Carlyle life story about his lost companion John Sterling in 1851, and James Anthony Froude’s narration of his master Thomas Carlyle in 1881-1903 are few examples.Mrs. Elizabeth Gaskell’s sympathetic life-narration about the life of Charlotte Bronte is entitled as Life of Charlotte Bronte (1857).

There are several biographies written on Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, presenting him in  multiple ways. His life was lived when the imperial power was undertaking the rule of India, and his life became the story of struggle against the monumental British Empire. He was a person who envisaged the Victorian world of splendor and majesty to the strategic imperial ruthlessness. Apart from being one of the leaders who stood at the front in liberating India, Gandhi’s ideas and philosophy has become a subject for critical examination including his personal life. The life of Gandhi from 1869-1948 is now becoming a motivation for many life –narrators to narrate,  and among the biographers, some stood for severely attacking the image of Gandhi, but some on the other hand take efforts to glorify his life. It is evident from the biographies written so far that Gandhi’s life is not easy to comprehend. The biographers like Louis Fischer, Raja Rao and Jad Adams have explored, perceived, and examinedthe complexities of Gandhi’s life,from different perspectives.

Jad Adams in his Naked Ambition reveals Gandhi’s political life and personal life including the ideas of sex and chastity. The contradictory elements of Gandhi’s experiment in political act have been bravely disclosed: “he was an intensely ambitious man, but this was no ordinary ambition. He did not personally care about salt, and was trying to eliminate it from hid diet; he supported the mill workers when he did not approve of dyeing cloth; he wanted Indians to rule India but had no time for elections and assemblies; he enjoyed the fulsome support of the rich while promoting the values of poverty” (6). In the very beginning itself, Jad Adams puts forward the possibilities of unmaking the ideas of Gandhi and attempts to expose the notion that Gandhi’s objectives were for getting personal spiritual perfection. The episode of sex in the life of Gandhi is the major part discussed by Jad Adams. The author believes that if the subject of Gandhi and sex is banned then the good deal of Gandhi’s own work would have to go. It is not just for exposing Gandhi’s sense of sexuality but through this controversial episode an attempt is made to understand the whole life from a narrative. Jad Adams makes it clear on his treatment of Gandhi in his Naked Ambition   in an interview to DNA daily:

Different things possessed him at different times in his life. When he was in London as a student it was vegetarianism (not sex or politics) that interested him. In South Africa his attempts to remain chaste and his creation of ideal communities were more important to him than his work for Indian traders. Back in India he was preoccupied with Indian nationalism and his ashrams in the 1920s and 30s. At the end of his life, his sexual experiments preoccupied his thinking. My interest is in the whole of his life — his political, spiritual and family life as well. I give what I hope is a rounded picture of Gandhi, not concentrating on sex, but not ignoring it either.

The agenda behind Jad Adams in writing Gandhi: Naked Ambition is not to worship or elevate the life story of Gandhi, but to clinically examine the controversial or imprecise life episodes to enquire the truth behind it. Attempt of narrating the complex life story of Gandhi by Jad Adams is polemical in approach. The general Indian community who endorses Gandhi and Gandhism may not approve with the findings of the author, but this book provides a space for critical readers tointerpret and comprehend the “other” sides of a person who has been considered scared and a national symbol. At the first chapter itself, the author agrees with difficulty in narrating the intricate subject of Gandhi as biographer: “Gandhi’s life is the ultimate challenge for a biographer: it was so multifaceted, and there is so much surviving contemporary information about it. Many people demonstrate two aspect of interest in their lives. A national leader may have an incandescent political career and a lurid sex life, but nothing else worthy of comment…Gandhi’s political life, spiritual life, family life and sex life were all fascinating”(2).

The childhood and marriage days of Gandhi have been described here along with his spiritual influences that led his later ideological make up. Gandhi’s family tradition and belief have been described in the chapter ‘Childhood and Marriage’. Gandhi’s aversions to certain family practices, namely approach to untouchables and child marriage have also been presented. The early sense of Gandhi towards sex and celibacy has also been disclosed significantly as this biography intent for making Gandhi’s view on sex and celibacy as a key subject: “Gandhi compounded his grief for his father’s death with guilt that he had not been present and with the ‘shame of my cardinal desire even at the this critical hour of my father’s death, which demanded wakeful service. He could never forgive himself for having for been in the grip of lust at that moment. …it took me long to get free from the shackles of lust, and I had to pass through many ordeals before I could overcome it…let all those who married be warned by my example” (Adams 18). Jad Adams replies to a question and his choice of taking up Gandhian sexuality as a subject – by Sharique N Siddiquie in an interview in Zee news on April 2010 – by stating the basic theme of Gandhi: Naked Ambition and reason for the daring treatment of this controversial subject:

I’m not implying that this book is only about sex. The truth is that Gandhi as a man liked talking and writing about sex and challenged his own sexual needs, at times. Information shows that he had practical experiments with sex, there are written records of this. My work is not an interpolation of sex into the life of a man whose actions were otherwise non-sexual. In fact, Gandhi’s attitude was labelled ‘abnormal and unnatural’ by Jawaharlal Nehru and during Partition, senior leaders like J Kripalani and Vallabhbhai Patel also distanced themselves from him on account of his sexual attitude.

Any biographical attempt on Gandhi would be utterly incomplete when there is no serious reference on the contribution made by him in the political events that led to India’s liberation from the shackles of imperial power. But certain life- narration likeGandhi: Naked Ambition foregrounds the personal matters relating to the ideas and convictions of the subject. It would be illogical from the part of biographer to ignore various aspects of Gandhi’s life and evaluate him only on his political basis. Again it would not be a correct critical reading when one eschew the personal life of Gandhi especially his understandings and convictions on sexual life. Though, the normal Indian sensibilities would not be too broad in position to appreciate Gandhi: Naked Ambition, just because of the disclosing of Jad Adams namely, Gandhi slept and bathed with young girls, he examined the sex life naked with naked nubile women to test his chastity, the challenge of chastity, avoidance of sex, advocate of celibacy, views on how to overcome sex for spiritual upliftment and the purpose of sexual relationship in life.

 

In order to analyze further the sexuality of Gandhi, it would be inevitable to know about his sense of bramacharya. Gandhi started practicing bramacharya in 1901. For Gandhi,bramacharya is a search for brahma (truth) and to control flow of thought, word and action of all sense,in all times and in all places.Gandhi has clearly illustrated the fundamental nature of practice of brahmacharya in his seminal text An Autobiography or The Story of My Experiments with Truth (2003):

The knowledge that a perfect observance of brahmacharya means realization of brahman, I did not owe to a study of the Shastras. It slowly grew upon me with experience….Every day of the vow has taken me nearer the knowledge that in brahmacharya lies the protection of the body, the mind and the soul. For brahmacharya was now no process of hard penance, it was a matter of consolation and joy. Every day revealed a fresh beauty in it (192).

The biographer tries to find the contradiction in the practice of bramacharaya by Gandhi and for he quotes from Gandhi’s autobiography in this regard: “It is the height of ignorance to believe that the sexual act is an independent function necessary like sleeping or eating. The world depends for its existence on the act of generation, and as world is the play –ground of God and a reflection of His glory, the act of generation should be controlled for the ordered growth of the world. This peculiar notion, that the control of sex influences the functioning of the world, had its root in these first efforts at sexual renunciation in the late 1890s in South Africa; it was to have its bizarre culmination in India in 1947. Gandhi’s attempts to control his high sex drive and to condemn expressions of sexuality in others would bring his political activity into disrepute” (Adams69).

The experiments with sex by Gandhi could be interpreted in various ways, the natural manner would be to color him in a very deplorable and pitiable person with disgrace and shameful. But there could be another elucidation of Gandhi in relation to his sense of sexuality that the search for ultimate truth was the base his experiments. Girja Kumar in his Bramacharya Gandhi and His Women Associates (2006) perceives that the inspiration of Gandhian bramacharya is from the Indian tradition, he relates Gandhi with Ramakrishna Paramahamsa by quoting NarasingSil’s textRamakarishna Paramahamsa: A Psychological Study (1991):

It has been said of Ramakrishna: [His] entire spiritual discourse is a sermon about sex…There is not only a deep preoccupation with sex, but the axiom of his sermons, reveals his obsession with what is called ‘displaced sexuality’…Gandhiji  often asserted that perfect brahmacharayis existed only in imagination. He never claimed to be a perfect brahmachari himself. ..Ramakrishna admitted as much: “Ah, lust does not vanish till god lasts, a little of it continues even after that realization, but then it cannot raise its head. Do you think I am myself all together free from it? (16).

Though Gandhihas repudiated his self from the sex he has maintained an idea regarding the purpose of sex: “…sex was sinful except explicitly for the production of children” (Adams 214). Avoidance of sex could be an act for attaining an understanding which transforms one to a better personality. Abstaining sex was not a formula or strategy for his political end but for his personal understanding. Jad Adams quotes Gandhi’s collected works to substantiate the abstinence of sex by Gandhi: “The moment I bade goodbye to a life of carnal pleasure, our whole relationship became spiritual. Lust died and love reigned instead” (Adams 214). Jad Adams quotes Jawaharlal Nehru’s views on the unusual sexual experiments: “as unnatural and shocking …I think Gandhiji is absolutely wrong in this matter. His advice may fit in with some cases, but as a general policy it can only lead to frustration, inhibition, neurosis and all manner of physical and nervous ills” (Adams 213).

Brahmacharya is a sensitive subject to be discussed in a public with openness, yet Gandhi has his own broad minded approach in discussing it to the opposite sex. For Gandhi, celibacy means not to eschew women completely and lead an isolated life, but to recommend a community living where men and women can stay together. The relevance of Gandhi’s sense of sexuality, to some extent is becoming relevant in the contemporary cultural space of India. The recently staged ‘Kiss of Love’ protest in Cochin is symbol of cultural liberation to live a life of togetherness. The ‘Kiss of Love’ is a novel and non-violent protest against the upcoming group of ‘Moral Policing’ began in Kerala and it later spread to other parts of the country, namely Kolkata, Calicut, and Delhi  JNU. An open discussion on sexuality is not an ‘immoral act’ but an attempt to bring renaissance in the sense of man- woman relationship. The non-violent protest against the fascist force by kissing each other for attaining the cultural liberation that happened in Kerala would have to be read in the context of Gandhian sense of celibacy and sexuality.

The text Brahmacharya Gandhi and His Women Associates tries to justify the conduct of his intimacy in the ashram and his approach to ashram women as, “…this experiment be considered maverick on his part. It was a part of his exploration in the cause of bramacharya. In this brave new world, his experiments were meant to probe the limits to which a man could endeavor to intrude upon the domain of Kama. He had also in the process of exploring new ethics regarding the concept of brahmacharya. Absence of scriptural sanction for his unorthodox explorations did not deter him” (Kumar 24).

Jad Adams has referred to the unusual relationship of Gandhi withHermann Kallenbach, a German Jewish South African architect who was a close friend of Gandhi. The affectionate letters of Gandhi to Hermann Kallenbach has been colored by the biographer as a homoerotic: “Kallenbach was the only portrait he kept on the mantelpiece in his bedroom when he was in London lobbying for the recognition…There has to be a suspicion of a homoerotic attachment on the part of Kallenbach, who was two years younger than Gandhi and never married, but there is no evidence that his affection for Gandhi ever approached the physical” (100). Another life –narration on Gandhi by Joseph Lelyveld that was published one year after the publication of Gandhi: Naked Ambition too observes the unfamiliar attachment towards Hermann Kallenbach in “Great Soul: Mahatma Gandhi and His Struggle with India (2011): “Hermann Kallenbach…the most intimate, also ambiguous, relationship of his lifetime. “They were a couple”. Tridip Suhrud, a Gandhi scholar, said when I met him in the Gujarat capital of Gandhinagar…Kallenbach later remarked that they’d lived together “almost in the same bed”…One respected Gandhian scholar characterized the relationship as “clearly homoerotic” rather than homosexual” (88). The facts presented in biographies are not shocking or new revelation on the life of Gandhi, but they help to understand and interpret the nature of Gandhian sexuality in this contemporary cultural space to remove the taboo of comprehending the natural meaning of sex. The life of celibacy is not an excuse for keeping oneself away from his wife, but it could be for attaining a state of mind for an intellectual transformation to achieve any objectives: “In Gandhi’s formulation, it seems less a renunciation of sexual desire than a rejection of wife and family. When Tolstoy similarly renounced his sexual nature when he was writing his novella of sexual disgust The Kreutzer Sonata in 1889-1890, his wife interpreted it as a rejection of her” (Adams 91). The spiritual act of brahmacharya in Gandhi provided with spiritual space for redefining the emotion of love towards his wife Kasturbha: “He asserted that his spiritual love for Kasturbha began after he eschewed sexuality in 1906…His object in practicing brahmacharya was limited to getting rid of sexuality for the sublimation of his personality”(Kumar 25). Richard Attenborough in his Oscar winning film Gandhi (1982) has depicted a memorable shot that justifies the Gandhian sense of celibacy and the understanding of it by Kasturbha Gandhi. The scene takes place in Aga Khan Place in Poona in which Margaret Bourke –White, an American photo journalist interviews Kasturbha:

Brouke–White: You mean he …he …gave up…married life?

Kasturbha(with a smile): Four times he tried – and failed. But then he took a solemn vow…

Bourke –White: And he was never broken it?

Kasturbha: (with a twinkle in her eyes): Not yet.

Bourke –White looks at Kasturbha incredulously and they both (along with Mirabehn,      who is present during the interview) burst into laughter (Kulkarani 291)

 

Gandhian concept of brahmacharya is closely linked with his search of truth and non-violence. His practice of brahmacharya is a source of inspiration for his philosophical search for truth through the medium of non-violence. His approach towards sex and other characteristics of brahmacharya has an affinity to, as mentioned in the text Music of the Spinning Wheel: Mahatma Gandhi’s Manifesto for the Internet Age (2012) by Sudheendra Kulkarni as, “sex and …brahmacharya was similarly a blend of science and faith, both having the common happiness and giving a God-ward reorientation to human life. When brahmacharya is thus understood the potential to transform human sexuality itself into a mighty new stream of energy that can heal man’s divided self , reduce human suffering , and assist humanity to enter a new stage of its non-violence evolution” (278). The process of comprehending sex is a complex task, and it should not be an isolated human understanding, instead one could approach it with an instinct of human dignity. In this contemporary Indian social space, the rape and molestation are not uncommon news.The lackof mutual respect between man and woman and absence of proper conception of the sense of sexuality could be the reasons for misusing the very purity of sex:

A man woman relationship is one of the greatest mysteries of human life on par with birth and death. But what is mysterious often becomes mundane with the passage of time as our capacity to love,trust,care, reflect and wonder, weakens under the weight of habit and the social environment. Not many of us make serious attempts to understand our own sexuality because doing so demands introspection with utmost honesty, transparency and understanding a task fear and avoid. Rarer still are those who, like Gandhi, not only examine the mystery of sex, but also harness its power to the pursuit of a larger social goal…truth as the ultimate and inviolable goal, nonviolence as the path to reach the goal, and brahmacharya as way of making oneself fit to travel along the path (Kulkarni279-280).

Though there are several established spiritual and religious institutions for propagating moral values and ethics, the incidence of misusing these value systemshas become a threat to the root of the culture fabric of our contemporary society. There must be a strong sexual morality to eschew the proliferation of misuse of sex and at the same time it doesn’t mean that our society should hold the outdated traditional sexual morality and ethics. There must be an attempt to make one free and progressive towards understanding the purpose and the idea of sexuality: “Loveless sex, or sex with lust only, is an act of violence. It neither humanizes nor, much less, divinizes man. It signifies man’s fall from his own higher evolutionary possibilities” (Kulkarni283).Though the internet has become a medium for encouraging and popularizing the voyeuristic temperament in man and woman, and thereby destabilizing the traditional cultural notions on sexuality, it has also on the other hand attempted to bring a novel method in propagating and disseminating the cyber-sex industry:“the internet satyagrahis attempt to evolve new sexual ethics, a major challenge they must address is how to tackle the menace of pornography and human trafficking. Since these ills feed to a large extent on the ongoing destabilization of traditional societies and cultures, achieving a new and humane social stability is, of course,  a necessity…But far more important is the need to reform the personal conduct of individuals, beginning with Internet satyagrahis”( Kulkarni 626).

It would be very much essential and inevitable to have an alternative sexual morality in the age of cyber culture for providing a better understanding and respect with man-woman relationship. Gandhian sense of relationship between a man and woman is possessed with secular and democratic approach. One of the major challenges happening in India is the issues of rape and molestation.The sexual exploitation against women has become a social challenge in the contemporary Indian culture. The root cause for this social menace would be the lack of proper comprehension of the values of sexuality. Looking at the emerging cyber and electronic culture one can easily derive at the fact that sexual explorations are mounting through the medium of internet and other electronic social medium. At this condition there could be a possibility for organizing an internet Satyagraha for framing morality in sexual behaviorism.   The huge anti-rape non-violent protest across India may change our culture, and it also enhances a new sensibility in showing respect and dignity to the opposite sex. By considering all these reasons, it would be sensible to comment that Gandhian sense of sexuality and brahmacharya could be placed for judging the present world, at least for a upbringing a culture of mutual respect within the sexes.   In an article on Gandhi, “Ladies and a Gentleman” Urvashi Butalia draws the Gandhi’s approach towards women as,

Unlike most men, Gandhi had a great deal to say about women. He wrote about them in his treatises, he wrote long letters to them throughout his life, he examined his motives and beliefs about women all the time, and acknowledged and addressed the feminine in himself without embarrassment (64).

Thus, Jad Adam’s Gandhi: Naked Ambition presents a specific controversial aspect of Gandhi’s conviction. The basic intension of this biography is not blast the image of Gandhi, but to explore the complex method of sexuality that he practiced in his life as a part of brahmacharyamethod through truth and non-violence. General mind set of the people conceal a space for an open dialogue on the matter of sexuality, but through this life-narration Jad Adam’s reveals the true life –story of Gandhi from the perspective of Gandhi’s sense of sexuality and celibacy. There are two possibilities to approach this biography; firstly, thorough repudiation of this work just for the reason that Gandhi’s way of practicing and understanding of the sexuality and brahmacharya could negatively affect the cultural matrix of India; Secondly, this attempt of Jad Adam would provide a comprehensive examination of the life of Gandhi, and there could be a new endeavor in comprehending and realizing a new sensibility in the matter sexuality and celibacy. Any cultural fabric of a society cannot be always in motion of stationary, butit has to change; multiply; proliferate; and itshould never end. The force behind these cultural appropriations are from several influences and inspirations. The act of life-narrations has the power to generate a space for accommodating the mind escalating ideas and philosophies of well-known people in a socio-cultural galaxy. The ideas andthe views on sexuality is a controversial episode in the life of Gandhi which has presented and interpreted in multiple ways; few romanticized other few philosophized; some have documented it as a part of historiography; some condemned sharply andother few spiritualized. All these interpretations show the complexity involved in comprehending Gandhi as person and as an idea. There could be no other literary genre as life-narration that could bring a comprehensive and holistic approach in reading a person.

 

Works Cited

Adams, Jad. Gandhi: Naked Ambition. London: Quercus, 2010. Print.

Butalia, Urvashi. “Ladies and a Gentleman.” The Week 3 Feb. 2013: 64-65. Print.

Drabble, Margaret. The Oxford Companion to English Literature. 6th ed. Oxford:  UP, 2006. Print.

Joshi, Puspa. Gandhi on Women: Collection of Mahatma Gandhi’s Writings and Speeches on Women. New Delhi: Navajivan Publishing House, 2002. Print.

Kulkarni, Sudheendra. Music of the Spinning Wheel: Mahatma Gandhi’s Manifesto for the Internet Age. New Delhi: Amaryllis, 2012. Print.

Kumar, Girija. Bramacharya Gandhi and His Women Association. New Delhi: Vitasta, 2006. Print.

Nadel, Ira Bruce. Biography: Fiction, Fact, and Form. New York: Macmillan, 1984. Print.

Raja, Rao.The Great Indian Way. New Delhi: Vision Books, 1998. Print.

Siddiquie, Sharique N. “My Boook Deals with Gandhi’s Sexuality: Jad Adams.” Zee News: Latest News Headlines, Current Live Breaking News from India & World. N.p., 20 Apr. 2010. Web. 10 Nov. 2014.

 

 

 

 

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Re (De) generating Polemics of Gandhi an Sense of Sexuality in the Life- Narration of Jad Adams ‘Gandhi: Naked Ambitions