Arun Gandhi tells MyOutSpirit that his grandfather, Mahatma Gandhi, was not gay, as claimed in the new Joseph Lelyveld biography, Great Soul: Mahatma Gandhi and His Struggle with India. According to widely reported reviews of the book, Lelyveld claims that the legendary leader was in at least one homosexual relationship (read the Wall Street Journal review).
Arun Gandhi says:
"I am sorry to say there is no truth in this claim. He (Mahatma Gandhi) had given up all sexual activity not just with his wife. It is Indian culture to show greater affection between sexes than in the western culture. In India you will find men walking arm in arm and women also. Westerners feel that is the sign of sexual orientation. But that is not true. Every day he walked with arms around men who came to meet him or women who came to meet him. But that did not mean that he had sexual relations with everyone he touched. But Western writers (or I should say) modern writers are basically muckrakers. They like to create controversies and sell more books."
Long an ally to the LGBTQ community, Arun Gandhi continues to stand up for equality as well as peace and nonviolent activism. With his late wife, Sunanda, he founded the M.K. Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence, and currently serves as President of the Gandhi Worldwide Education Institute to "help eradicate the scourge of poverty and human degradation." Arun is also a columnist for The Washington Post's ON FAITH series. (And, in the interest of full disclosure, Arun endorsed MyOutSpirit founder's book on "How to Win Gay Rights.")