Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Gandhi, yet again.

This morning, I suddenly thought again of Gandhi. It occurred to me that he could never be at peace no matter what he was doing, no matter who he was dealing with. I was thinking particularly of his reaction to his son Manilal's infatuation in 1914 for Jeki (Dr Jayakunwar Mehta). She was Gandhi's "only adopted daughter" and the real daughter of his affluent and generous friend from his London days, Dr Pranjivan Jagjivan Mehta. The latter had left her in Gandhi's care in Phoenix Farm, South Africa. As was his wont http://digbig.com/4yaae Gandhi simply would not let things get back to a semblance of normalcy. He was unwilling to forget and forgive. Sex was his big obsession. He spoke again and again about the transgression in his prayer meetings, went on a fast, and generally raised hell. He also made Jeki shear off her hair, go off salt and so forth. http://digbig.com/4yaaf. In his letter to his associate, Kallenbach, he called the young woman "a liar, a wretched hypocrite, without pity, without remorse, full of evil passions". Earlier, when Kasturba had complained bitterly against Jeki, he had defended her and turned on his wife labeling her "the most venomous woman I have ever met" again in a letter to Kallenbach. He had even expressed his wish for her death at one juncture. As for his own reaction to the man-woman interaction: "I have often wanted to take out the knife from my pocket and put it through the stomach," he confided in a letter to to another friend. "Sometimes I have felt like striking my head against the wall opposite, and at other times, I have thought of running away from the world." This kind of behaviour was a recurrent theme in Gandhi's life throughout, especially in his various relationships with his women associates. Of course, men know at first hand women's capacity to make them think and feel in a like manner. Being a Mahatma had not spared him from being a man unfortunately, I guess.