Sandeep Kumar's comparison with Mahatma Gandhi miffs his great-grandson
(Left) Mahatma Gandhi’s great-grandson, Tushar, and former Aam Admi Party member Mayank Gandhi
Sandeep Kumar is no Mahatma. Senior AAP leader Ashutosh’s defence of expelled party leader, who was sacked and arrested after an “objectionable” video of him surfaced, by likening him with Mahatma Gandhi, BJP veteran Atal Bihari Vajpayee and socialist political leader Ram Manohar Lohia, has raised the hackles of the Mahatma’s great-grandson, Tushar Gandhi, and former AAP leader Mayank Gandhi.
In an open letter, Ashutosh had said the Mahatma’s relationship with Sarala Devi Chaudharan, the daughter of the elder sister of Rabindranath Tagore, had rankled his wife, Kasturba Gandhi. He also pointed out that society never ‘objected’ to Vajpayee’s long-time companion, Rajkumari Kaul, who died in 2014.
An infuriated Mayank, who had contested the Lok Sabha polls from Mumbai on an AAP ticket, took to Facebook to express his displeasure. “Saw some third grade comments on Gandhiji, Vajpayee, Lohia, etc by Ashutosh. Feel happy that I have quit the party,” he wrote.
Tushar was more upset than peeved at the “mud-slinging”. “Bapu’s brahmacharya experiments were asexual in nature. His associates raised objections after he started writing about them in [weekly journal] Harijan. Following the objections, he suspended the experiments, saying, ‘what I do must be in the public domain and if I am not allowed to talk about the experiments and the results freely, it would be a sin and so I would rather not continue’,” he said.
Tushar claimed that ‘Bapu’ had a close relationship with many women associates and disciples, “but he was eternally loyal and faithful to Ba (Kasturba)”. He said a reading of the Mahatma’s correspondence with these women reveals their “intense friendship”. One of his associates wrote that Bapu never made her feel that the correspondence or his touch was by a male, and that she felt more at ease with Bapu than with any woman. Manu, with whom Bapu conducted his much maligned and misunderstood brahmacharya experiments, wrote a booklet, Bapu Meri Ma (Bapu My Mother).”
Tushar even delved into Mahatma’s alleged relationship with South African architect Hermann Kallenbach. According to him, Joseph Lelyveld, the American author who wrote about it, drew his inferences from the “misunderstood” correspondence between Bapu and Kallenbach. “All these inferences were made by analysts and writers based on their own ability of comprehension and without having discussed them.”
Ashutosh did not respond to mid-day’s calls and text messages.
A complaint was filed at Sakinaka police station against Ashutosh, after complainant Akhilesh Tiwari stated that he had insulted the entire country by comparing Sandeep Kumar with Nehru and Gandhi. A senior officer from Versova police station said that a case was yet to be registered.