In the eye of a storm
Meet Bibudharanjan, the author of `Michcha Mahatma' that discusses the other side of Gandhi.
FLASHBACK Bibudharanjan's historical book on Mahatma Gandhi has stirred a controversy.
Bibudharanjan the writer who had made a name in children's literature and religious writings has been in the news lately for his historical writings. Nikhoj Netaji on the contentious issue of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose's disappearance and death and Nathuram Nathi on Nathuram Godse had established his reputation as a writer of historical books that gave different dimensions to historical issues and personalities.
But Michha Mahtama (The Fake Mahatma), though based on documentary evidence, is incendiary stuff and it has predictably stirred a storm even before its formal release. The various chapters in the book include Gandhiji & His Family, Freedom Struggle and Gandhiji, Gandhiji v/s Nathuram, Netaji and Gandhiji, Gandhiji & His Non-violence, Gandhiji and His Contradictions, Love, Women & Gandhiji, Gandhiji & His European Lady and Sex & Gandhiji. The book is far from palatable to Gandhi followers as Bibudharanjan has brazenly brought to the fore the dark side to Gandhi's personality. He defends it in the name of reassessing history and reminds the people who object to it that Gandhihimself was the seeker of truth. Excerpts from a brief interview with the writer:
Why did you write this book?
To seek the truth. Gandhiji himself has been called a seeker of truth. During the course of my research, I found out that Mark Twain's comment "Every man is a moon and has a dark side which he never shows to anybody," is as much applicable to the so-called Mahatma as to a common man. Gandhiji had terrible contradictions and was full of foibles and frailties. But the historians have ignored that. I thought the truth should come out and the mask should fall.
I did thorough research with books written by people like Ved Mehta, Erik H. Erikson, Martin Green, Subhash Chandra Bose, Pyarelal and even Manubehn Gandhi. I browsed through periodicals and newspapers in National Archives, New Delhi, National Library, Calcutta, and JNU Library, New Delhi.
Have you also questioned Gandhiji's contribution to India's freedom?
I have reassessed history. Gandhiji had his contribution but others had even bigger contributions but they were never highlighted the way Gandhiji was. History bears it out that the British were desperate to leave India after the reverses they suffered in the World War II.
What do you hope to achieve by writing this book?
People like Ambedkar, Rajgopalchari, Nirad Choudhury, Rammonahar Lohia and even Sarojini Naidu have talked about this dark side in Gandhiji. It was difficult to accept a man full of frailties as the Mahatma. I love Gandhi but as a human being not as a saint, and I wanted history to be corrected. But the way his so-called followers are reacting with angry outbursts, it seems they themselves have not understood Gandhiji who always advocated respect for the `other opinion.'
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