|The First Art Newspaper on the Net
||Established in 1996
|| Tuesday, October 25, 2016
|'Sinly yours': India displays rare Gandhi letters|
An Indian visitor looks at pictures of Mahatma Gandhi and other leaders during an exhibition at the national archive museum in New Delhi on January 30, 2013. A rare collection of letters between Indian independence icon Mahatma Gandhi and a South African bodybuilder with whom he shared a close relationship went on display in New Delhi . AFP PHOTO/ SAJJAD HUSSAIN.
By: Abhaya Srivastava
NEW DELHI (AFP).- A rare collection of letters between Indian independence icon Mahatma Gandhi and a South African bodybuilder with whom he shared a close relationship went on display in New Delhi on Wednesday.
The bond between Gandhi and Hermann Kallenbach has been a subject of speculation and gossip for years owing to their closeness, with previously published correspondence suggesting they may have had a physical relationship.
One of the handwritten letters from Gandhi to Kallenbach that went on show on Wednesday, the 65th anniversary of Gandhi's assassination, is addressed to "My dear Lower House" and signed "Sinly yours, Upper House".
However scholars looking for clear evidence on the full extent of the men's relationship were left disappointed, with curators acknowledging that they had only put a sample of correspondence on display at the National Archives museum.
"These are original letters and we have provided a sample of the correspondence between Gandhi and Kallenbach. There is a lot that is new and significant," Mushirul Hasan, chief of the National Archives, told AFP.
Gandhi lived with Kallenbach, a German-born Jewish architect, in Johannesburg for about two years from 1907 before returning to India in 1914 where he helped unify the gathering political movement against British colonial rule.
The archive of letters and photos belonging to Kallenbach was purchased by the Indian government last year, just before they were due to be auctioned by Sotheby's in London.
Hasan denied that the collection had been screened and controversial letters left out keeping in mind the exalted status that Gandhi enjoys in the country.
"Nothing controversial has been left out or necessarily included," Hasan said.
"They had a marvellous relationship and the archives reveal the intensity of that relationship."
The relationship between Gandhi and the wealthy South African was most recently chronicled in a book by former New York Times editor Joseph Lelyveld.
"How completely you have taken possession of my body," Gandhi was quoted as saying in a letter to Kallenbach in Lelyveld's book, entitled "Great Soul: Mahatma Gandhi And His Struggle With India".
"This is slavery with a vengeance," the man known as the "father of the nation" in India is quoted as adding.
Lelyveld was forced to defend his book against accusations that he had suggested Gandhi was bisexual. "The word 'bisexual' nowhere appears in the book," he wrote afterwards.
Raj Bala Jain, part of the National Archives team that studied the collection in detail, said she was surprised how their relationship had been misconstrued.
"I do not know from where he (Lelyveld) quoted those letters. I did not find even a single letter with sexual overtones," she told AFP.
"Friendship can be misinterpreted. I think Gandhi was very normal and above such things," she said of the man who took a public vow of celibacy in his 30s, adding it was not possible to display all correspondence between the two.
"We have displayed what we thought was most interesting."
Among other documents were dozens of letters written by Gandhi's sons to Kallenbach that provide details of his life after his return to the country from South Africa.
In one of them, Harilal, one of the four sons of Gandhi, complains to Kallenbach about how his father had "neglected us". "For my failures in exam I hold him responsible," he wrote.
India has in the past fretted about private auctions of Gandhi's belongings, saying that they insult the memory of a man who rejected material wealth. Auctions of Gandhi's personal items like spectacles and other memorabilia often raise an uproar in the country where many people feel the items are part of the country's cultural legacy.
"We are talking about Gandhi. Such emotions are justified considering the glory that he brought to India," said Hasan.
© 1994-2013 Agence France-Presse
January 31, 2013
Hayward Gallery's Light Show features a series of compelling and dramatic experiences
Sotheby's dedicated Surrealist Art Evening Sale to be highlighted by works by Dalí, Magritte and Miró
Christie's announces landmark online-only auction series to benefit the Andy Warhol Foundation
Romanian suspect 'saw Matisse and Gauguin paintings stolen in Dutch heist' says lawyer
Exhibition at Hauser & Wirth takes a look at a pivotal year in Eva Hesse's career: 1965
Irving Penn's "Cosmic Underfoot" showcased at the Art Institute of Chicago
Strong results for Property from the Estate of Giancarlo Baroni lead off Sotheby's Old Masters Week sales
Two-day estate event at Heritage Auctions offers 1,600+ eclectic lots of art, antiques and collectibles
Sixty years after its founding, Aperture Magazine relaunches with fresh content, bold redesign
Fine art collection of Dixie Cup mastermind is centerpiece of Myers' Feb. 10 auction
First solo exhibition by German artist David Jablonowski opens at BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art
Bonhams New York showcases superb Meiji craftmanship in Fine Japanese Works of Art Sale
Nothin' but Working: Phill Niblock, a Retrospective opens at Musée de l'Elysée
Brancolini Grimaldi presents works by German artist Heidi Specker
Berkeley Art Museum exhibits recently gifted Japanese screens
'Sinly yours': India displays rare Gandhi letters
Dallas Museum of Art publishes its first catalogue of South and Southeast Asian art
The Davis Museum at Wellesley College presents Prepared Box for John Cage
Art at the Heart: Chagall's flowers for Valentine's Day at Bonhams
Monterey Museum of Art hosts exhibition of works by prominent printmaker Beth Van Hoesen
Most Popular Last Seven Days
1.- New light shines on Sandro Botticelli masterpieces at Florence's Uffizi Gallery
2.- Cincinnati Art Museum's Van Gogh exhibition brings guests Into the Undergrowth
3.- Degas retrospective debuts in the U.S. at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
4.- Special exhibition features large-scale photography by Richard Mosse & Edward Burtynsky
5.- Nobel panel gives up knockin' on Dylan's door
6.- An unprecedented, international-loan exhibition of works by Claude Monet is at the Kimbell Art Museum this fall
7.- Exhibition at the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek explores Rousseau's landscapes
8.- Yoko Ono unveils her first permanent US art installation
9.- ArtReview's annual Power 100 names Hans Ulrich Obrist as the artworld's most powerful figure
10.- British artist David Hockney makes a splash at Frankfurt fair with 2,000-euro book
Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .
|Royalville Communications, Inc|
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.