Following the Gujarat government's move to ban the book on Mahatma Gandhi by Joseph Lelyveld that has run into controversy for implying he was a bisexual and a racist, India's central government is considering a law that would make insulting the Independence movement leader an offence punishable with a jail term, reports the Indian Express.
The paper cites sources in the Law Ministry as saying the ministry was asked to suggest an amendment to the Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act, 1971, that would make any action or gesture that shows disrespect to Gandhi an offence at par with an offence against the National Flag or the Constitution.
According to reviewers, Lelyveld's book, Great Soul: Mahatma Gandhi And His Struggle With India, quotes letters between Gandhi and German architect / bodybuilder Hermann Kallenbach that imply the two men had a homosexual affair, and also suggests that Gandhi was prejudiced against black Africans (whose plight he ignored when he launched his civil rights struggle for fellow Asians in South Africa prior to his return to India).
Lelyveld recently responded to the furor ignited by headlines along the lines of "Gandhi was a bisexual racist," saying that reviewers had grossly exaggerated the conclusions he draws in the book.
Doubtless, nobody enacting legislation in India has cracked its spine.