Mahatma Gandhi is well known for his belief in non-violence resistance and his pacifist nature. However, what is less well known is his devotion to his vow of celibacy and the lengths he would go to confirm it. For Gandhi, sexual abuse of his teenage grandnieces was part of that vow. While it is not known whether or not Gandhi engaged in sexual acts with the young girls, he certainly slept naked with them, which is seen as child abuse by both the UK and US Governments.
While this act could be passed off as a difference in culture, there is another side to Gandhi which has even less in common with his popular image. Although Gandhi was famous for respecting all races — it was this respect that got him killed, after all — he was less than sympathetic towards the Jews who were being persecuted at the time. Following his belief in non-violent resistance, Gandhi claimed that the Jews would be better off killing themselves. Failing that, they should have allowed themselves to be killed.
Despite a view that, at the very least, condoned the Holocaust, Gandhi was not a Nazi and actively opposed Nazi plans. However, this didn’t stop him from praising Hitler, once describing the Fuhrer as the “defender of the Fatherland,” and saying he wasn’t as bad as people made him out to be.