Henry Ford said that history is bunk, while Dean Inge noted that historians have the power denied to almighty God of altering the past. These statements are relevant to the film Gandhi, which was mainly financed by the government of India and which won numerous best-film, best-actor and best-director awards. It is widely accepted as an accurate biographical portrayal of Mohandas K. Gandhi. The film portrays the Indian political leader as a saintly figure virtually without fault and suggests that he and his campaign of non-violent resistance to British rule was the reason India gained independence in 1947. The portrayal of Gandhi in the film of that name is a massive distortion. The film ignores Gandhi's tyrannical habits, his hypocrisy, his appalling treatment of his wife and children, his bizarre fixation on bowel functions, and his support for violence in various wars. The film ignores Gandhi's views that sexual attraction between men and women is unnatural and that he demanded celibacy between even married members of his entourage. He was so fanatical about his views on sex that he disowned his son Harilal for wishing to marry, and repeatedly tested his own will by sleeping nude with young women. The film Gandhi ignores the Mahatma's elitist attitudes. He is portrayed as a champion of freedom and individual rights, but in real life he was steadfastly opposed to granting additional rights to India's millions of Untouchables. The film's portrayal of Gandhi as a pacifist is incorrect. He supported the British military in the Boer War and World War I. The so-called pacifist gave his approval to men who, as he put it, were "using violence in a normal cause." He gave his blessing to the Nawab of Maler Kolta when he gave orders to shoot ten Moslems for every Hindu killed in his State. Gandhi's hypocrisy and double standards (not mentioned in the film) are also indicated by his opposition to modern medicine and his refusal to allow his wife to receive a life-saving shot of penicillin when she was dying of pneumonia. When he contracted malaria shortly afterwards, however, Gandhi accepted for himself the alien medicine of quinine, and when he had appendicitis he allowed British doctors to operate to save his life.
    Perhaps the most serious distortion of history in the Gandhi propaganda film is the total suppression of the role played by Subhas Chandra Bose in the events leading to the independence of India. (This subject was examined in detail by Mr. Ranjan Borra in an essay published in the Winter 1982 issue of The Journal.) At the time that India attained independence, British Prime Minister Clement Attlee regarded the armed insurrection led by Bose as a far more important factor leading to independence than Gandhi's activities. However, Bose is not even mentioned in the Gandhi film. The eminent Indian historian, Dr. R.C. Majumdar, wrote: "There is... no basis for the claim that the civil disobedience movement (led by Gandhi) directly led to independence. The campaigns of Gandhi... came to an ignoble end about fourteen years before India achieved independence."
    There is ample evidence to substantiate the fact that the armed assault on British India by Bose and his Indian National Army (INA) during World War II was the decisive factor that forced the British withdrawal from the Asian sub-continent. The exploits of this army, when they became known, undermined the loyalty of the Indian soldiers, or sepoys, of the British. These men were the mainstay of colonial rule in India. Bose and the INA ignited the spark of a potential military revolt within the country, which the British dreaded above all else. This forced their decision to quit India honorably, while there was still time. As Majumdar wrote: "In particular, the revelations made by the INA trial, and the reaction it produced in India, made it quite plain to the British, already exhausted by the war, that they could no longer depend upon the loyalty of the sepoys for maintaining their authority in India. This had, probably, the greatest influence upon their final decision to quit India." [1986] Orwell's 1984: Was Orwell Right? by John Bennett