A new biography of Mahatma Gandhi claims he was in love with another man and held racist views.

Great Soul, by former New York Times executive editor Joseph Lelyveld, claims the political leader was in love with German-Jewish architect and bodybuilder, Hermann Kallenbach.

The book says: “Gandhi wrote to Kallenbach about ‘how completely you have taken possession of my body. This is slavery with a vengeance’.”

It claimed that Gandhi nicknamed himself “Upper House” and Kallenbach “Lower House.”

Lelyveld wrote: “He made Lower House promise not to ‘look lustfully upon any woman.’ The two then pledged ‘more love, and yet more love . . . such love as they hope the world has not yet seen’.”

Gandhi left his wife Kasturbai Makhanji for Kallenbach, the book said, quoting intimate letters between the two men.

The biography also claimed that Gandhi, who led India to independence, was racist towards South African blacks.

On a visit to South Africa, he was quoted as saying: “We were marched off to a prison intended for Kaffirs. We could understand not being classed with whites, but to be placed on the same level as the Natives seemed too much to put up with. Kaffirs are as a rule uncivilized.”

Another claim said he regularly slept with his 17-year-old great niece Manu when he was 70.