The book created a sensation on three continents.
Written against the demands for self-rule and Indian independence, Mayo pointed to the treatment of India's women, the untouchables, the animals, the dirt and the character of its nationalistic politicians. Mayo singled out the "rampant" and fatally weakening sexuality of its males to be at the core of all problems, leading to masturbation, rape, homosexuality, prostitution and veneral diseases and, most importantly, to too early sexual intercourse and premature maternity.
Her book was burned in India along with an effigy of its author. It was criticized by Mahatma Gandhi as a "report of a drain inspector sent out with the one purpose of opening and examining the drains of the country to be reported upon".
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