Monday, April 09, 2007

Gandhiji and the Tamils, Photo exhibition in Madurai explores new arena

Thanks to The

Gandhiji and the Tamils
S.S. Kavitha

Do you know the role of Tamils in the Satyagraha Movement that began in South Africa?

Do you know who coined the word `Satyagraha'?

Have you ever known that Mahatma Gandhi could write in Tamil?

Everybody knows the three promises made by Gandhiji before he left for London, but how many of us know how he suffered owing to absence of proper vegetarian restaurants? Or how he struggled to identify a vegetarian restaurant at No.16, Saint Bride Street?

If you are keen to know these details, walk into Gandhi Museum where a photo exhibition with around 220 rare photographs of Gandhiji in South Africa, India, Tamil Nadu, Madurai, etc., is being conducted. It has been organised to commemorate the anniversary of `Dandi March' and `Satyagraha centenary celebrations.'

The photographs are displayed in three categories:

1. Contribution of Tamils to Satyagraha Movement in South Africa,

2. Gandhi and Tamil Nadu and

3. Life of Mahatma Gandhi.

Rare photographs of Gandhiji with details of his association with Tamils show that the Tamils formed part of a core group of associates from his days in South Africa and later in India. This is shown in about 60 photographs.

"In many photographs, the Tamil people are seen and their dress and physical characteristics show that they belong to Tamil Nadu. But we do not know their identities as the photos were sourced from all over the world," said A. Annamalai of Chennai-based Gandhi Study Centre.

In the section `Gandhi and Tamil Nadu,' photographs feature the crucial role played by the Temple City in transforming Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi into Mahatma Gandhi, who renounced his traditional dress and became "a half-naked fakir."

"Gandhiji's association with Madurai and Tamil Nadu and the Tamils is interesting. When he started the Sabarmathi Ashram in Ahmadabad with 25 inmates, 13 of them were Tamils," said Mr. Annamalai.

"Most of the people who have worked with Gandhiji in South Africa have disappeared without leaving a trace . It will be interesting to find out their descendants and their stories, which will add more credibility," said Mr. Annamalai.

The exhibition will remain open between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. till April 13.

The news is posted by Palani on behal of Dr Kannan Natarajan.