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Mahatma Gandhi’s last journey photos scaled down

Gandhi Smriti director Dipankar Shri Gyan said, “The attempt is to create a more vibrant, interactive space for visitors of all ages and represent Gandhi’s life and values in an effective way.” He said the panels were getting ‘old’ and they were re-created on digital panels so that they are preserved for many years.

, ET Bureau|
Last Updated: Jan 19, 2020, 11.31 PM IST
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NEW DELHI: Gandhi Smriti, the place where Mahatma Gandhi was killed by Nathuram Godse, has been ‘digitally transformed’ with vibrations of foreigners singing ‘Vaishnava Jana To’, LED screens with scaled-down photographs of his last journey and multimedia boards on the importance of Gandhi's ‘charkha and chashma’ (spinning wheel and spectacles).

Gandhi Smriti director Dipankar Shri Gyan said, “The attempt is to create a more vibrant, interactive space for visitors of all ages and represent Gandhi’s life and values in an effective way.” He said the panels were getting ‘old’ and they were re-created on digital panels so that they are preserved for many years.

The changes, however, have upset his family members who feel it is an attempt to ‘cleanse the place of his murder and make it all about celebrating his ideals’.

Gandhi Smriti functions as an autonomous body under the culture ministry. For years, a part of Birla House that was converted into a museum, had its hallway filled with sepia-toned scenes of Gandhi’s last journey clicked by legendary photographer Henri Cartier Bresson. Now, all these pictures have been scanned, put in a pen drive and attached to LED screens much smaller than the panels, where they keep rolling out one after the other, after thirty seconds each. The photo panels were six feet by four feet large and the LED screens are three feet six inches and four feet five inches, thereby displaying a much scaled-down version.

Mahatma Gandhi's great grandson, Tushar Gandhi, who was the first to raise concern over the changes last week, calling it an attempt to obliterate historical evidence, sees a political conspiracy in this.

"The place stands for a very solemn occasion, something very poignant and sad. The prints that were displayed before added to the poignancy of the place. They have turned it into a discotheque.

They might as well put a robotic Gandhi moonwalking here," he told ET. Claiming that he felt "desecrated" when he saw these changes, Gandhi said, " May be it is dull, but this is Bapu's memorial for whom simplicity was religion... How can you 'jazz' that up? The intent behind this was not to show Gandhi's death and remind people of who killed him.”

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