Saluting the Mahatma in Gandhi

Every year, Gandhi Jayanti is celebrated across the country on October 2 in remembrance of the Mahatma – but do today’s youngsters actually understand the many layers of his personality or political principles?
Saluting the Mahatma in Gandhi
File pic of Gandhi’s birthday celebrations in Madras in 1928 and its subsequent report

Chennai

Keeping this objective in mind, activist collective Ek Potlee Ret Ki / Kaani Nilam has come up with an initiative that will not just allow the public to see the timeless yet culturally contextual relevance of his ideologies, but also explore how his imagery has influenced great thinkers and artistes by being assimilated into popular culture of social and satirical commentary.
Organised by socio-political activist Radhika Ganesh, the event will be held at the Ranga Mandira Academy of World Dance/Performance and Indic Studies on Tuesday. “We work towards gaining understanding on cultural identity/ diversity and the need to expand political action to preserve them. Initially started in Rajasthan, we now work with over 31 communities across Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Odisha and Uttar Pradesh.”
She continues, “Since our work in TN is mostly in Cuddalore, we wanted to host something in Chennai and October 2 was a great opportunity.”
To this effect, ‘Us in Gandhi’ will be an audio-visual exhibition curated by collective member Sanjeev Kumar. Through rare political cartoons, photographs, audios and videos this exhibition hopes to showcase how Gandhi was perceived in his own time. “Despite being larger than life, he was always open to criticism and dissent, and this is all the more so relevant today at a time when there is so much intolerance,” Radhika explains. 
This will be followed by a panel discussion titled ‘Pop Goes Gandhi’ that is aimed at drawing on the multiple perceptions of Gandhi in modern-day pop culture that has influenced and inspired young people. “People either love or hate him – there is no grey area. This discussion will be to re-politicise the idea of Gandhi,” says Radhika, who will chair the event, which will feature cartoonist Madhan, stand-up comedian Karthik Kumar and orator Raj Mohan of Put Chutney fame. 

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