History & Culture

Mahatma on the move

Going by the looks Mahatma Gandhi Digital Museum Store

Going by the looks Mahatma Gandhi Digital Museum Store  

The newly-inaugurated Mahatma Gandhi Digital Museum Store, courtesy Visual Quest India, is a portal into the life of the Mahatma

Birad Rajaram Yajnik loves history despite his commerce, printing and technology background. “I didn’t know much about Gandhi until my professional life required it of me,” he explains, as he sits in his office at Visual Quest India surrounded by various trinkets from history.

Visual Quest India is a movement to reintroduce history through the ever-immersive means of tech, and Birad has led one part of the movement through his production of coffee table books, including MKG – Imaging Peace Truth and Ahimsa, a limited edition book on Gandhi’s life which includes letters and rare photographs acquired from various corners of the earth. Exactly 1869 copies of the book have been printed to coincide with the year of Gandhi’s birth.

The bus

So when time came around to bring another project to life, Birad conjured up the idea of using a bus; a mobile experience that will add a fast-paced and more engaging means to consume history. The planning took six weeks followed by arduous work to create the mobile store which was then inaugurated on December 20 at Bapu Ghat in Langar Houz, one of the few locations Gandhi’s ashes were sent to.

Present at the festivities was Ela Gandhi, the freedom fighter’s granddaughter, who said, “Mahatma Gandhi always believed that education was not all about learning but was a way to live.” It is through this adage that Birad hopes to keep the digital museum alive. Visual Quest teamed up with Eternal India of Aditya Birla Group to keep the museum flourishing with its unique subject matter.

But what is far more remarkable is that the space offers a digitally-enhanced experience of Gandhi’s timeline. Additionally, expect a variety of souvenirs such as apparel, books, bags, desktop accessories, figurines, personal accessories, timepieces and writing instruments.

The store is closely linked to the Mahatma Gandhi Ek Pravasi Digital Museum in Delhi which features a spectrum of technological boosts, such as an interactive-touch-wall, as well as a room that changes up the setting as per a specific historical event, such as Pietermaritzburg station.

High hopes

“We are hoping to start off with the museum being parked in Mindspace in Hitec City and a couple of other nearby locations, taking the bus to the corporates,” adds Birad, “The bus we have created has little episodes of all our work around the world, be it our work in Johannesburg or Washington DC. Continuing with the philosophies of Gandhi, all profits made from the store will go straight to the museum.”

“I always go to events saying ‘we are not trying to turn people into Gandhians, we are looking for the next Gandhi.’” So what does constitute the next Gandhi given the freedom fighter’s adherence to notions of ahimsa? Often, Birad has heard that the next Gandhi will be the youth given the climate in which we are living, adding “That’s why we are so youth-forced at Visual Quest India.”

The bus isn’t hard to miss, with its clean and simple exterior with fine vinyl finishing. So whether you’re in Old City or Hitec City, if you see the bus, don’t hesitate to step inside and peek into a great life.

Visual Quest India can be contacted on 040-235437607.

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Printable version | Mar 29, 2020 10:45:49 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/society/history-and-culture/mahatma-gandhi-digital-museum-store-hyderabad-mahatma-on-the-move/article22274520.ece

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