Vignettes of Gandhi’s life

He adores Mahatma Gandhi and the values Gandhiji stood for.

His love for Gandhiji is something that N. Nirmal Kumar inherited from his father, P.K. Madhavan Nambiar, a freedom fighter, along with more than 250 rare photographs depicting the life and mission of the ‘father of the nation.’

“I received the collection of photographs from my father 20 years ago and have preserved them all,” said Mr. Kumar, a teacher at G.B. Upper Primary School, Perdala.

Mr. Kumar has been organising exhibitions in Kerala and Karnataka to create awareness of the freedom movement and Gandhiji among the younger generation. So far, he has organised more than 1,000 exhibitions.

The pictures depict rare moments in the life of Gandhiji and the transition from Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi into the Mahatma and vignettes of important events during the freedom struggle.

“My father built up the collection while participating in the freedom movement along with K. Kelappan, popularly known as ‘Kerala Gandhi,” Mr. Kumar said. “My father held exhibitions of the photographs during the ‘Kerala Paryatanam,’ organised by Mr. Kelappan for popularising Khadi.”

The prized collection includes pictures of Gandhiji’s parents and brother, his ancestral home at Porbandar in Gujarat and his school.

Another collection showcases pictures of Gandhiji as a seven-year-old and also as a barrister, and Gandhiji dressed in traditional Gujarati dresses and modern English clothes.

The collection also captures the rise of Gandhiji as a leader of the Indians in South Africa and his return to India, photographs of Gandhiji participating in the Salt Satyagraha and going to London to attend the round table conference. The collection includes pictures of Mahatma along with C.F. Andrews, Sarojini Naidu, Mohammed Ali Jinnah, Maulana Azad, Jawaharlal Nehru and J.B. Kripalani.

The pictures of Gandhiji visiting the riot-hit Naokhali and Bihar to draw our attention the beginning of events that culminated in the partition of the country. The photographs portray poignant scenes at the Birla House where Gandhiji’s body was kept for the public to pay homage after his assassination, the funeral procession and dispersion of the ashes.

Mr. Kumar said he considered his father’s treasured collection of photographs a great legacy and valued it above everything else. “But my father, who participated in the freedom struggle and preserved the photographs for posterity, is being denied the freedom fighters’ pension by the authorities.”

The octogenarian freedom fighter has now filed a case to get the pension.


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