Jaipur: Drawing on the legacy of the man who shaped the destiny of our nation, the exhibition, jointly organized by MU and Rajasthan Archeology & Museum department, offers a piercing look at a personage---whom we lovingly call Mahatma or Bapu--through the objects that were his lifelong inanimate companions during the freedom struggle. The exhibition being held at Albert Hall Museum, Jaipur was inaugurated by Shri Onkar Singh Lakhawat, Chairperson of the Rajasthan Heritage Conservation and Promotion Authority in the presence of MU Chancellor, Dr. Ashok Kumar Gadiya and other dignitaries.
The piece de resistance of this exhibition, open to public viewing at Albert Hall Museum (Jaipur) during 30 January-14 February, 2016, is a particular Zenith watch gifted to Mahatma Gandhi by former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi who was then Indira Nehru. This silver pocket-watch was to assume an iconic status as part of Bapu’s daily life paraphernalia, signifying Bapu’s principles of punctuality and clockwork precision, particularly signaling his prayer times thanks to its alarm function. In the early 20th century, Zenith was one of the best watch manufacturers with an international reputation, selling its timepieces as far afield as India.
As the story goes, this watch was once stolen from Bapu during a train journey he undertook to Kanpur. However, the thief, consumed by remorse, not only returned this watch to Bapu six months later but also sought his forgiveness with a pledge of not committing any such crime in the future. Shortly before his assassination, Gandhi reportedly handed this legendary watch to his granddaughter and assistant, Abha.
Additionally, there are many other items on display, which faithfully portray Mahatma Gandhi’s frugal life and his principled struggle against colonialism.. The objects on display memorialize the legacy of Gandhi and his role not only in India’s freedom struggle but also in the movement against the then racist regime of South Africa during his stay there. Several books written on and by Mahatma Gandhi, historical documents related to his political movements, periodicals, newspaper reports, medals, coins and postage stamps are on public display at Albert Hall.
Noteworthy among the books on display is “M. K. GANDHI: INDIAN PATRIOT IN SOUTH AFRICA” written by Joseph J. Doke. Doke was a Christian missionary who wrote the first biography of Gandhi. The significant thing about this biography is that it was written, when Gandhi had not yet become the Mahatma and was only 39 years old. It was in December 1907 that Doke met Gandhi in Johannesburg, South Africa. Doke found a man contrary to his expectations when he came to meet Gandhi and was highly impressed by Gandhi’s philosophy of non-violent struggle. The first Indian edition of this book was published in April 1919