Salman Rushdie wrote for Time magazine a few years ago: “These days, Gandhi’s message is better heeded outside India…and all the world’s peace movements have followed in his footsteps.” No wonder the nation was on the edge during the Ayodhya judgment this week with fears of communal riots. Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was duly beatified but conveniently forgotten in Independent India.
Birla House, where he spent the last 144 days of his life before his assassination, has been turned into the Gandhi Memorial.
It houses a first-of-its-kind multimedia museum, Eternal Gandhi. He might have been an opponent of modern technology but now Gandhi’s legacy will be kept alive with state-of-art technology, designed by Sacred World Research Laboratory, making it interesting for people of all ages.
“It is the same old story of Gandhi ji told through a medium that this generation could relate to. The footfalls have increased quite a lot,” says project manager Sangeeta B. Das.
Soon after he came back from South Africa, Gandhi had travelled all over the country by train, as advised by C.Rajagopalachari.
This discovery of India is represented with an interactive installation of a train engine called E-Train. While the children merrily hop on and off the train, there is a lot for grown ups too.
As Shahid Amin, the eminent historian, explains in the videos: “Railway stations were the creation of the British but Gandhiji used that very set-up to propagate the civil disobedience movement. He would stop at the malgodams and would address the public.”
There are many interesting interactive installations such as the Gandhi harp that plays freedom songs upon touching its strings. There are kaleidoscopes for children with many stories — depicted and narrated by children — from the Mahatma’s life. The timeline is so rich with rare details, photographs and videos that it could be a treasure trove for research students as well.