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Home / Pune News / Meet this Pune man whose collection of 450 rare pictures of Gandhi speak of the Mahatma’s history and his life

Meet this Pune man whose collection of 450 rare pictures of Gandhi speak of the Mahatma’s history and his life

Shastri stumbled upon a rare photograph of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi travelling in a second class compartment of a train

pune Updated: Oct 02, 2019 16:18 IST
Yogesh Joshi
Yogesh Joshi
Hindustan Times, Pune
Shastri who originally hails from Mumbai, but settled in Talegaon after setting up his business in Pune, has made a good use of his profession to satiate his hobby requirements.
Shastri who originally hails from Mumbai, but settled in Talegaon after setting up his business in Pune, has made a good use of his profession to satiate his hobby requirements. (HT/PHOTO)

From Gandhi stepping out of the Sassoon General Hospital in Pune after his surgery to the Mahatma collecting donation for the Harijan fund and BR Ambedkar coming out of the Yerawada jail after signing the Poona Pact, there are a few pictures that portray history and a man from Pune is on a mission to collect such rare gems.

Around 45 years ago, at the age of 25, travel agent, Nitin Shastri, started collecting rare photographs, of revolutionaries who played a crucial role in the Indian freedom struggle, as a hobby. Five years later, Shastri stumbled upon a rare photograph of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi travelling in a second class compartment of a train. Since, then there has been no stopping Shastri’s passion to collect rare photographs of Mahatma Gandhi, Indian freedom struggle and Indo-Pak wars of 1961 and 1965.

Mahatma Gandhi along with Sarojini Naidu (right in the picture) and Rajagopalachari (left in the picture) at Wardha railway station in 1930. Behind Gandhi are Maulana Abdul Kalam Azad, Vallabhai Patel, JB Kriplani and others,
Mahatma Gandhi along with Sarojini Naidu (right in the picture) and Rajagopalachari (left in the picture) at Wardha railway station in 1930. Behind Gandhi are Maulana Abdul Kalam Azad, Vallabhai Patel, JB Kriplani and others, ( NITIN SHASTRI/HT PHOTO )

Shastri who originally hails from Mumbai, but settled in Talegaon after setting up his business in Pune, has made a good use of his profession to satiate his hobby requirements. Wherever he travelled, gathering rare pictures of Gandhi and other freedom fighters was as important as his business. Slowly, he collected over 4,500 rare photos, among which 450 were of Gandhi.

“As a part of my business, I often visit Delhi where the first thing on my mind is to collect pictures of Gandhi. In my journey, the Gandhi Smriti, Darshan Samiti and Nehru memorial museum and library have helped me a lot,” said Shastri, who is a member of the Nehru memorial museum and library.

Mahatma Gandhi enjoys a train ride with a child, 1941.
Mahatma Gandhi enjoys a train ride with a child, 1941. ( NITIN SHASTRI/HT PHOTO )

Among the rare pictures which Shastri has is of Gandhi coming out of Sassoon after his surgery in 1924; BR Ambedkar coming out of the Yerawada jail after signing the Poona Pact, among others.

Shastri’s collection of photos has been displayed by the Gandhi Bhavan trust in Pune as well as the Indian Railways, which will also be displaying them on Wednesday (Gandhi’s 150th birth anniversary).

Shastri is also eager to share his gems with the world. “Nobody has a copyright on Gandhi. I feel these pictures should reach more people,” he said.

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