Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Picture Gandhi!

What does Gandhi Jayanthi mean to a six year old?  It probably means a school holiday on the occasion of the birth anniversary of the bespectacled man on a 500 rupees note! What does Gandhi Jayanthi mean to an adult Indian? Frankly, all it meant was a welcome mid-week break from work….and of course Gandhi-Jayanthi related articles run on the Newspapers’ Editorial or Magazine supplements. For instance, yesterday’s Metroplus of 'The Hindu' carried a feature titled “Mahatma on the move” that highlights the numerous ways in which references to Gandhiji makes way into our day-to-day lives. Be it on Television (even on popular American sitcoms like Scrubs or How I met my mother) or in Films and theatre, or in terms of literature, either by Gandhi or on Gandhi or the recent Gandhian style of protests and finally with Khadi now making a fashion statement – Gandhi is everywhere! At the same time here’s hoping that Gandhian principles too travel from the textbooks to museums to touch our lives the same way!

Abhay may be a little too young for Gandhian way of life but he is old enough to learn about Gandhi and his way of life! So in an attempt to introduce him to Gandhi, I was looking for some age appropriate material on Gandhi. Trust this week’s ‘Young World’ to do a cover story on Gandhi! “Gandhiji – An inspiration” teaches the kids on the philosophy and values of the Mahatma, while inviting older kids (mostly high school students) to write about what inspired them to follow Gandhi. Another interesting book on Gandhi is “Picture Gandhi”, Tulika publication by Sandhya Rao, a book on the life and works of Gandhi through some rarely seen pictures. Starting with the quintessential, “One upon a time, there lived a boy named …Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi…” this book is a revelation not just for kids! This picture book (literally, so)  takes the readers, young and old, to all the different places and people on whom the father of the nation has left an indelible mark! Besides, the important events, this book also throws some light on the lesser known facets of Gandhi’s personality with the help of call outs and colorful embellishments while at the same time not trivializing his life that was a message for everyone! Not sure how much of this book went in, but this is sure worth a repeat-read, as Abhay grows older. “Picture Gandhi” is a must-read for young India, and hopefully not just on October, the second!  

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