Har Qatra Toofan: Gandhi in the eyes of women     

Har Qatra Toofan--an unusual and impressive letter reading session at Jawahar Bhavan on October 8 depicted Mahatma Gandhi’s persona as seen through the eyes of his contemporary women

Har Qatra Toofan: Gandhi in the eyes of women      

Girish Shrivastava

The Letter Reading session under the aegis of Har Qatra Toofan, directed by Vinod Kumar of Rasachakra held at the Jawahar Bhavan’s Wonder room on Monday, October 8, is yet another plume in the 150-year Anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi’s birth celebrations.

“Letters are an intimate part of our personality, so the idea was to re-invent the ‘real’ Gandhi as a human, more as a ‘male’ through the eyes of his contemporary women”, said the director. “For long these letters were lying almost forgotten in a book edited by the noted historian Ramachandra Guha, when one fine day, I decided to weave them, including some other essays on Gandhi, into this project: Gandhi in the Eyes of Women”, added Vinod Kumar.

Gandhi’s ‘unworldly’ aura and his larger-than-life-image has been an intrinsic part of our daily life ever since our schooling started. Whether we agree with his principles or not, we can either love his personality or hate him but we can never ignore him and we can’t do away with him today. He is such a ‘visible’ legend, visible today in our hearsays, folklore, tales, art, literature, cinema and even mythologies that more than two hundred countries have honoured him on their postal stamps, and we honoured him by putting his image on our bank notes and other national artefacts.

He still remains the biggest and much- talked-about-mystery so far for this generation the world over.

Sarojini Naidu likened him to Mickey Mouse, while Mahadevi Verma saw something ‘extraordinary’ in his ordinary physique. Anne Mary Peterson saw a great educationist and spiritual leader in him, whereas Ellen Horup found Gandhi as the supreme emblem of Peace. Taj Sahiba Lahauri saw Gandhi’s Charkha as the “Wheel of Time” and revered him as a Messiah, Ismat Chughtai treaded the difficult path of visualising India after Gandhi.

In the presentation, letters of some the significant cotemporaries of Gandhi such as Sarojini Naidu, Mahadevi Verma, Ismat Chughtai, Taj Sahiba Lahauri, Anne Mary Peterson, Ellen Horup and Ima Tarlo were enacted by Purva Bhardwaj, Shweta Tripathi, Rashmi, Vandana Rag, Alka Rang and Rizwana Fatima. The introduction was made by Kachnar Bhardwaj. And behold, the different hues of Gandhi—right from his Cape Town days to his funeral procession in Delhi—too many sides of Gandhi—full of contradictions and commitment, suited-booted Barrister MK Gandhi to the semi-nude Satyagrahi Gandhi!

Sarojini Naidu likened him to Mickey Mouse, while Mahadevi Verma saw something ‘extraordinary’ in his ordinary physique. Anne Mary Peterson saw a great educationist and spiritual leader in him, whereas Ellen Horup found Gandhi as the supreme emblem of Peace. Taj Sahiba Lahauri saw Gandhi’s Charkha as the “Wheel of Time” and revered him as a Messiah, Ismat Chughtai treaded the difficult path of visualising India after Gandhi.

Har Qatra Toofan is a real testimony of our time. It makes us realise that even today, though he is not present but he is very visible in our socio-political narrative; he is within the very fibre of our nation, he can be felt in every dust particle of this country!

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