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Words of wisdom from Mahatma Gandhi…in pictures.

December 20, 2007

The thought of Mahatma Gandhi has always made me think of three things. His teachings of Non-Violence, his struggle for the independence of India and lately his poor relationship with his son. On a recent visit to the Sabarmati Ashram I realised the depth that was there to this great man and in this photo feature I shall be show you some of his sayings which made an impact on me.

The first picture is of the Memorial on the Ashram grounds. It’s a peaceful place. I said peaceful because I felt strangely serene as I walked around there. Maybe it was the vibe of the placeโ€ฆI am not sure. The place was spotlessly clean although you had kids running around and groups eating bhel on the lawns.

This is the Mahatma’s room in the actual Ashram.

The picture below is part of a painting.

And below are photographs of his famous words:

Interesting isn’t it to see the number of women taking part in the freedom movement? In fact when Gandhiji went to jail it was Sarojini Naidu who took charge of the movement.

(All photos are copyrighted. Please do not use without permission. Thanks)

47 Comments leave one →
  1. Vivek Khadpekar permalink
    December 20, 2007 9:47 am


    As a naturalised Amdavadi, I was delighted with this photo-essay. It is always heartening to see Ahmedabad being covered for something besides communal violence and riots on the one hand, or its elite instituions on the other. Of course it is between these two extremes that the real spirit of Ahmedabad dwells.

    For the the benefit of those visitors to this blog who may not be familiar with the Sabarmati Ashram, I think a small amendment would be in order. Your first photograph (and also the second) is not of the Ashram itself but the memorial in the same grounds which showcases a lot of Gandhiana — some of which you have recorded. This building was designed by Charles Correa and dates from 1958-63.

    The original Ashram buildings are the ones that stand spread out to the east and the south of the Correa building.

  2. December 20, 2007 10:01 am

    lovely pictures Nita. I want to visit Sabarmati Ashram sometime, if I get a chance. I loved those postcard pictures…something really antiquarian about them.

  3. December 20, 2007 10:28 am

    Thanks Vivek. I shall make that correction in the post. ๐Ÿ™‚ Glad that you liked the post.

    Ruhi, thanks. There was more postcards encased in marble like the ones above, a lot of sayings, and interesting paintings as well as some models… all worth seeing.

    • Eisher permalink
      January 11, 2010 8:20 am

      Could I use the images on this website for a project.. Its copyrighted so wanted to get permission first.

      You can use them for an educational project, there is no problem in that. And it will be nice if you mention where you got the images. However, commercial use is not allowed. – Nita.

  4. December 20, 2007 11:27 am

    To me, the thought of the Mahatma resolutely walking towards Dandi to break salt laws still stirs up great emotions. What a mix of romanticism, idealism and practicality! He could pull masses for the national aim!!

    On women participation — Non-cooperation movement and Civil Disobedience brought women into the centre-stage of modern policits for sure. But then haven’t women always played a subtle but important role in our politics?

    Culturally women have occupied a special place in the household. And the movie “The big fat greek wedding” had a line that echos a similar idea — that though the man is the head of the family, woman is the neck which turns the head. On another note, sometimes I think, that we need new measures to verify if women are empowered in India.

  5. guqin permalink
    December 20, 2007 1:03 pm

    One core idea in Confucianism is the sage-king political theory (in short: sagehood as qualification for and natural initiation of kingship). It was practiced better in India with Gandhi than in China as in response to the west’s challenge in modern times. Gandhi’s triumph is true and permanent (he has shamed the enemies and educated them) as well is universal (he has inspired Martin Luther King in Northern America). In this measure, a sage indeed, but also the most successful politician in modern times.

    Several weeks ago I was watching a documentary film “Planet Earth”, learnt that some mountains of sands in deserts though are forever forced to change their surface shapes due to the winds and other outer factors, yet their cores sometimes have never been moved a bit for thousands of years. Gandhi’s eternal India is such a case.

  6. December 20, 2007 1:10 pm

    Nita: Very nice photo-essay!

    It inspires me everytime I see your photo essays to go look at my photos from over the years but writing a post with them is such an effort that I give up. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ So I know especially to appreciate your work.

    I shall reserve my opinion on Gandhi. ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. December 20, 2007 1:13 pm

    Nita: Just after I wrote this comment, I see you are on WordPress home page in Food with Do Dining and Music Mix? Kudos!

  8. December 20, 2007 3:45 pm

    Hey Nita,

    Any research or comments on Gandhi Ji’s relationship with his son, as you mentioned in the beginning would be very enlightening.


  9. December 20, 2007 4:53 pm

    Anand, thanks. Gandhiji certainly had the power to pull the masses in! A great leader. And yes women have been played an important role as you said in all aspects of life but at the same time there is this terrible dark side too. My reading is that as long as women have taken ‘permission’ from males they could always do whatever they wanted and this includes Gandhiji’s Kasturba.

    Gugin, as you put it so well, Mahatma Gandhi was a sage and a politician combined! Indeed! And thank you for that analogy of eternal India. ๐Ÿ™‚

    yes there are those who don’t like Gandhi for various reasons. But without him who knows how long the British would have stayed on…

    Vishal, I have seen the play (naseerudin shah) Gandhi vs Gandhi and that is all that I know about the subject. I have not read any book on it or studied it…but that sad part of Gandhi’s life is not really what I wanted to write about in this post.

  10. December 20, 2007 5:48 pm

    You should start a photo blog soon Nita.
    I agree with Vivek, //It is always heartening to see Ahmedabad being covered for something besides communal violence and riots on the one hand, or its elite instituions on the other.//

  11. Vivek Khadpekar permalink
    December 20, 2007 6:56 pm

    Nita (and Vishal):

    There have been plays in a number of languages (Gujarati, Marathi, Kannada, Konkani, Hindi et al.)besides the one in English you have seen, and also a film, on the Mahatma’s troubled relation with his eldest son. The primary source material for these is Chandubhai Bhagubhai Dalal’s book in Gujarati.

    It has been published in English as “Harilal Gandhi: A Life”, edited and translated from Gujarati by an eminent scholar, Tridip Suhrud. A reprint edition (Orient Longman, 2007, xxxii, 290 p.) is currently available (ISBN 81-250-3049-2).

    Tridip Suhrud goes beyond just translation. Apart from the life of Harilal Gandhi as chronicled by Chandulal Dalal, Suhrud has included 12 appendices consisting of previously unpublished material. Dalal’s biography, together with Surhud’s appendices, contains the complete published, unpublished and archival material presently accessible on Harilal.

  12. December 20, 2007 8:23 pm

    Thanks a million Vivek

  13. December 20, 2007 9:14 pm

    Nita: This post is on WP home page – in travel ๐Ÿ™‚

    Thanks for letting me know. ๐Ÿ™‚ – Nita.

  14. December 20, 2007 9:27 pm

    Really wonderful photo essay ๐Ÿ™‚ Thank you so much for sharing it with us. He taught the world by his example, though it is still a question whether the lesson took hold.

  15. December 20, 2007 11:24 pm


    Thanks Irving. The lesson may not have taken hold but it’s an ideal to keep in our minds all the time. His message of peace and love for humanity.

  16. wishtobeanon... permalink
    December 21, 2007 12:03 am

    Nice pictures and yes his message is relevant for our times!
    The second message about the “cultures of all the lands” especially appeals to me.

  17. December 21, 2007 12:16 am

    Once again you’ve created a wonderful photo show that creates an open dialog. I really enjoy your posts Nita and as I’ve said before, I read them all even if I don’t comment.

    All your posts show up on the home page of WordPress Nita, my do once and awhile.

  18. December 21, 2007 1:05 am

    Lovely photographic essay

    I was struck by how much of the text was in English. I know that it was a dominant language due to the British and a unifying language in some ways, but it just seemed like more would be in Hindi. Perhaps my history isn’t up to speed.

  19. Sahil permalink
    December 21, 2007 1:32 am

    I live in Ahmedabad and whenever I feel a need to “escape” from the madness around me, Sabarmati Ashram never fails to refresh my mind, once again!

  20. axinia permalink
    December 21, 2007 3:25 am

    Thanks, Nita, what a wonderful report!

    I believe Gandhi was the only person in the known human history so far who served as a benevolent ruler – though It was an Ideal of Socrates and actually the Western democracy to have such a ruler, it happened only in India so far…
    I really hope one day we will have more leaders like him. Thanks again for this reminder!

  21. Vivek Khadpekar permalink
    December 21, 2007 6:12 am

    Ordinary Girl:

    Your impression is partly due to Nita’s selection of photographs. Gandhi, apart from being a fluent communicator in written English and Gujarati, was passably good in written Hindi (he was excellent in spoken Hindi). He also tried his hand in Bengali, Urdu and some other languages. Samples of his writings in many languages are on display at the memorial museum at Sabarmati, as well as a number of Gandhi exhibits elsewhere around India. There must also be such exhibits in S. Africa; it was there that he realised the importance of polyglossia.

  22. December 21, 2007 7:13 am

    Prerna, thanks for your support. But actually I am a very ordinary photographer! In fact I dare not call myself one! I just have a good camera, that’s all. ๐Ÿ™‚

    wishtobeanon, what were your thoughts when you read that? To me at least culture means values more than customs, behavior rather than language. But unfortunately today in India we think that making noise during Diwali is culture, and wearing a saree is culture. These things to me are not culture, but superficial. Truth was Gandhiji’s greatest message, it was everywhere, but we are forgetting the truth and going in for an eye-wash in the name of culture.

    Thanks Brian. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Ordinary Girl, there were translations in other languages too, but everything was also in English. Which was right for this blog.

    Sahil, I envy you the Sabamati ashram. i too felt that I would like such a place to go to.Sit quietly by the river and write.

    you are welcome, as always. ๐Ÿ™‚

    thanks for responding to OG’s and Vishal’s comment.

  23. December 21, 2007 7:14 am

    Regarding Gandhi’s failures — it’s not someone’s weaknesses that make them great; it’s their strengths. The ancient Greeks understood that better than most — all their heroes are flawed. But we moderns have largely fallen into the habit of asserting that anyone with flaws also cannot be heroic. Just my 2 cents.

    • October 20, 2009 1:44 am

      Thank you for that reminder. Doing the right thing makes an ordinary man a hero, at anytime and in any amount.

  24. December 21, 2007 7:23 am


    Agree with you wholeheartedly! Gandhi was but a human, and in fact in Hinduism even our Gods and Goddesses have flaws! Gandhi was a great human being, but if he was perfect he wouldn’t have been human. Thanks Paul.

  25. wishtobeanon... permalink
    December 21, 2007 8:03 am

    My thoughts when I read that message was about tolerance. Yes truth and honesty were some of the things that he stood for and I admire him greatly for that. Sadly, as you said, no one or very few people value and uphold honesty (especially in our land).

  26. wishtobeanon... permalink
    December 21, 2007 8:19 am

    Sorry to keep posting. Like you said, I too do not believe that culture is about wearing traditional clothes or celebrating festivals with great pomp and show. Unfortunately many people think that this is culture. To tell the truth, corruption has become part of our culture!

  27. December 21, 2007 8:38 am


    My thoughts exactly! ๐Ÿ™‚

  28. December 21, 2007 11:27 am

    Hi Nita,

    There is one quote by Mahatma Gandhi, which I would like to recollect here:

    ” First they Ignore you,
    Then they laugh at you,
    They they fight you,
    Then you win ”

    This is one of my favorites. What an extraordinary life for one ordinary person….

    Destination Infinity.

  29. exzede permalink
    December 21, 2007 1:29 pm

    I like this one from Mahatma Gandhi:

    “In a gentle way you can shake the world.”

    Mahatma Gandhi was and still is a world leader and his words will for ever lingers on, all over the globe. We have dedicated a collage page in our Blog for one of the pics above and rest assured I will post more of Gandhi’s as and when we discover them. The one quoted by Destination Infinity is categorised under winning. Thank you and I join the others in saying that this is a pretty impressive blog you’ve got here.

  30. December 21, 2007 5:46 pm

    destinationinfinity, that’s a beautiful saying. I have heard it before somewhere…thank you for adding it here. ๐Ÿ™‚

    And you too Exzede. That’s what I love about blogging! Btw, where is your blog? You did not leave a link in the url box.

  31. December 21, 2007 7:30 pm

    sorry nita, there’s always something that made me wanna come back here ๐Ÿ™‚

  32. guqin permalink
    December 22, 2007 2:31 pm

    There is yet another message with India’s Gandhi phenomenon. Few read it. Colonialism seems to be the main story in that part of history and Britain its leading character, and Gandhi’s India her stage. Yet looking back from the future in 500 years, people will see Gandhi’s India’s noble struggle as the main theme, Britain’s colonialism as merely the background through which India’s personality realizes itself. Like in the Bhogavad Gita, for people then, the grand battle is everything, the dialog in the chariot between Arjuna and his teacher is insignificant. Yet when looking back today, the grand battle is only to serve as a setting for that dialog to take place. Ganhdi’s India is still the master of history even when she suffers Britain, she never looses her infinite dignity — This is the message that most Indian people miss due to the damages in their self-esteem done by the west. What is then a glory for the western men will be their embarrasment, what is then bitterness for India’s people will be spiritual sweetness that will move future people into tears. The same way, 1000 or 2000 years from now, people won’t see the rise of the west but China’s triumph of her epic struggle of her immortal civilization. This is also a lesson for the western mind to learn: You may win in the battle field, the political field, the economic field or even the intellectual field, if you loose in the spiritually-morally, you are still doomed. Much insincerity, hypocrisy and even arrogance I still see in the west, and much feeling of insecurity, inferiority, victimization and confussion in India’s and China’s people, should they read this message of India’s Gandhi phenomenon, they will re-gain composure and confidence, and most importantly, grand patience.

  33. Padmini permalink
    December 23, 2007 7:56 am

    Wonderful blog, Nita. I hadn’t read many of the statements which you’ve published here. I’m sure I’ll be checking it out from time to time.

  34. January 2, 2008 4:21 am

    Hi Nita: I just ran across your site as I was finishing up a five-part series on Gandhi’s Hind Swaraj, Indian Home Rule, and it was wonderful to see these pictures. My own angle on Gandhi now comes from the Tibetan perspective, with Samdhong Rinpoche, the Prime Minister of the Government in Exile, recommending Gandhi’s seminal work on Indian independence as essential reading for everyone concerned with the Tibetan situation. I’ve never been to the Ashram, although I’ve always wanted to go, and your pictures futher kindled that desire. I’ll be returning to India this summer with students to begin an oral history project with the Tibetans in exile, and I’d love to get to the Ashram. But thanks for your posting.

  35. January 2, 2008 9:02 am

    sburris, Thanks for that note. Heartwarming as always when I feel that my post has been of use.

    exzede, Paul, Padmini, sorry for replying so late, but thanks a lot for coming here and responding to this post!

  36. abhijith permalink
    June 4, 2008 2:37 pm

    i’m trying to do a docufilm on bhagathsing and gandhi .can you help me in someway?

  37. anuja trivedi permalink
    June 15, 2008 8:28 pm

    mahatma gandhi was realy gantle man.

  38. July 4, 2008 8:14 pm

    Father of nation zindaabaddddddd!

  39. ghanshyam sharma permalink
    July 14, 2008 4:16 pm

    m really very thx to u 4 giving me all these info….
    bcz of m intrested in bapu’s life……
    he was really a great person……

  40. Shah permalink
    October 16, 2008 6:15 am

    can i please use your pictures about gandhi for my history day project?

    You are welcome! – Nita

  41. Rohit Doshi permalink
    October 24, 2008 11:02 am


    Really a wonderful collection of Mahatma gandhiji’s photographs.

  42. sunil permalink
    June 3, 2009 5:31 pm

    it was excellent


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