My Gandhi Story
My Gandhi Story
The first thing that strikes you when you pick up the book, is its art-work. Rajesh Chaitya Vangad is a Warli artist, fascinated by Gandhi’s life – especially, as the book informs us, of the way the Father of the Nation lived, just like “one of us,” an ordinary person. The story flows around the illustrations, complementing a wonderful art tradition that shows Gandhi just as he was, in his life. Shorn of all the trappings of superlative descriptions, Gandhi’s character is described in delightful short paragraphs – like the fact that he didn’t like school much; was thrown out of the train in South Africa because of his skin color; decided to travel across the country to find out for himself what the people felt and finally, fought peacefully, eventually bringing freedom to the country.
All through the story, the illustrations grab your attention, with their simple lines and colors; the signature Warli pictures relating Gandhi’s life, and highlighting significant events such as the Salt Satyagraha. Gandhiji is shown with glasses and a huge watch hanging off his waist – two things that characterized him in life; there are sepia-toned pictures as well. But there’s an element of fun too: in one of the illustrations, which show Gandhi’s penchant for doing everything himself, he’s shown cutting off his meager hair with a huge pair of scissors!
The text is simple, easily understandable, and the illustrations help in making the book different, from other Gandhi stories. And instead of just listing out his virtues, or the sacrifices he made for the country, the story is more a conversation, between us and Gandhi himself, as he explains his feelings, or decisions, while key-facts are given as well. The art-work brings everything to life: be it spinning a charkha or being thrown out of a train. And on the back cover is the tale of how it came into being – an interesting adventure in itself.
Add this book to your library: it’s a valuable work, and definitely something more than just another book on Gandhi.
Pavithra Srinivasan has written several stories and articles, for children and adults, in The New Indian Express, The Hindu, Gokulam, Prodigy, Chandamama. She is a contributor with Southscope, Eves Touch, Women’s Era, and is currently a historical-fiction columnist for Young World, The Hindu’s supplement for children. She is the author of Little-Known Tales from Well-Known Times: Back to the BCs and has also translated several significant works from Tamil to English and vice versa.