The Gandhi Collection is probably the most extensive collection of photographs, films and audio of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi in private hands. This collection of rare photographs together with negatives, bundles of contact prints, 8 and 16 mm films, commercially produced postcards and other reproductions, along with other material, is a unique documentary record of one of the most influential figures of the twentieth century. There are many individual images that capture aspects of Gandhi’s extraordinary character, and the collection traces the journey of his life – a journey that had a profound effect on the history of his homeland and provided the world with a hugely influential example of a nonviolent route to revolutionary change.
The Gandhi Collection includes images of Gandhi as a child, as a young lawyer in smart Western dress, and as the leader of Satyagraha in South Africa, but of course in the vast majority of the photographs he is in India, wearing round spectacles and a dhoti. There are films of his spinning on the charkha that he saw as a route to swadeshi; among his friends, family and followers in the humble surroundings of his ashram; his eyes sharp as he negotiates with British dignitaries and fellow Indian nationalists; and confronting huge crowds at rallies and other public events. Gandhi himself famously remarked “My life is my message”: this collection is a unique and powerful insight into that life.