A photo exhibition of rare archival photographs of Mahatma Gandhi, an internationally renowned Indian pacifist independence leader, kicked off Friday in the capital Ankara, and is scheduled to continue until Nov. 29.
The exhibition showcased diverse photos taken by Kulwant Roy, one of the first freelance photojournalists who worked from the pre-independence to post-independence era of modern India.
It was organized by the Photographic Arts Federation of Turkey with the support and cooperation of Indian embassy to Turkey and under the auspices of the International Federation of Photographic Art.
The event, devoted to the 150th birth anniversary of Gandhi, displayed some 40 of the rarest negatives and prints of special life moments of the leader, which were selected from a collection of photos taken in 1930-1960.
India’s Ambassador to Turkey Sanjay Bhattacharyya told Anadolu Agency that the exhibition is “very unique” since the negatives were taken with “a very large camera with a plate behind” during times when the modern cameras were not prevalent.
Bhattacharyya said some of the images were damaged during a long period of time and have later been either partially or fully restored.
The envoy said Gandhi was “a very simple person who could easily associate with the masses,” adding that he was also a “great leader” of the nation.
The pictures were lost for many years after the demise of Roy in the mid-1980s, while his negatives were found in a suitcase only in 2008, he added.
Over 200 rare images of Gandhi, found in a suitcase, were first shown in an exhibition in Paris in 2018, he reminded.
Indian ambassador also said that around 40 archival pictures were premiered at the Turkey’s National Library earlier this year, and also exhibited in various universities across the country.
During the exhibition, Bhattacharyya explained the historical background of each photo displayed at the event.
The envoy also shared some interesting facts about the “father of the Indian nation”. Gandhi preferred the cheapest “third class” train transportation while traveling in his country, which, according to Bhattacharyya, was for “being close to the people.”
The negatives were obtained from India Photo Archive Foundation, while Indian photographer Aditya Arya worked on documenting, preserving, restoring and archiving Roy’s visual treasures, which included many unpublished pictures of a momentous era in India’s history.
Gandhi, a moral compass for generations of Indians, was born on Oct. 2, 1869, and is known as a pacifist leader of the Indian independence movement against the British rule.
Earlier in October, the Indian Embassy in Ankara marked the 150th birth anniversary of the Indian leader.
In 2007, the UN declared Oct. 2 as the International Day of Non-Violence.
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