© Henri Cartier-Bresson, 1948, Gandhi dictates a message, just before breaking his fast


The photographs above and below are part of the exhibition “Eye on Gandhi" at the Nobel Peace Center in Oslo, Norway.

Mohandas Karamchand ‘Mahatma’ Gandhi’s non-violence philosophy and work made him one of history’s strongest symbols of peace. Despite the fact that he was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize several times, he was never awarded the prize. In a unique exhibition India and Gandhi are captured through the camera lens of legendary photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson. Cartier-Bresson met Gandhi the same day he was shot, and documented India in grief after the spiritual leader’s death.

Photographs, films, texts and interactive installations give the audience a chance to know the man who has been a great inspiration to several Peace Prize laureates. A short film produced for the exhibition highlights why Gandhi never was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
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The exhibition is presented in cooperation with Magnum Photos.

Exhibition dates:
Sep. 21, 2012 – Feb. 17, 2013


  Unknown photographer, ca. 1948, Some of Gandhi’s few worldly possessions

Some of the items on above photo went up for auction in New York in on  March 5, 2009, despite direct appeals from the Indian government and a last-minute stay from an Indian court. The items were sold for $1.8 million to Vijay Mallya, an Indian liquor and airline executive who owns the company that makes Kingfisher beer.

"When people have money, they can buy these items even if their views are different or opposite (to Gandhi). The last time this happened, it was Mallya who bought such items, even though his views on prohibition are completely opposite of what Gandhi thought," said Chunnilal Vaidya, one of Gandhi’s followers.

"Even his business is based on the same (liquor). If he took some money out of that to buy something that belonged to Gandhi, it was not to spread his message, but to satisfy his ego," he added.

Vaidya further said that such articles were perishable, and would lose their importance with time, while Mahatma Gandhi’s message was a greater legacy.

"These items are perishable. If this money were spent to spread the message and to fulfill the vision that made Gandhi the man he was, then that would have been more appropriate. What happened was that money went from one pocket to another, nothing else changed," he said. (Apr. 18, 2012; source)

A representative for Mr. Mallya, Tony Bedhi, did the bidding and later announced that the belongings would be returned to India for public display, but it was not clear whether they would be turned over to the government, as some officials have demanded. I could not find any evidence if these items are really on public display at the moment (well, at least photographs of them are…) - if you have information on that please let me know.
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