A 26

It was 1938. Gandhi had initiated Civil disobedient movement in India. He insisted that it should be through non-violent means. However, in the CMS College, Kottayam, a group of students had gone berserk. They disrupted the normal functioning of the college and indulged in a bit of hooliganism. Rev. Philip Lea, the then Principal of the college wrote to Gandhi requesting him to interfere and bring peace to the campus. On 16th October 1938, Gandhi wrote back to the Principal in a postcard, which said: “As far as I know, the leaders of the movement do not want the students, even if they wish to participate, to depart in any way from the non-violent way. Obstruction, rowdyism and the like are naked violence. I am credited with influence over students. If I have any, I would ask them to observe non-violence in thought, in word and deed. If, however the forces of violence cannot be controlled by those who are in charge of the movement, it may be a question for them whether in the interest of the movement itself, it is not wise to suspend civil disobedience.” In 2010, the postcard found in the collection of Rev.Philip Lea was handed over to the CMS College archives by his son Dr.John Lea.

Shaji Chelad has taken this historical document as his point of reference. The postcard is presented as the focus of the relief and is flanked by the portrait of Gandhi and the student agitators. Gandhi is seen looking into the frame while the agitators are on their way out, which symbolically means the gravity of the words of Gandhi who would become the Father of Independent India. The entrance of the Gandhi figure, the centrally placed postcard and the exit of the agitators display a sequential narrative within a single frame.

Published On: January 25th, 2024Categories: Relief Sculpture

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