Ahmedabad: For over two years now, the Sabarmati Ashram Memorial Trust has been working on launching an inclusive Gandhi Heritage Portal, but on Sunday, Germany-based Gandhi collector Peter Ruhe launched his much touted portal called www.gandhimedia.org. The portal, he claims, has been launched with the aim of virtually "bringing Mahatma Gandhi to life".
Ruhe has been accused by many of acquiring photographs and other memorabilia from India and Mahatma Gandhi's family over the past several years in an 'unfair' manner. However, today the portal has gone live wherein photographs, cartoons, audio and video recordings etc can be bought online. Ruhe claims the portal is an authentic and comprehensive archive created after 30 years of research and contributions from scholars, associates and family members of Gandhi.
However, the team of Gandhi heritage portal in Ahmedabad is not particularly perturbed about the portal. Gandimedia, they claim is a commercial venture and not necessarily authentic. "We are working on the most authentic and exhaustive source of any and every information on Gandhi. Ruhe's attempts are good. We are about two months away from officially launching the portal," said project director BS Bhatia.
Ashram Trustee Kartikeya Sarabhai said Ruhe's efforts are good but very different from Ashram's portal project. "Our verification process of all information is quite elaborate. However, so much of interest in Gandhi is only a good thing," he added.
Ruhe meanwhile claims to have gathered audio visual material on Gandhi from over 600 sources all over the world in the last decade. Ruhe, in a statement has claimed that Mahatma Gandhi's youngest son Devadas had a dream: to visually document his father's life day-by-day. In the 1950's, he contributed to it by putting together the first major collection of film footage and photographs on his father for the Gandhi Films Committee, which made for the later production of Vithalbhai Jhaveri's cinematographic venture MAHATMA and Richard Attenborough's film Gandhi.
Kanu Gandhi, grand-nephew of Gandhi, was with Mahatma for last 12 years of his life. He was the only one allowed to take Gandhi's photograph at any time. He was thus able to capture the Apostle of Nonviolence in all his moods and moments.
His entire collection, including films and documents, can now be viewed and downloaded for the first time, and so can the works and collections of Jagan Mehta, Datta Khopker, Vithalbhai Jhaveri, Counsic Brothers and many others.
The portal, he claims, has been launched with the aim of virtually "bringing Mahatma Gandhi to life".