Mahatma Gandhi’s mottos in pop culture

Sunday, 2 October 2011 - 9:14am IST | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA
Films, books, fashion and more- it is perceived as cool to indulge in ‘Gandhigiri’ today.

He spent all his life striving to spread the message of peace, non-violence and equality.  Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi’s legacy lives on and is today celebrated even in pop culture — films, books, fashion and more. It is perceived as cool to indulge in ‘Gandhigiri’ today.

Several documentaries and films continue to be made on Gandhiji’s life. Remember Richard Attenborough’s Gandhi that fetched eight Academy Awards? Take the case of the latest addition, Gandhi to Hitler, that did a round of several film festivals across the world.  Books — fiction, non-fiction and graphic novels — present his heroic tales. Fashion wise, you’d not be surprised to spot a guy on the streets wearing Gandhiji on his sleeves, literally.

Today, a souvenir shop, Eternal Gandhi, is slated to open its doors to the city dwellers. It will stock up Gandhiji-inspired wristwatches, statues of the iconic three monkeys, khadi shirts, mugs, bookmarks, key chains and pens, among other items.

“It is very relevant for the times we live in. There is strife and corruption today and it’s tearing down the moral fabric of society. It is imperative for us to remember Gandhi’s philosophy and teachings so that we can learn to live in harmony with one another,” says Tony Valechha, founder of Peace Initiative, which handles the store’s sales and marketing.

Designer Ritu Kumar will be showcasing her khadi bridal collection today for the same reason. “Khadi is one garment that ekes out livelihood for many. Remember Gandhiji working on his charkha? I’ve always backed the indigenous, so this seemed like a good time to showcase my khadi wear,” stresses Ritu. To relive the Gandhian era, you can step into some malls where you can learn to spin a charkha, while gazing at a few grand ones on display.

Soon, in Munkee Man, a comic book by filmmaker Abhishek Sharma, the superhero ‘Monkey Man’ will be seen in conflict with the values that the iconic three monkeys stand for. Popular comic franchise Amar Chitra Katha justifies the need to churn more illustrative books on the political figure. “Gandhiji is one of the strongest figures in our freedom struggle and our aim is to tell stories of Indian heroes who can be role models for children.

When a child reads the story of Gandhi in this format, it is not just the words that stay with him but the pictures too,” explains Reena I Puri, editor, Amar Chitra Katha.

Printed Gandhi captions and stencil tees are immensely popular with the young crowd and you can get such tees at Tantra and Inkfruit. And thanks to the recent Anna movement, his caps are once again a rage. Surely this is one topi that one wouldn’t mind wearing at all!




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