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Rare Gandhi photos in Albany campus exhibition

Friday, September 26, 2014

Rare Gandhi photos in Albany campus exhibition

Seldom seen photographs of prominent Indian political and spiritual leader Mahatma Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi will be on show at Massey’s Albany campus library for 10 days.

The campus is preparing to celebrate Indian culture over the coming fortnight.

Indian High Commissioner to New Zealand Ravi Thapar will launch an exhibition of 36 portraits by photographer Dadbhoy Rustam Wadia, on October 2, Mr Ghandi's birthday.

They span his life (1869-1948) and are on loan to Massey University from a private collection owned by the director and chair of the University of Otago National Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, Professor Kevin Clements.

Massey new migrants director Professor Shaista Shameem says the exhibition marks the 145th anniversary of Mr Gandhi’s birth. “By hosting this significant exhibition, Massey University is actively recognising and embracing the increasing diversity of the people of Auckland, which includes a significant Indian population," Professor Shameem says.

An Indian documentary film festival is also running alongside the exhibition until October 10. Three of the six documentaries are about Mr Gandhi. The film festival starts on October 3 and will be screened at the campus library mini-theatre during weekday lunchtimes.

Professor Shameem says Mr Gandhi remains an international icon for peace and non-violent protest, who almost single-handedly challenged colonialism in India. “Gandhi’s life and work paralleled those of other freedom fighters of the time in New Zealand, such as Te Whiti and Tohu in Taranaki.”

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She says the exhibition is also a commitment by the university "to the principles Mahatma Gandhi stood for – tolerance, peace and goodwill towards fellow human beings.”

On October 8 the campus will celebrate the ancient Hindu Diwali festival of lights, from 2pm-3pm at Student Central. Activities will include Indian music, food, henna tattoos, and cultural performances. Professor Shameem hopes students, staff and members of the community will take the opportunity to celebrate Mr Gandhi’s birthday, watch a film or join in the Diwali celebrations.

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