Art & Culture Current Affairs - 2019
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The book ‘The Diary of Manu Gandhi’ (1943-44), edited and translated by Tridip Suhrud, was launched by Prahlad Singh Patel, Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Culture and Tourism, at Nehru Memorial Museum and Library in New Delhi. The book has been brought out on occasion of 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi by National Archives of India in collaboration with Oxford University Press.
Manu Gandhi (Mridula): She was a grand niece of Mahatma Gandhi, daughter of his Nephew Jaisukhlal Amritlal Gandhi, and stayed with M Gandhi till his assassination on 30 January 1948. She was an aide to Kasturba Gandhi (wife of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi) during her imprisonment in Aga Khan Palace in 1943.
About ‘The Diary of Manu Gandhi’
The book was originally written in Gujarati and has been edited and translated by Tridip Suhrud, a well known scholar engaged in understanding Gandhian Intellectual tradition.
First volume of the diary covers period from 1943-1944 which includes a record of her life and times with Mahatma Gandhi. She had expressed the deep emotional bond she had developed with Gandhiji.
The book has been authenticated by M. Gandhi himself. The meticulous and intimate entries in Diary throws light on his life as a prisoner and his endeavour to establish possibility of collective non-violence.
It chronicles spiritual and educational pursuits of a woman who takes up writing as a mode of self-examination. Author has shared a moving portrait of Kasturba Gandhi’s illness and death.
Significance: The publication of such books immensely benefit scholars interested in Gandhian studies and history of modern India at large. The book will be another milestone added to publications that have been brought out by National Archives of India from time to time.
About National Archives of India
It is an Attached Office under Union Ministry of Culture.
It was established as ‘Imperial Record Department’ on 11 March 1891 at Kolkata (then Calcutta).
Following the transfer of capital from Calcutta to Delhi in 1911, the present building of National Archives of India was constructed in 1926. The New Delhi’s building was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens. All records stored were completely transferred from Calcutta to New Delhi in 1937.
President Ram Nath Kovind inaugurated underground ‘Bunker Museum‘ at the Raj Bhavan (official residence of the Governor of Maharashtra) in state capital Mumbai. The 15,000 square feet museum has virtual reality (VR) booths in which visitors can time travel to 19th century. It will be opened for general public with online booking facility later this year.
Recent Discovery: The bunker was discovered by Maharashtra Governor Ch. Vidyasagar Rao last year, along with two identical cannons, atop foothills of Raj Bhavan, which is situated at the tip of south Mumbai. The twin cannons (1.15 metre in diameter and 4.7 metre in length) were found covered in mud 25 metres apart from each other.
History: It was created in 19th century to fire cannons at approaching enemy ships. It is believed to have been asset of battery stationed near coast to defend Bombay Castle from naval attacks. It resembles fort and is made up of 13 rooms, which can be accessed by passing through 20-foot-tall gate. The rooms bear names such as Gun Shell, Shell Store, Cartridge Store, Pump, Central Artillery Store, Shell Lift and Workshop. Its underground passage has proper drainage system and inlets for fresh air and light.
Restoration: As part of it, structural audit of bunker was conducted and structural strengthening was carried out later. It was developed for adaptive reuse as museum without changing its original features. The museum incorporates virtual reality on themes of cannon-firing experience, history of Raj Bhavan and glimpse of the forts of Maharashtra.