Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948)

Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948)

Size: 19.7 x 13.6 in (50 x 34.5 cm)
Date of printing: 1920s

Among the many freedom fighter portraits by Chitrashala Press printed in their last golden decade (1910-1920s), a rare portrait of the young Gandhi wearing the Gandhi topi is of significance.

Post his return from South Africa, he toured the country as part of the activities of the Indian National Congress. He also introduced the concepts of non-cooperation, satyagraha, and boycott of British goods and proclamation of the swadeshi movement.

During a tour in 1919 he went to meet the Nawab of Rampur. It was a tradition to cover ones head in his court but Gandhi had not carried any headgear. A khadi cap was knitted for him which became famous as the Gandhi topi. It later emerged as a symbol of non-violence and self-reliance, and was also worn by Jawaharlal Nehru as part of his attire.

Gandhi wore the cap only between 1919 to 1921. On September 22, 1921 while in Madurai, he abandoned wearing all kinds of clothes except a loin cloth till his death in 1948. The decision was taken seeing the poverty and to identify with the poor in India whom he had to work for and represent.