Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Following in Gandhi's London footsteps

Ever wondered where, and how, Gandhi (the Mahatma, 1869 - 1948) lived in London each of the times he visited between 1888 to 1906? Go on, I'm sure you must have.

Well, now you can go on a two-hour walk which retraces the steps of Gandhi, who became a dominant figure in Indian Independence politics, since the first time he came to London in 1888 to study law, aged 18 years old.. A website, Gandhi's London, is devoted to retracing Gandhi's time in London and is well worth a look. The site tells us that:
"Gandhi’s London tour was conceived by Ajay Goyal. In 2005 Ajay Goyal started exploring London while reading about Mahatma Gandhi’s early life and experiences. Over two years Goyal visited dozens of locations in London using many of Mahatma’s own articles but especially a book written by American historian James Hunt as a guide book. He discovered that soon after arriving here first in 1889 Gandhi had become a true Londoner – the one who discovers the many diversities of the world through this beautiful, vibrant and friendly city — and built himself a large circle of friends and soul-mates here.  In the two years he spent in London studying he walked miles each day and lived at a number of locations. He attended many lectures and meetings and his search for vegetarian food took him to vegetarian society meetings and small niche restaurants."
Explore the links - the website really is a detailed labour of love - and find out about when the walks take place.

Co-incidentally, and in a bizarre connection between south-east London and Indian Independence, I had spotted a lecture organised last week by the Lewisham Local History Society but one which we've now missed (you never know, it might come round again):
Friday 24th September 2010
Lal Mohun Ghose and Indian Nationalism in Deptford
Speaker: Ray Thatcher
Lal Mohun was an Indian nationalist who for a few years lived in Deptford and in 1885 stood for Parliament as a Liberal.
It sounds fascinating - I wonder if Lal Mohun and Gandhi ever met up in London?

I was about to leave it there when I have stumbled across yet something else which I had to mention, and which is definitely going to be the last word...a performance on 2 October:
TARA evokes Gandhi’s life in London in the spectacular rotunda of the Temple Church with a company of actors, musicians and dancers. The performance on 2 October, Gandhi’s Birthday, marks the launch of the Gandhi Inner Temple Association.
TARA produces global theatre for local audiences. Positioned between East and West, TARA has pioneered cross-cultural theatre for over three decades. In 2009 the company co-produced Hanif Kureishi’s The Black Album with the National Theatre.

Performances of Gandhi in London:

2 Oct 6:15pm (Gandhi’s birthday)
5 Oct 6:45pm
Tickets £10
The Temple Church
London, EC4Y 7HL
Book tickets:
020 8333 4457 / tara-arts.com
Update: There seems to be a further performance on 12 Oct 2010 at 18:45 - see their website

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