A renowned historian from Ahmedabad Rizwan Kadri spends most of his time in the 600-year-old flea market on the banks of Sabarmati river. he has often discovered precious wares among the more commonplace junk on sale, but there is one purchase that is most dear to him: artist Chhaganlal Jadhav’s sketchbook chronicling Mahatma Gandhi during the Dandi March that he found in the market over a year ago. Published in the coffee table book Unseen Drawings of Dandi March by Kadri last October, Jadhav’s original sketches now feature in the exhibition titled “Dandi Yatra” at the National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA) in Delhi.
Part of the year-long celebrations commemorating the 150th birth anniversary of Gandhi, the exhibition also comprises works by stalwarts such as Nandalal Bose, Ramkinkar Baij and Upendra Maharathi. At the onset is an installation that charts the route from Sabarmati to Dandi, and the more famous works include the iconic linocut of Gandhi by Bose and Baij’s plaster of Gandhi walking with his stick. Polish sculptor Fredda Brilliant’s bronze model of Gandhi is also enclosed in glass.’
Jadhav’s pencil sketches of Gandhi and several others who joined the 390 km march from Sabarmati Ashram in March 1930 dominate the display. “It is important that these sketches are shared with the public,” says Kadri. Among others, we see a solemn Gandhi after “the final prayer at the ashram” in July 1933.