National Archives releases rare footage depicting immersion of Mahatma Gandhi's ashes at Jabalpur in 1948

On the 71st death anniversary of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, rare archival footage has emerged, that shows the Mahatma's ashes being immersed at Jabalpur in Madhya Pradesh.

The eight minute-plus reel was shot on 12 February 1948, by the photographer James E McEldowney. McEldowney was a professor at the Leonard Theological College, Jabalpur. "It is a matter of great pride and honour to know that a movie made by one of our senior colleagues has such a historical significance," Dr Naveen Rao, principal of Leonard Theological College, said.

National Archives releases rare footage depicting immersion of Mahatma Gandhis ashes at Jabalpur in 1948

Mahatma Gandhi. File Photo

The silent film depicts lakhs of the Gandhi's followers paying their tributes to him as his ashes are immersed. A following snippet shows a parade of military and paramilitary forces. A slide at the very beginning of the clip reads: "He (Gandhi) worked unceasingly and gave his life so that men and women of all creeds and races might dwell together under God in security and prosperity in India."

The footage — digitised, and in colour — was released by the National Cultural Audiovisual Archives (NCAA) on 30 January 2018, and can be viewed in its entirety here.

“We received the film from the National Archives of India in October 2017 and sent it for digitisation last year. The reel had to be put in a climate controlled environment as part of the effort to conserve it prior to digitisation,” Irfan Zuberi, project manager — NCAA, told the Hindustan Times.

Several urns filled with Gandhi's ashes were sent all over India. The one immersed at Jabalpur was among them. Sangam (in Allahabad), Jinja (in Uganda) and Girgaum Chowpatty (in Mumbai) were other sites where the Mahatma's ashes were immersed.

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Updated Date: Jan 30, 2019 20:10:01 IST

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