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A Brief Encounter with History

October 9, 2017

The only way we young Indians seem to connect to Mahatma Gandhi is through our history books, which, although filled with details of his life and achievements, seem so impersonal and distant.

What if something were to make this experience real and more vivid? Imagine having someone who lived through those times, or better yet, having Mahatma Gandhi close aide sharing his experiences directly with us!!!! Wouldn’t that be truly awesome? Our wishes came true on the 9th of October, 2017, when Mr. V. Kalyanam, a personal assistant of Gandhiji visited our school and shared some of the memorable moments that he had spent with the Father of the nation, Mr. Kalyanam was a government clerk, earning a salary of Sixty Rupees a month, apparently a high salary in the early part of the 20th century. He abandoned his career and joined Mahatma Gandhi. His association with Gandhiji instilled a lot of discipline. He cultivated the habit of rising every day at 4 AM and undertake at least 9 hours of manual labour. He described his daily routine, his job of typing out letters, many encounters with Gandhiji and also shared his insight into Gandhi’s family. The deep sense of respect that the British administration had for Gandhiji, despite being his adversaries was quite amazing to note. He mentioned an interesting fact that more than 200 statues of Gandhi have been installed in many countries across the world, indicating how universally regarded Gandhiji is.

Mr. Kalyanam is ninety six years old but had a recollection of events as if they happened just yesterday. The students of CHSV were thoroughly engrossed in conversation with Mr. Kalayanam who gave us a ring side view of our own history in a way that no text book ever can. It was truly an unforgettable experience and we consider ourselves very lucky to have had the opportunity to meet him.

- Anya Rajha, Grade IX

 

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