Union Culture Minister Prahlad Patel on Friday said there was “no question of replacing” a panel of the prints of the original photographs of Mahatma Gandhi’s last moments clicked by legendary photographer Henri Cartier Bresson at Gandhi Smriti and Darshan Samiti.
Mahatma Gandhi’s grandson, Tushar Gandhi had on Thursday alleged that Bresson’s gallery of photographs of the Father of the Nation’s last moments has been digitised and displayed on LED screens in a loop without any text.
“There is no question of replacing the photographs. Both the LED screens and the photographs will be displayed at the same time albeit at different spots. This is a non-issue and a completely unwarranted controversy,” Patel told reporters.
Patel said that while visitors will watch the LED screens with the photographers as content, the prints by the renowned French photographer will also be on display for a detailed understanding.
Bresson clicked the Mahatma an hour before he was assassinated on January 30, 1948, and also took photographs of the funeral, capturing the grief of ordinary citizens. A part of Birla House, where Gandhi was shot by Nathuram Godse shortly before the evening prayers, was converted into a museum, where Bresson’s photographs, among other memorabilia and images, were displayed.
The previous photo panels were six feet by four feet large whereas the LED screens on which the images scroll are three feet six inches and four feet five inches, thereby displaying a much scaled down version.
On Thursday, Tushar Gandhi alleged that the removal of the prints was an attempt to obliterate historical evidence, likening it to removing Renaissance paintings at the Louvre and replacing them digitally. Gandhi Smriti and Darshan Samiti director Dipankar Shri Gyan denied the charges and said the display
was still “under construction”.