Mr Bowri recollects being present at Mahatma Ghandi funeral.
This story is part of Independence Stories and was made in a 5-day workshop at Easton Community Centre with members of the Asian Day Centre. The workshop focussed on the personal “Independence” stories of Bristol based people from South Asian backgrounds, reflecting life in India and Pakistan, and the legacies of partition.
The workshop was led by Bristol based digital animation artist Tajinder Dhami, Aikaterini Gegisian and Paddy Uglow from the Bristol Stories team, with extra support by Nathan Hughes.
Independence Stories was produced by Asian Arts Agency in partnership with Watershed, Bristol Stories, Asian Day Centre and Images of Empire Archive, and was supported by Awards for all and Quartet funds.
My experience of independence in India and time after, were quite interesting. One of the experiences that I often think about is the day we heard Ghandi was shot.
We were playing cricket in the fields and when we heard the news we all packed up and went home, and heard the radio and the news and the prime minister of India announces that the light had gone.
It was arranged that the funeral of Ghandi would have to take place next day that was 30th of January. So we went to Birla House where he was shot, and I stood by the gun carriage which was to carry his body to the last resort and, to my surprise, a man of peace was being carried on a gun carriage.
Suddenly one of the India’s important leader, Sardar Patel who was then home minister, looked at me and questioned whether I’d be able to travel ten miles to Rãj Ghãt. I was a bit hesitant in replying – he gave me his hand and asked me to sit down on the gun carriage, and I sat near the feet of Ghandi, the master and I definitely felt elated in one way that I was able to see his face and his body which I’d never been able to see before.
I sat there, and the procession moved, and thousands and thousands of people came across. We had flowers being showered from the air. We had lot of people who had showered flowers themselves and, ultimately, travelling ten miles, we reached Rãj Ghãt. It was here that it all culminated.
Whenever I look at the aerial pictures of that procession, I try to find myself, but with the crowd around it’s always difficult, but that’s one experience that I could never forget in my lifetime.
Indian archive pictures created by Images of Empire, used under copyright licence.
Ghandi statue pictures and Ghandi’s room created by Unknown, (flickr.com), used under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.5 licence.
Spooky sounds created by thanvannispen, freesound.iua.upf.edu, used under Creative Commons Sampling Plus 1.0 licence.