HYDERABAD: There are several books that describe the struggle for independence and narrate the tough times that our freedom fighters went through. While we try and recreate the scenes in our minds, here’s a book that attempts to retrace one of the landmark moments in India’s freedom struggle.
23 Grams of Salt retraces the Dandi March, a non-violent civil disobedience protest that Mahatma Gandhi led from March 12, 1930 to April 6, 1930. Authored by Anuj Ambalal, the book, which is a photo documentation, takes its readers to all the sites covered by the march.
“I am a photographer based in Ahemdabad and for the last couple of years I have been working on a series called 23 Grams of Salt. It is basically a photo documentation of all the sites pertaining to the Dandi March. As part of the march’s 90th anniversary, Navjeevan Trust, which was founded by Gandhi, has published the book,” says Anuj, who will launch it at Kalakriti Art Gallery in Banjara Hills on October 18. He will also converse with advocate L Ravichander.
Speaking about how he went about the project, Anuj says: “It had started off as photo book, but the pictures seemed to be a bit cryptic without the historical information. Whenever I showed the pictures to my friends or fellow photographers, I noticed that I had to give them some sort of a commentary, I had to put these photos in context. The thought occurred that there should be some text along with the pictures. So, I started to write. While writing, I thought that I should include my experiences of visiting these sites too. Probably, this would give the readers a wholesome experience. It would be as though they are visiting the sites of the Dandi March along with me.”
Anuj spent two-and-half years on this project. “The photography itself took a couple of years and writing about eight-nine months. The text is co-authored by Dr Rujuta Metha,” he says. One may wonder how the author managed to travel to all those sites amid a pandemic and its restrictions. He was lucky to have finished the photoshoots just before the second wave could lock down the country again. “My book was supposed to be launched on April 12, but the second wave happened. So, I had to delay the launch and used this time to fine tune the text,” he says.
Soon after unveiling his work in Hyderabad, Anuj will jet off to Bengaluru to launch his book on October 20, Chennai on October 22 and Ahmedabad on November 20. “I might also launch it in Delhi, but the dates are not out yet,” he says. Finally, Anuj wants readers to keep an open mind while reading his book. “All the historical anecdotes pertaining to the Dandi March have been embedded in the write up. There is a bit of humor and it will be a fun read. Enjoy every page,” he says.
Ninety years later, 23 Grams of Salt retraces one of the landmark moments in India’s freedom struggle. Authored by Anuj Ambalal, the book, which is a photo documentation, takes its readers to all the sites covered by the march