The Eternal Gandhi Multimedia Museum is one of the world’s first digital multimedia museums. It is located at the site where Mahatma Gandhi attained martyrdom. The museum presents the historical events of Gandhiji’s life as well as a spectrum of information technology visions inspired by Gandhian thought. In doing so, the project not only documents but also revives the values by which India obtained freedom. It also redefines those values in order to animate modern products and design.

The technology developed does not ‘merely scan’ Gandhian images; rather it interprets Gandhian vision in newer product design. The exhibits interpret Gandhian forms and values. For example, the Gandhian commitment to hand-based production and production through symbolic relationship with nature. This is interpreted in the context of modern culture-conscious design.

The project presents a language of physical interface actions. It is derived from classical symbols of the spinning wheel, turning of the prayer wheels, touching symbolic pillars, spinning wheels, the act of hands touching sacred objects, collaboratively constructed quilts, sacred chanting in the collective group, the satsanga, the touching and rotating of prayer beads. These tradition-based interactions inspire a rich panorama of tactile interfaces that allow people to access the multimedia imagery of Gandhi.

The visionary has gone. But his dream may be unfulfilled. In this void, we do not merely copy old forms and hold them sacred, nor capture photo-realistic images of Gandhi frozen in time. We rather extrapolate Gandhian ideals into newer domains of interest, information technology, and product design.

Against the backdrop of globalization, the Eternal Gandhi encompasses new boundaries; in the inclusion of the world community in the production of art and technology, and in the contribution of imagination and skills from all over the world. The contributions of the diverse members across the ancient countries of the world illustrate the universal identification by all with the Gandhian ethos.

The works of scholars, artists, craftsmen, sculptors, carpenters, wood carvers, electronic designers, digital artists, animators are like a dedicated prayer towards a remembrance of the Gandhian vision. It is like a collective ‘Likita Japa’, the endless recollection of the Divine through repetition of the written mantra. Each object in the exhibit, whether a bit of light, a bit map on screen, an animation, a circuit, a handcrafted object is a living prayer from all of us! Through the prayer we reaffirm our commitment to the dignity of the hands, the healing of divides, and the leveraging of village creativity and diversity against a backdrop of homogenization.

Ranjit Makkuni, Project Director
Sacred World Research Laboratory
New Delhi