After going to India recently, I Netflixed and watched Gandhi, the
epic film starring Ben Kingsley. I’d seen it before, but there is something about travel, age and maturity that opens
your eyes to history. The movie I watched was completely different from the one I’d watched when I was younger, BEFORE
I’d actually been to India. India blew my mind. I’ve lived in Bangkok, Madrid, Santiago, Chile, and I’d seen poverty,
but nothing prepared me for what I saw in India. The unfathomable sprawl of slums in Mumbai shook me. The sight of
untouchables sifting through human ashes on the River Ganges, the sight of bloated infant corpses turning slowly,
face-down, in an eddy…these things were unreal to me.
BTW: if you’re interested. I have a video I shot in Varanasi that folks might be interested in…no baby corpses, but a
nice flavor of the place. Watch it
Anyway, I bring this up because I just read
Tom Haines’ excellent article
in the Boston Globe on the reenactment of Gandhi’s salt march. The march was
orchestrated by Mahatma Gandhi 75 years ago to challenge a strict salt tax, and with it British rule of India. The
scene is featured prominently in the film and is one of the most important events in modern Indian history. Haines does
a great job discussing the march and its significance, and the article is really well-worth a read.