An Accidental Artist's Tribute to Mahatma!
The Covid pandemic impacted the lives of entire humanity in unimaginable ways. For majority of the impacted people these changes were horrendous – something that they would never wish to remember. At the same time for some people, after the initial phase of fear and uncertainty, it presented an opportunity to introspect, revisit their life choices/decisions & explore those aspects of their persona which had remained dormant in the routine humdrum of life. Susheel Kumar Gotla a native of Hyderabad was one such person. A graduate in public administration, an accomplished national level Chess player with keen interest in history and historical monuments; he was employed with an international school as a sports administrator before the COVID outbreak. Three month long lockdown offered him an opportunity to rediscover his innate artistic leanings. He picked up his hobbies of painting & sculpting from his teen years and devoted a lot of time in sustained pursuit of these two artistic activities. One of the significant outcomes of this pursuit was a desktop sculpture of Mahatma Gandhi.
Encouraged by friends and family, he shared the picture of the sculpture with Tushar Gandhi the great grandson of Mahatma Gandhi and later met him at his Mumbai residence. This meeting and the subsequent discussions, gave Susheel the necessary confidence & direction to do an in depth exploration of Gandhi, his philosophy and work by joining International Fellowship Program on Peace and Nonviolence conducted by Sevagram Ashram Pratishthan Wardha. While undergoing this fellowship, he sculpted another sculpture of Mahatma which was appreciated by his co-fellows and the faculty of the program and he got an opportunity to make a presentation on his artistic works on Mahatma at Sevagram International Symposium. After completing the program in May 2023, Susheel decided to offer tribute to Mahatma Gandhi – his muse, by making a series of paintings and donating these to the Sevagram Ashram.
Dr. Siby K. Joseph, Director of Library and Research Centre for Gandhian Studies of Sevagram Ashram Pratishthan,Wardha lauded the decision and extended the necessary support. Susheel spent the next 40 days doing the paintings. Finally, on July 14, 2023, Susheel handed over these paintings, his labour of love & reverence, to Sevagram Ashram. These paintings will be showcased in the newly established Library and Research Centre for Gandhian Studies of Sevagram Ashram Pratishthan,Wardha.
Susheel is currently researching on his next project on Champaran Satyagraha.