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Destined to miss...

Print edition : Aug 26, 2005 T+T-
Gandhiji with Khan Abdul Gaffar Khan and Dr. Sushila Nayyar arriving at the venue of a Congress Working Committee meeting to discuss Partition, 1947.-

Gandhiji with Khan Abdul Gaffar Khan and Dr. Sushila Nayyar arriving at the venue of a Congress Working Committee meeting to discuss Partition, 1947.-

I had started taking 16 mm colour movies, and was waiting for Gandhiji to hold his prayer meeting earlier in the evening so that I could shoot. One day, I came to know that he was in Delhi at Birla House and he was going to have a prayer meeting at 5 p.m., which is the best time to shoot.

I left the office, taking permission from the director. I had hardly gone a furlong or so when my husband called me back saying, "Wait, I will go with you tomorrow and I can take stills." I didn't go and that day Gandhiji was assassinated one hour after my coming back. Had I gone there, I would have got it.

My director knew I was to go, so people started calling me up. It was hard telling them I had not gone. They started cursing me. I couldn't say my husband stopped me. So I said that some work cropped up and I couldn't go.

That way I lost the picture of my life.

They published in the Current magazine a big headline, `Our ace woman photographer also missed century's most important picture'. But it happens. Nobody had pictures of the assassination.

After that, when the ashes were to be taken to Triveni for immersion, the same thing happened. People from abroad had come with telephoto lenses and all. But it was not destined that anyone should take that picture. At Triveni, the Army had given us steam boats. One with all his relatives went first. But we couldn't follow because ours got caught up in the sand dunes, going round and round for hours. Those with telephoto lenses could not take pictures because the immersion was done on the other side of the boat away from us. So we had pictures of neither the assassination nor the immersion. It's all destiny.