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    Gandhi's a YouTube Star

    Written by

    Brian Merchant

    Mahatma Gandhi, on film, for the first time, in 1931. This was the era of the Salt March, of major turmoil and civil disobedience, of strained diplomatic negotiations between England and India. You'd never know it by watching the man here; he seems uneasy, bored, but pretty serene, considering.

    Gandhi, who was assassinated 65 years ago today, was said to be quite reluctant to sit for photographs and interviews, making this YouTube-preserved glimpse at the mannerisms and disposition of the man all the more important. 

    Thanks, YouTube, for hooking us up with yet another humanizing portrait at a larger-than-life figure--no man was more crucial to the struggle for India's freedom and democracy, few men more impressive in their commitment to nonviolent revolution, their capacity to ignite change--and here he sits, polite, soft-spoken, picking at his garb, concealing any irritation, shyly staring at the ground, and smiling benevolently. 

    We fixate these days on online video as creator of myth, as coiled-up fame propellers. But as with the Gandhi clip, the whole host of archival footage that sites like YouTube put our disposal seem, thankfully, to have quite the opposite effect.

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