Identification and preservation of original material on and by Mahatma Gandhi

In a long-term research project, we identify and conserve previously unknown original materials by and about Mahatma Gandhi. In collaboration with the Gandhi's family, his collaborators and contemporaries, we are able to secure important documents, photographs and films from Gandhi's life from disintegration and make them available worldwide for exhibitions and publications. The GandhiServe Foundation has the most comprehensive archive of Gandhi outside India, as well as the world's most comprehensive image archive of Gandhi and the Indian independence movement.


Although Gandhi's life is well documented, experts estimate that max. 70% of his writings and 60% of his photographs are known and are available for research and publications. Efforts have been made in the past to collect original material about Gandhi through mass media and correspondence, but not through more in-depth research on the ground. Therefore, there is still a large number of important writings, photos and films that must be cataloged and conserved. The GandhiServe Foundation endeavors to master this task systematically.


In the face of increasing violence at all levels, it is particularly important to thoroughly examine the life and work of the Apostle of Nonviolence and to act against violence. The materials that still need to be cataloged and conserved through this project are therefore very important for a thorough documentation of Gandhi's life. This project helps to better understand the ethics of nonviolence. It can inspire people, institutions and even nations and enable them to use non-violent methods of conflict resolution.


GandhiServe Foundation has identified several hundred individuals and institutions that have original materials which has not been conserved or made available for international research and public relations. This list forms the basis for this research project. These sources are systematically visited, often with other sources and previously unknown materials coming to light. With the permission of the owners, these materials are copied on site using state-of-the-art technologies. The owners do not need to separate from the materials and receive immediate advice and help for their conservation. Experience has shown that a large number of important materials are rotting due to improper storage and handling, with the extreme climate in India playing a significant role.