The Master as a Transnational Figure

Jawaharlal Nehru in The Soviet Union

The Master as a Transnational Figure

Jawaharlal Nehru in The Soviet Union

Jawaharlal Nehru, Prime Minister of India, arrived in Moscow on June 7, 1955. He was met by leaders of the Communist Party and the Soviet Government. The picture shows Jawaharlal Nehru, Prime Minister of India, and N.A.Bulganin, Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the U.S.S.R. at the Moscow Central Airport, NML- 60845 in Jawaharlal Nehru in the Soviet Union (Moscow: State Fine Arts Publishing House, 1955). Reproduced by permission of Nehru Memorial Library, New Delhi.

India’s Independence from the colonial rule saw the nation’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru emerge as a powerful visual presence. At the peak of his popularity, in June 1955, he made a highly publicised 16-day visit to the USSR. This visit, made in the backdrop of the Cold War and the impending Big Four Conference, was covered in detail by the Indian and foreign press, as well as both government’s official photographers and camerapersons. Paper addresses an official album made after this iconic visit to investigate the role of photography within India-Soviet diplomatic networks. Casting Nehru as the Master persona, it delves into the function of photography in recasting his image as an international traveller, a crusader for peace, a negotiator, and a friend of the Soviet. Considering India’s and Soviet’s differing political stance and international position in that period, the article questions what does the presence of these official photographs reveal about emerging trans-national networks and if there were there any deviations in this careful reconstruction of the Master and his ally.

State visits were a part of Hindu and Muslim rulership practices even before India came under colonial rule. With the arrival of the British, the ceremonial culture of durbars and royal visits increased in popularity. As Deepali Dewan suggested, these visits acknowledged the status of the sovereign and were an integral part of the larger elite travel during that period (Dewan 2013, 112). By the mid-20th century, the accessibility of air travel made visits to foreign locations easy and more frequent, thus reducing some of the exotic mystery. However, the diplomatic protocols that were to be followed on such visits, the expectant crowds thronging to see the leaders and the hushed and often revered tones of journalists continued to glamourize state visits even in post-colonial times. The monarch as the supreme embodiment of the colonial hierarchy was replaced by the Prime Minister as the new symbol of the new geopolitical identity of the nation. Post 1947, the heavily documented, publicised and discussed state visits established visibility and acknowledged the Prime Minister’s role, thus reinforcing the authority of his position. State visits were often documented in the form of photographs and videos, which were mass circulated through newspapers and feature films. Usually, some photographs of the Prime Minister’s (and other important diplomats) visit were gathered in an album format that allowed for a private viewing of the photographs. Acknowledging the unique elements characteristic of photo albums, the article focuses on one such photographic album that documents Jawaharlal Nehru’s (the first Prime Minister of postcolonial India) state visit to the Soviet Union.

The Visit

At a time when the Soviet Union and the US were engaged in the Cold War, Nehru, as a representative of the newly independent India, was particularly interesting to the Soviet Union as he intervened in the Korean War (Barnes 2013). Following the Bandung Conference of Afro-Asian countries in April 1955 (Shimazu 2014), the Soviets took a keen interest in Nehru and his alliances with other non-aligned nations, and started treating him as one of their first non-communist allies. It was in this atmosphere that Nehru visited the Soviet Union in June 1955, in what came to be regarded as one of his most momentous visits of that period. His 16-day visit to several Soviet provinces marked an important moment in the India-Soviet diplomatic relations and functioned as a precursor to key bilateral exchanges of technology and expertise between the two nations during the Cold War period. 

The State Fine Arts Publishing House in Moscow assembled photographs from the visit into an official commemorative album titled Jawaharlal Nehru in the Soviet Union, which was later presented as a gift to Nehru’s office. The album is a bilingual visual memoir with 70 black and white printed and captioned photographs, with a short written introduction. The album begins with the images of Nehru’s arrival at the Moscow Central airport which establish him as an eagerly awaited guest from India. The reader is introduced to the crowds lining up along the streets of Moscow, hoping to see Nehru, as he and N.A. Bulganin, the Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the USSR, wave at them from their open limousines as they pass by. The photographs reveal various sightseeing opportunities presented to Nehru during his visit, highlighting Nehru’s presence as a curious guest and simultaneously portraying the Soviets as warm and hospitable hosts. There are also photographs of indoor gatherings that reveal Nehru as a negotiator and diplomat engaged in conversations with the receptive and friendly Soviet leadership and signing joint statements. The album ends with group photographs of Nehru and Bulganin at the airport, and Nehru bidding farewell to the crowd from the gate of his plane.

Figure 1. Jawaharlal Nehru, Prime Minister of India, arrived in Moscow on June 7, 1955. He was met by leaders of the Communist Party and the Soviet Government. The picture shows Jawaharlal Nehru, Prime Minister of India, and N.A.Bulganin, Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the U.S.S.R. at the Moscow Central Airport, NML- 60845 in Jawaharlal Nehru in the Soviet Union (Moscow: State Fine Arts Publishing House, 1955). Reproduced by permission of Nehru Memorial Library, New Delhi.
Figure 1. Jawaharlal Nehru, Prime Minister of India, arrived in Moscow on June 7, 1955. He was met by leaders of the Communist Party and the Soviet Government. The picture shows Jawaharlal Nehru, Prime Minister of India, and N.A.Bulganin, Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the U.S.S.R. at the Moscow Central Airport, NML- 60845 in Jawaharlal Nehru in the Soviet Union (Moscow: State Fine Arts Publishing House, 1955). Reproduced by permission of Nehru Memorial Library, New Delhi.

Framing Diplomacy


The album depicts the diplomatic story of Nehru’s visit, set firmly within the rules of hierarchical ranking and official conduct. Figure 1 begins the story presented in this album. It was taken soon after Nehru landed in Moscow on June 7, 1955. The airplane that brought Nehru is visible in the background, while the rest of the frame is covered by people in formal clothes, presumably officials who received him at the airport. Amongst the people is also Bulganin, the Chairman of the Council, who came to greet Nehru at the Moscow airport personally. The composition of this photograph places identical focus on both Nehru and Bulganin, who are both in the centre of the frame. In this and other similar photographs in which Nehru shares the frame with his Soviet counterpart, the frame is equally divided in terms of its focus. Nehru is not the sole centre of the frame, which is occupied by the two main protagonists through a shared centrality in the framing, thus suggesting that the album makers followed the protocols of visual diplomacy. The diplomatic hierarchy is carefully maintained in the visuals through framing, composition and editing of the photographs in the album. Another example of this can be seen in the photographs in which the frame is occupied by Nehru and his daughter Indira, who accompanied her father on his official visit, and is seen alongside Nehru in most photographs. However, her visual presence never takes over the frame. 

Figure 2 shows a visit to the Stalingrad Tractor Plant. Nehru is seen in the centre of the frame, surrounded by a group of Soviet officials who are showing him around the Plant. Indira is a part of the group, walking slightly in front of the rest, which makes her clearly visible. She is looking at the displayed tractor models with great intensity, thus marking her presence in the frame as an active part of the composition and not merely a part of the group assemblage. However, her presence never competes with Nehru, who remains the focus of the frame throughout. Unlike the photographs with Bulganin, these photographs do not follow the rules of shared centrality. Following the rules of diplomatic ranking, Indira does not occupy an equal visual role in the photographs.1

Figure 2. The Indian Prime Minister acquaints himself with production at Stalingrad Tractor Plant, NML-60873 in Jawaharlal Nehru in the Soviet Union (Moscow: State Fine Arts Publishing House, 1955). Reproduced by permission of Nehru Memorial Library, New Delhi.
Figure 2. The Indian Prime Minister acquaints himself with production at Stalingrad Tractor Plant, NML-60873 in Jawaharlal Nehru in the Soviet Union (Moscow: State Fine Arts Publishing House, 1955). Reproduced by permission of Nehru Memorial Library, New Delhi.

Deepali Dewan writes of formalized group portraits in colonial India as “events that formalized the relationship between two political entities” (Dewan 2013, 122) in which power hierarchies were represented through the hierarchical position within the images. Group photographs often showed the most important person in the centre, surrounded by people of decreasing official ranking, so that those closer to him in the hierarchical ranking stood close to him, while those lower in ranking, stood further away from the centre of the frame. While this album does not contain any formal group portraits with a hierarchical ranking system mentioned by Dewan, it does observe similar hierarchical rules of ranking in the informal, “caught-in-the-moment”, photographs. These photographs, in their candidness, attempt to present a more informal view that reflects the visual modernity (Dewan 2013, 131). However, even the candid and “caught-in-the-moment” snaps are often tightly governed by the rules of diplomatic hierarchy.

There are occasional exceptions. Figure 3 captures a casual looking Nehru leaning on the railing in the Moscow Metro, while Indira is looking curiously through the window. The diplomatic entourage that surrounds them in most of the other photographs seems to have been left out from this particular frame. Unlike any other photograph in this album, this one captured Nehru and his daughter Indira in a rare moment they found themselves away from the public gaze and heightened attention that marked the visit. This photograph depicts them as travellers, absorbing new information through their curious gaze and finding a moment of repose in an otherwise tightly scheduled itinerary. This photograph is a rare occasion in which Indira comes close to sharing the focus within the framing. However, compositionally she is presented as the dutiful daughter, firmly beside her father, never overshadowing Nehru’s presence. Nehru, even while sharing his presence, remains the older statesman and father figure. 

Figure 3. Jawaharlal Nehru and his party in the Moscow Metro, NML-60864 in Jawaharlal Nehru in the Soviet Union (Moscow: State Fine Arts Publishing House, 1955). Reproduced by permission of Nehru Memorial Library, New Delhi.
Figure 3. Jawaharlal Nehru and his party in the Moscow Metro, NML-60864 in Jawaharlal Nehru in the Soviet Union (Moscow: State Fine Arts Publishing House, 1955). Reproduced by permission of Nehru Memorial Library, New Delhi.

Through framing and composition, these diplomatic photographs establish Nehru as a non-competing presence. Attempting to approach these photographs through the classic Hegelian Master Slave dialectics, I do see Nehru’s image as that of the master figure whose presence is intersubjectively produced through the dialectical positioning of the Other. The visuality of the master is not motivated merely by the desire to stand out (Teixeira 2018) from the audience, but in a self-contradictory manner, it is premised on the audience acknowledging and providing photographic space to him. The contradiction here arises from two precarious viewing situations, additionally complicated by the archival context and the researcher revisiting these photographs through the passage of time. The two viewing situations manifest here are (1) the diplomatic entourage viewing the master and creating a centre-stage for him, and (2) the photographer/observer whose role is to view the master through this lens and create photographs that are cognizant of the first set of viewing conditions. 

Both sets of viewing conditions, create an Other to the master. In the first, it is the diplomatic entourage around him. In certain frames, the Other is also positioned through his daughter Indira. Nehru’s presence is supposed to overpower the rest in the frame, thereby asserting his Master persona. At the same time, his image as the Master is produced only in relation to the presence of the diplomatic entourage around him. In a moment away from it, the Master loses his persona and becomes a normal father, a tired tourist and an aging figure holding on tightly to the handrail to avoid a fall in the metro (fig. 3). It is the presence of the diplomatic “Other”, the assistants and officials constantly looking to serve him, others lower or equal in diplomatic ranking create a photographic space for Nehru as the Master figure. 

In the second viewing condition, the Other is the photographer and the observer of the whole diplomatic spectacle. Additionally, in case of an album, this observer Other is not singular, but multiplied through the presence of a photo-editor/album maker. Not much is known about the either of these roles in the context of the visit. The framing choices of the photographer and editing decisions of the album maker are made invisible under the publishing institution, in this case, the State Fine Arts Publishing House in Moscow. It may be relevant to note that the State Fine Arts Publishing House at Moscow published another propaganda photobook titled Moscow in the same year. However, unlike the diplomatic album being discussed, this photobook included a list of photographers whose works were featured in the book. The album Jawaharlal Nehru in the Soviet Union does not contain any such list of individual photographers. It may be possible to infer that not naming the photographers in the album was a deliberate intervention by the album makers to present the Soviet State as “the author” of this book. The Other in this case is not just the photographer-observer, but also the author-creator of this diplomatic spectacle. By positioning Nehru as the Master figure who was popularly embraced, as the chief guest who was persistently attended to, and as the curious outsider who was shown the Soviet factories and other significant sites of national security without any inhibitions, the Soviet state effectively uses the frame of the Master to counter-intuitively frame itself. At the peak of the Cold War in 1955, the Soviet state was perceived as closed and unwelcoming to non-communist nations. Nehru’s visit gave the Soviet State a chance to portray itself as the welcoming and open ally, not just to India, but to other viewers in the Non-aligned network of ex-colonial nations (Reddy 1955).

The Close-up

Bulganin receiving Nehru at the Moscow airport marks an important moment in Soviet international diplomacy, as this gesture symbolized the Soviet Union’s eagerness to welcome Nehru as one of the first non-communist leaders. The entire Council of Ministers was present at his official reception at the Kremlin Palace on 9th June, which marked another first for a non-communist guest (Menon 1963). As mentioned earlier, the Soviet leaders viewed this visit as an opportunity to make an impression not only on the Indian people, but also on the other uncommitted people of Asia and Africa – even extending as far as Europe (Reddy 1955). As for Nehru, this visit, on the eve of the 1955 Geneva Summit, allowed him to discuss international issues such as nuclear disarmament, atomic controls, and the unification of Germany. Even though these issues were not directly linked to India, the visit allowed Nehru to render a postcolonial, “pan-Asian voice” (Reddy 1955, 1) internationally, aligning with his speech at the Bandung in April 1955. In terms of diplomatic gains, this visit paved the way for the Soviet provision of technical and financial support in heavy industry projects in India, such as the Bhilai Steel Plant, among many others (Mehrotra 1990).

Figure 4. N. A. Bulganin, Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the U.S.S.R. and Jawaharlal Nehru, Prime Minister of India, at the Moscow Central Airport, NML- 60848 in Jawaharlal Nehru in the Soviet Union (Moscow: State Fine Arts Publishing House, 1955). Reproduced by permission of Nehru Memorial Library, New Delhi.
Figure 4. N. A. Bulganin, Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the U.S.S.R. and Jawaharlal Nehru, Prime Minister of India, at the Moscow Central Airport, NML- 60848 in Jawaharlal Nehru in the Soviet Union (Moscow: State Fine Arts Publishing House, 1955). Reproduced by permission of Nehru Memorial Library, New Delhi.

The album shows the importance of this moment, i.e. the official start to a momentous visit, by introducing the viewer to a full-length shot of Nehru and Bulganin’s meeting (fig. 1), followed by the two of them receiving the military guard of honour and a photograph of Nehru delivering a speech at the airport. These three photographs establish the scene of arrival, before re-introducing us to Nehru and Bulganin’s interaction with a close-up of the moment of greeting. Looking at the close-up of Nehru and Bulganin (fig. 4) in greater detail, the two protagonists seem to share equal frame space. Nehru’s face is seen in profile, facing Bulganin from the right edge, while Bulganin’s face on the left is looking straight at the camera, however, his gaze fails to meet the lens. The bottom left quarter of the photograph reveals a bouquet of flowers that is placed at an angle that makes it hard to predict who was holding it. This is a candid photograph as neither of them are looking at the lens, nor at each other, and both appear to be distracted by the situation surrounding them.

If we were to borrow from the studies on the politics of close-up in film, the function of the close-up in soviet cinema was less about getting closer in order to show details, but more about signifying, giving meaning, and designating (Eisenstein 1949, 243). In Russian language, the term close-up signifies “largeness, or scale, as opposed to the English language meaning of the word, as nearness or proximity”. As Mary Ann Doanne pointed out, the close-up in the Soviet context is considered to revolve around the quality of the image and the extensiveness of the scale, suggesting an imposing stature. When a face appears in close-up, the face is transformed into something larger than life. In Doanne’s words, “the face [that is] usually the mark of individuality, becomes tantamount to a theorem in its generalizability” (Doanne 2003, 93). Nehru’s face stands for more than the physical presence of Nehru himself. The close-up of his face stands for the various roles outlined in the multiple visual and textual discourses that surrounded the visit. It signifies the diplomatic traveller on a tightly scheduled itinerary, the negotiator with a deep political interest, and the “crowd favourite” Nehru. It also signifies ideologies beyond the roles played by Nehru, such as Pan-Asianism (Singh 2011), Indian nationalism, his stand in the Korean war. Similarly, the face of Bulganin stands for Soviet international policies following the death of Stalin, opening to non-communist allies and non-competitive coexistence. Their faces that came together in the close-up represent a moment of diplomatic exchange between India and the Soviet Union, resulting in the international recognition of the former as a formidable Asian post-colonial voice and the latter finally expanding its allies beyond the Communist world.

The close-up of Nehru and Bulganin can be seen not only as its signification beyond the immediate representation, but also as the dramatization of this signification. An interesting reference to the study of the dramatic nature of the sign can also be drawn from the pictorial narrative vocabulary found on Indian scroll painting, where the “opening windows” technique, a common feature of the Garoda storytellers from Gujarat, represents a specific and relevant visual technique. In the context of the narrative that is told in the scroll, certain episodes are highlighted with square or rectangular frames within a broader panel, as if one was “opening widows” on selected scenes (Jain 1998). The reasoning behind this is to identify a moment within the narrative structure of the story as that of heightened importance and highlight the dramatic turn that the story takes after this point. Seen through the tradition of storytelling, the close-up within this album functions as an episode narrated in an “open window”. It emphasizes the critical moment of the action, suggesting to the reader that he needs to take note of something important. It highlights a dramatic moment. Nehru and Bulganin’s close-up faces surrounded by flowers magnify the moment’s dramatic impulse through a closely framed visual. They draw attention not merely on the welcoming episode, but also bring a generalised validation of all other visual and anecdotal discourses that were yet to emerge around the soviet openness towards Nehru and his wild popularity in the Soviet Union. 

Figure 5 is another example of a close-up in this album. The photograph shows Nehru’s face from up close, surrounded by flowers. This image is paired with other photographs from Nehru’s visit to Crimea. It concurs with the popular anecdotes of “floral attacks” in Crimea, which state that during the drive from Simferopol airport to Yalta, Nehru’s car was greeted by a constant flow of people hurling flower bouquets at him. As the space is “used up” (Doanne 2003, 91) by the face, and the moment of time is expanded at the expense of linear time, this close-up embodies the spirit of the “performative,” of drawing heightened attention, of consciously bringing forth the face to the audience. The close-up is performative of the dramatic impetus of the story of the visit to Crimea, reminding one of the unexpected and dramatic “floral attacks” (Menon 1963) on Nehru, ultimately underlying the narrative of his popular public welcome.

Figure 5. Close-up of Nehru surrounded by flowers, NML-60878 in Jawaharlal Nehru in the Soviet Union (Moscow: State Fine Arts Publishing House, 1955). Reproduced by permission of Nehru Memorial Library, New Delhi.
Figure 5. Close-up of Nehru surrounded by flowers, NML-60878 in Jawaharlal Nehru in the Soviet Union (Moscow: State Fine Arts Publishing House, 1955). Reproduced by permission of Nehru Memorial Library, New Delhi.

Doanne borrowed from Deleuze when she suggested that the close-up produces “an intense phenomenological experience of presence, and yet simultaneously, that deeply experienced entity becomes a sign, a text, a surface that demands to be read” (Doanne 2003, 94). This presence built up by the close-up breaks the representational value of Nehru’s face and expands it beyond its visual immediacy. It opens up a moment within the narrative to stop and wonder, to be mesmerised by the master’s stature, to be drawn in to the drama that is unfolding, allowing the master to claim additional audience. Thus, this close-up is not about delving deeper into the particulars as hinted by Benjamin’s idea of the “optical unconscious”. Instead, it represents a moment of heightened generalisation and re-validation of the master’s image and stature that extends way beyond the immediate story of the visit. However, in magnifying the master’s stature, the close-up opens up a space of seeing through the staged realism of the visit, allowing the reader to become aware of the performative aspects at work. Mary Anne Doanne considers the idea of a close-up as a scale that allows us to think of it as an act of deliberate misrepresentation, of ultimately “interrogating and displacing realism” (2003, 106). It is this act of deliberate disproportionation that “transforms the image into a sign, undermining the identification and hence empowering the spectator as analyst of, rather than vessel for, meaning” (Doanne 2003, 106).

This interrogation of the staged nature of the close-up compounds further within the album space. Through its enforced intimacy, the album creates a new experience of the master’s presence with every viewing. This experience changes depending on the spectator of the album – Nehru, or other members of the diplomatic contingent – and the space in which the viewing occurs – a crowded party gathering or an intimate space that allows time for personal reflection.2 The luxury of personalised viewing coupled with the proximity which allows for the larger than life to become almost intimate in an album page, makes the album an interesting counterpoint to the heightened realism of the very photographs. The close-up’s ability to scale up in magnitude and to amplify the dramatic potential of the narrative is interrupted by the imposing closeness of the album viewing. The album enables a space in which the larger-than-life master figure is often ameliorated to Nehru, the curious tourist, the aging father figure and the trustworthy friend. As an object of diplomatic exchange, this photographic album softens the aggressive performative of the master figure, allowing it to co-exist with his other roles.

Sharing photographic albums as a part of diplomatic exchange was common in the period. The photographs from the visit may also have been reused and repurposed in different media and contexts. While being aware of all these possibilities, this article has focussed on one photo-album made after Nehru’s visit to Soviet Union. While its propagandist intentions are obvious, this paper has tried to highlight the ideological function of such an album and situate it as an aspirational object within the diplomatic economy of not just Indo-Soviet relations, but also the more general context of the Cold War countries trying to win over Non-aligned nations.

All Images used as references in this article were taken from the album Jawaharlal Nehru in the Soviet Union, currently archived as A 1094 at the Photo Section, Nehru Memorial Library, New Delhi. They own the copyrights to all images.

References
  • Barnes, Robert. (1979) 2013. “Between the Blocs: India, the United Nations, and Ending the Korean War.” The Journal of Korean Studies 18 (2): 263–286. Available online here. https://doi.org/10.1353/jks.2013.0022
  • Deleuze, Gilles. 1986. Cinema 1: The Movement-Image. Translated by H. Tomlinson and B. Habberjam. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota.
  • Dewan, Deepali, and Deborah S. Hutton. 2013. Raja Deen Dayal: Artist-Photographer in 19th-Century India. Alkazi Collection of Photography.
  • Doane, Mary Ann. 2003. “The Close-up: Scale and Detail in the Cinema.” Differences: A Journal of Feminist Cultural Studies 14 (3): 89–111. https://doi.org/10.1215/10407391-14-3-89
  • Eisenstein, Sergei. 1949. Film Form: Essays in Film Theory. Edited and translated by Jay Leyda. San Diego: Harcourt.
  • Hegel, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich. 1998. Phenomenology of spirit. Motilal Banarsidass Publ.
  • Jain, Jyotindra, ed. 1998. Picture Showmen: Insights into the Narrative Tradition in Indian Art. Mumbai: Marg Publications.
  • Mehrotra, Santosh K. 1990. India and the Soviet Union: Trade and Technology Transfer, No. 73. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Menon, Kumara Padmanabha Sivasankara. 1963. The Flying Troika. London: Oxford University Press.
  • Mockba (Moscow). 1955. Moscow:State Fine Arts Publishing House.
  • Prasad, H. Y. Sharada, A. K. Damodaran, and Sarvepalli Gopal. 2005. Selected Works of Jawaharlal Nehru: Second Series, Vol. 29. New Delhi: Jawaharlal Nehru Memorial Fund.
  • Reddy, Gunupati Keshava. 1955. “Moscow Gives Mr. Nehru a Touching Send-Off: VISIT WAS SOVIET UNIONS FESTIVAL OF THE YEAR.” The Times of India (1861-current), June 24. [From the ProQuest database.]
  • Shimazu, Naoko. 2014. “Diplomacy as Theatre: Staging the Bandung Conference of 1955.” Modern Asian Studies: 225–252. https://doi.org/10.1017/s0026749x13000371
  • Singh, Sinderpal. 2011. “From Delhi to Bandung: Nehru,‘Indian-ness’ and ‘Pan-Asianness’.” South Asia: Journal of South Asian Studies 34 (1): 51–64. https://doi.org/10.1080/00856401.2011.549084
  • Teixeira, Mariana. 2018. “Master-Slave Dialectics (in the Colonies).” Krisis 2.

Notes

  1. Indira Gandhi accompanied her father Jawaharlal Nehru on several official travels during his term as Prime Minister. She did not hold an official position in 1955.
  2. Unfortunately, not a lot of detail is available on who viewed this particular album. What is known is that photographic albums that combine pictures from the visit were often presented as gifts to the guests. There is certain film footage that proves that Nehru received many similar photographic albums and did look at them personally. The reflections that could have been developed under the assumption of Nehru’s viewing the album are beyond the scope of the article; however, this is another significant dynamic to note while exploring the possibilities of the Master’s image.
The visuality of the master is not motivated merely by the desire to stand out from the audience, but in a self-contradictory manner, it is premised on the audience acknowledging and providing photographic space to him.
Reading time: 20 min.

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