They were showing Gandhi today on the television. I believe Gandhi was one of the most difficult movies to make in the history of Cinema - it is a mammoth task to film a part of the greatest freedom movement in World History. The film has numerous flows and shortcomings, but still, considering the magnitude of the logistical and other issues in making this kind of a film, I feel it was a great achievement, and is one of my favorite films. I feel no real Indian can help himself from feeling excited while watching Gandhi marching through the sesame fields, through the populous roads in which women with colorful sarees draw water from the nearby well and walk with the pot on their heads, and finally goes to the seashore at Dhandi and pick up Salt in his hand.
It is not very surprising that a movie on Gandhi was not made by Indians, and Gandhi's role was not played by an Indian. This has been a tradition that has been there for ages. Had Megasthanes, Pliny, Fa Hien, Huien Tsiang, and many others not visited or written about India, I guess we wouldn't have known much of Chandragupta Mourya, Chandra Gupta Vikramaditya and Emperor Harsha and how people lived and did various activities in those days. Sometime back, I had visited Sree Ranga Pattanam, from where Tipu Sultan ruled the kingdom of Mysore in the 18th century. The remains of the Sultan's fort is still there. But the guide told us that the people who live nearby used to take the stones from the fort for building their own houses, and that's why there are not much of "remains" remaining there now. Of course, there are boards at various placing declaring it to be a protected monument by law. There is another (smaller) fort at Kalasipalayam, Bangalore. It stands in the midst of all the traffic and smoke. During general elections of 1998, I have seen election posters being pasted on the fort. I have visited the fort once, and cant say how stinking it was inside. Tipu's forts are just two examples, and the situation is not very great in many other places that I have visited in South India. That's how we document and protect our history and heritage.