The Washington Post

Natwar Gandhi to portray Mahatma Gandhi

Several years ago, I wrote that Chief Financial Officer Natwar M. Gandhi “is no Gandhi” — comparing him, of course, to the man who led India on a moral crusade to independence.

I have now been proven wrong: Gandhi, municipal bean-counter, will become Mahatma Gandhi, icon of the human race, in a theatrical production set to debut next month.

Titled “A Tryst With Destiny,” after the famous speech by Jawaharlal Nehru, the play tells the story of Indian independence and the subsequent partition with Pakistan along religious lines. The play was written by Amita Deepak Jha, a Rockville psychiatrist.

The acting gig is CFO Gandhi’s first serious role, said Manoj Singh, a producer of and actor in the play. “When he started, we had doubts,” he said, “but he has come a long way.” The Gandhi role is the play’s largest, Singh said.

Singh said the casting was apt: “He looks like Gandhi,” he said, adding that both Gandhis are natives of the same Indian province, Gujarat.

This is not Gandhi’s first foray into the arts and humanities, mind you. He had a small role in the Shakespeare Theatre Company’s recent “Will on the Hill” production. But he is also an accomplished poet, having published two volumes of Gujarati verse. Singh said Gandhi will toss off a few poetic lines in Sanskrit during the play, which is otherwise in English.

It runs Aug. 13 and 14 at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Washington in Rockville. The production benefits two charities, Singh said, which assist Indian women and Mumbai slum-dwellers, respectively.

Mike DeBonis covers Congress and national politics for The Washington Post. He previously covered D.C. politics and government from 2007 to 2015.


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