By Irshad M Venoor
A Tribute To “Mahatma“
I had mistakenly forwarded a SMS about Gandhiji to my well wisher in New Delhi.He had responded with a call no sooner he received it.He told me not to make joke of Gandhiji and instructed me to tell the person who had sent me the original message the same. He said that he had just returned from a museum in New Delhi, where he saw blood stained clothes of Gandhiji when the assailant fired the shots.He was deeply saddened. Meanwhile, I pondered why I did this, as I was inspired by Gandhiji’s autobiography and began to repent.
I begged pardon from my well wisher.This incident has happened about 3 to 4 years ago and whenever someone criticizes Gandhiji’s ideologies; I recall the incident. I got a chance to go to Jodhpur in Rajasthan on a photography assignment in May 2013.When I went to book my train ticket to Ahmedabad with a travel agent, he told me that I had to take a bus from Ahmedabad to Jodhpur, which I did not fear.
No sooner he said Ahmedabad, I remembered Sabaramati.I heard a lot about Sabaramati Ashram where Gandhiji lived, but my curiosity grew to visit the place. Although I planned my Rajasthan tour to visit Ajmeer, my interest in visiting Sabaramati Ashram grew more than my inclination to Ajmeer. Perhaps, I was either drawn to Gandhiji because I revered him since he had lived a simple life with modest clothes or had a fear about the wrong SMS I had sent. I had no idea. When I got down at Ahmedabad railway station on an early morning and asked an auto rickshaw to take me to Sabaramati Ashram, he gave me a strange look, but agreed out of my persuasion.
My press card that I carried also helped me in convincing the auto rickshaw driver to drop me at Sabaramati that is about 7 kilometers away from Ahmedabad city. There are level-crossings that take longer waiting time which discouraged the driver to drop me there.The auto rickshaw driver dropped me at Sabaramati Ashram after a long delay.
The Ashram is located on the banks of Sabaramati River and was known by that name. It is pleasant even at mid-day. The locals call it as Satyagraha Ashram that was set up by Gandhiji when he had returned from South Africa during 1915.It became the focal point for all my activities.
I recalled what Gandhiji said about Sabaramati Ashram that inspired him in exploring the truth without fear, which I had read in textbook.I felt the serenity of Ashram itself might have bestowed Gandhiji to live on his ideals.Even though I was determined to spend a few hours in Ashram before taking a bus to Jodhpur,I could not move for the whole day,walking along the place that Gandhiji lived once.
When I viewed the home appliances that Gandhiji once used, there were tears in my eyes. I felt that the weaving wheel that Gandhi had used is a most powerful tool in the world.
No words are sufficient to describe Gandhiji who taught the lessons of self reliance in the pre-Independence era, by weaving his clothes himself.There are 34,066 letters that Gandhiji wrote, 8,633 articles, unique pictures,about 6,367 negatives of pictures, which summarizes the sacrifices of Gandhiji,two-hundred-ten movies focused on Gandhiji and India’s freedom struggle. Nonetheless, 30,000 books, 155 citation letters, a coin as memorial of Gandhiji, postal stamp,displayed in Sabaramati motivate one to follow Gandhiji’s ideals.
The room of Kasturba in the vicinity reminds his comradeship.The oil painting on Gandhiji with the words, My life is my message gives glimpses of freedom struggle. The journals that Gandhiji started signify the importance of media in those times. I felt like taking the statues of 3 monkeys that has the message not to see evil, not to cause evil and not to listen to evil and show to the gang rape accused in New Delhi. I am in deep agony, despite of non-violence message of Gandhiji why we are not following them.
We have heard about Dandi salt Satyagraha that began in Sabaramati Ashram itself. Gandhiji began his march along with his 78 followers to Dandi salt mound that lies about 241 miles away from Sabaramati. It was a stir to oppose the new tax on salt that British rulers imposed on Indians. At the present times, Gandhiji’s principles are limited to speeches during Gandhi Jayanti.
Today, everything moves with the currency note that has the picture of smiling Gandhiji.Apart from that, one gets to remember Gandhiji when the national holidays are on the cards. Whoever aspires to be enlightened of Gandhiji’s ideology, he/she has to visit Sabaramati Ashram at least once in a lifetime.There lies a room of Vinobha Bave besides Sabaramati Ashram.
A must visit place
Anyone has to undergo security check whenever one goes to tourists spot.However,it is not so, because, the Gandhi principles serves as security to visit Sabaramati Ashram. This exemplifies that laws are not needed if everyone in the society follows Gandhiji’s principles. In modern times, the authorities of Sabaramati Ashram give top priority for the tourists to study Gandhiji’s ideology. It’s an ongoing task for the Ashram.When I walked out of the Ashram, I saw a shopkeeper selling miniature weaving wheel and I bought it. It’s being used as paper weight on my office table….