Sabarmati Ashram

Ahmedabad, Gujarat

#Historical and Heritage


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This was one of the residences of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, generally called Mahatma Gandhi, who lived there for about twelve years along with his wife, Kasturba Gandhi.

Gandhi's India ashram was originally established at the Kocharab Bungalow of Jivanlal Desai, a barrister and friend of Gandhi, on 25 May 1915. At that time the ashram was called the Satyagraha Ashram. But Gandhi wanted to carry out various activities such as farming and animal husbandry, in addition to other pursuits which called for the need of a much larger area of usable land. So two years later, on 17 June 1917, the ashram was relocated to an area of thirty-six acres on the banks of the river Sabarmati, and it came to be known as the Sabarmati Ashram.

It is believed that this is one of the ancient ashram sites of Dadhichi Rishi who had donated his bones for a righteous war. His main ashram lies in Naimisharanya, near Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh. The Sabarmati ashram is sited between a jail and a crematorium, and Gandhi believed that a satyagrahi has invariably to go to either place. Mohandas Gandhi said, "This is the right place for our activities to carry on the search for truth and develop fearlessness, for on one side are the iron bolts of the foreigners, and on the other the thunderbolts of Mother Nature."

While at the ashram, Gandhi formed a tertiary school that focused on manual labour, agriculture and literacy, in order to advance his efforts for the nation's self-sufficiency. It was also from here that on 12 March 1930, Gandhi marched to Dandi, 241 miles from the ashram, with 78 companions in protest at the British Salt Law, which increased the taxes on Indian salt in an effort to promote sales of British salt in India. It was this march and the subsequent illegal production of salt (Gandhi boiled up some salty mud in seawater) that spurred hundreds of thousands across India to join in, either in the illegal production, buying or selling of salt. This mass civil disobedience in turn led to the jailing of some 60,000 freedom fighters by the British Raj over the following three weeks. Subsequently, the government seized the ashram. Gandhi later asked the Government to give it back but they were not willing to do this. He had by then already decided on 22 July 1933 to disband the ashram, which then became a deserted place after the detention of so many. Then local citizens decided to preserve it. On 12 March 1930 Gandhi had vowed that he would not return to the ashram until India had gained independence. Although India was declared a free nation on 15 August 1947, Gandhi was assassinated on 30 January 1948.

 

Museum features

  • "My life is my message" gallery, consisting of 8 life-size paintings and more than 250 photo-enlargements of some of the most vivid and historic events of Gandhi's life
  • Gandhi in Ahmedabad Gallery, tracking Gandhi's life in Ahmedabad from 1915–1930
  • Life-size oil painting gallery
  • Exhibition showing quotations, letters and other relics of Gandhi
  • Library consisting of nearly 35,000 books dealing with Gandhi's life, work, teachings, Indian freedom movement and allied subjects, and a Reading Room with more than 80 periodicals in English, Gujarati and Hindi
  • Archives consisting of nearly 34,117 letters to and from Gandhi both in original and in photocopies, about 8,781 pages of manuscripts of Gandhi's articles appearing in HarijanHarijansevak, and Harijanbandhu and about 6,000 photographs of Gandhi and his associates
  • An important landmark of the ashram is Gandhi's cottage 'Hridaya Kunj', where some of the personal relics of Gandhi are displayed
  • Ashram book store, non-profit making, which sells literature and memorabilia related to Gandhi and his life's work, which in turn supports local artisans.

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