“Generations to come, it may be, will scarce believe that such one as this, ever in flesh and blood, walked upon this earth.” Even Einstein wouldn’t have thought how true these lines of his on death of Mahatma Gandhi would prove a few years after. Once the light was gone from our lives we are plunging ever deeper into darkness and madness of hatred, communalism, violence and commercial westernization. We have defied everything that the father of nation stood for and his ideals though strongly relevant became elements of mockery and disregard. Even his pure and ascetic image has been tainted by morphed posts on digital media, which has become the only source of information these days. Its not the best of the times to visit the place which witnessed his making of mahatma but that is what makes our visit to Sabarmati ashram on his birth anniversary even more relevant.
The ashram stands besides the newly developed Sabarmati river front and has been preserved by trust trying to keep mahatma and his values alive in challenging times. It gives immense hope to see people from around the world coming to visit this temple of peace and freedom. The main hut in which Gandhiji lived with his wife Kasturba has many of his daily utilities on display for public viewing. The small rooms with minimal amenities echo the voices of Indian national freedom movement as this was the epicenter of activities pertaining to struggle against foreign occupancy. Each aspect of this self sustained small ashram highlights gandhiji’s aspiration of freeing Indians from not only British empire but also from the clutches of various social ills such as poverty, illiteracy, communalism and caste system. Be it the Charkha glorifying small scale swadeshi industries, or a small school for underprivileged everything propagates his principle of simple living and high thinking. The visitors learning the skills of cotton weaving from an old volunteer fills heart with hope and joy.Just on the left side of entrance to the ashram is a gallery with portraits and models from different faces of gandhiji’s life and his iconic letters written to various dignified (and not so dignified) people of that era.There is shop inside campus of ashram selling literature related to Mahatma Gandhi and small souvenirs at a very reasonable cost. The other buildings in the campus include an auditorium running movies on gandhiji’s life and a hut where where Acharya Vinoba Bhave, the great Gandhian philosopher used to stay.
There was a photography exhibition going on in the exhibition area by college students and to see so many youngsters trying to understand Gandhian principles and philosophy was like a silver lining in this time of deteriorating humanity. I strongly recommend a visit to this serene place if one is in vibrant city of Ahmedabad as it makes you realize that all hope is not lost for humanity in general and us Indians in particular.