Sole Sister

Cruising in the single lane

Change agent

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The revered Mahatma in peaceful contemplation on the lawns at Sabarmati Ashram. 

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An ashram visitor takes a leaf out of his guru’s book.

It’s not surprising that one of the most serene places in Ahmedabad is the ashram founded by the revered Mohandas Gandhi – the Mahatama (Great Soul) or Bapu (Father). In contrast to the outside hustle and bustle, colour and commotion, the ashram on the banks of the Sabarmati River opens to green lawns, sandy quadrangles, low-slung, simple, airy bungalows and shady trees. Visitors stroll at ease around the grounds and museum, taking in the so-familiar images and props of the Mahatma – his walking staff, spinning wheel and displays illuminating his innumerable familiar exhortations captured in handwriting and print.

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Bapu’s famous staff and spinning wheel. 

 

Gandhi’s desk; the view from the window.

Mohandas Gandhi was a native Gujurati, born to a middle class family. He studied law in the United Kingdom, returned to India a qualified barrister then was offered a job in South Africa. The racial prejudice he encountered in South Africa spurred him not only to return to India but develop his philosophies. Prime among these was the removal of the British from India and the non-violent methods by which this might be achieved. The peaceful atmosphere of Sabarmati Ashram, established on 17 June 1918 – 100 years ago last weekend –  was the perfect place to contemplate peaceful pathways to change. The venerated Father of the Nation and his wife Kasturba stayed at Sabarmati Ashram for over a decade. It was from here that he began his famous march across India, defied the salt tax and urged his countrymen to spin their own simple “khadi” cloth to sideline the need for British  manufactured textiles.

 

India gained its independence from Britain in August 1947 but, within a year, the beloved Gandhi was dead, cruelly assassinated by a Hindu devotee who was wrongly convinced that the Mahatma was to blame for the partition of the new nation into (roughly) Hindu India and Moslem Pakistan. Relations between the neighbours – and once peaceful co-inhabiters of the one country – have grown increasingly hostile with each passing decade. Hardly the kind of change that Gandhi had envisaged.

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Words of the Guru. 

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Ashram signage (left); Gandhi’s signature in numerous languages.

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Author: technanna

I grew up in western Queensland, worked as a newspaper and television journalist, public relations and public affairs officer and freelance correspondent in Australia, the UK, Japan and Saudi Arabia. I have three grown children and two grandchildren. I am retired, but work to keep the brain and body fit, and to stay marginally in touch in our ever-changing technological environment.

6 thoughts on “Change agent

  1. Thanks so much for your ongoing posts on Gujarat. Very much appreciated. warm wishes from Sri Lanka Kathy Mx

    • Thank you for introducing us to wonder Gujarat Marieke. So much to write about – and wonderful memories. I’m glad you’re still reading along. I’ll be moving on to Rajasthan soon!

  2. Enjoying your succinct postcards from interesting places. We are sunning in Argelès-sur-Mer.
    kate.cartwright@bigpond.com

  3. Kate, wonderful to hear from you and to read you, too, are continuing to enjoy enticing foreign climes. I know that area of France – many years ago on leave from a Saudi Arabian posting we holidayed in Cap d’Agde and then in 2011 at Uzes. Also spent six months in Aix-en-Provence pre-married life. Delightful region. Hello to Neil.

  4. Interesting place and a great man. I think you have typo “established in 2028”

  5. It’s a genuinely peaceful place to be. Thanks for the typo tip – either a type or there’s some time travelling going on!

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