Sabarmati Ashram also known as Gandhi Ashram, Harijan Ashram, or Satyagraha Ashram is located in the Sabarmati suburb of Ahmedabad, Gujarat, adjoining the Ashram Road, on the banks of the River Sabarmati, four miles from the town hall. Gandhi stayed at the Ashram from 1915 to 1933 later on the Ashram was disbanded. The Ashram is a witness to many important historical events. Originally it was called the Satyagraha Ashram, reflecting the movement toward passive resistance launched by the Mahatma. It was also from here on 12 March 1930 that Gandhi launched the famous Dandi March 241 miles from the Ashram (with 78 companions) in protest of the British Salt Law, which taxed Indian salt in an effort to promote sales of British salt in India. Generally called Mahatma Gandhi, who lived there for about twelve years along with his wife, Kasturba Gandhi. In recognition of the significant influence that this march had on the Indian independence movement the Indian government has established the ashram as a national monument.
Today, this ashram is basically a museum, known as Gandhi Smarak Sangrahalaya. Along with the museum, this ashram houses a library, auditorium and photo galleries depicting the life of Mahatma Gandhi. Consequently the exhibits on view depict the vivid and historic events of Gandhiji’s life. There are books, manuscripts and photocopies of his correspondence, photographs of Gandhiji with his wife Kasturba and other ashram associates, life size oil paintings and actual relics like his writing desk and spinning wheel.
Upon returning from South Africa on January 9, 1915, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was in search for a place to settle himself and a small group of relatives and associates who were with him in the African struggle. Gandhi’s first Ashram in India was established in the Kochrab area of Ahmedabad on 25 May 1915. The Ashram was then shifted on 17 June 1917 to a piece of open land on the banks of the river Sabarmati because 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 useable land, 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 was believed that this is one of the ancient ashram site of Dadhichi Rishi who had donated his bones for a righteous war, but his main ashram lies in Naimisharanya, near Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh; it is between a jail and a crematorium, and he believed that a satyagrahi has invariably to go to either place. Mahatma 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”.
The Sabarmati Ashram (also known as Harijan Ashram) was home to Mohandas Gandhi from 1917 until 1930 and served as one of the main centres of the Indian freedom struggle. The first struggle Gandhi headed from the Sabarmati Ashram was for the textile workers strike. There was a complete deadlock between the mill owners and the inadequately paid workers. It was difficult for the workers not to become angry, as they were starving. However, Gandhi joined with them in fast, and later used the strikers to found a Weavers School at Sabarmati. 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. 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.
Present Day :
The ashram now has a museum, the Gandhi Smarak Sangrahalaya. This had originally been located in Hridaya Kunj, Gandhi’s own cottage in the ashram. It is a place of great historic value, where even today visitors find some of the things which Gandhiji used- a writing desk, a khadi kurta, a yarn spun by him and some of his letters. It is developing into a Resource Centre for the Gandhian and allied Studies and Research. It also processes the information, data, audio-visual materials, etc., for the use of different categories. One of the important activities undertaken is the establishment of a Gandhi Smarak Sangrahalaya. The exhibition in the museum consists of 8 life-size painting and around 250 photo-enlargements historic events of Gandhi’s life. Visitors can also see the archive of letters written by Gandhi, displayed in the galleries of the museum. Visitors can explore the ashram in the 90 minutes guided tour that is organised by the trust, which runs this ashram. Today, the Ashram serves as a source of inspiration and guidance, and stands as a monument to Gandhi’s life mission and a testimony to others who have fought a similar struggle.
Museum features & Activities
- “My life is my message” gallery, consists of 8 life-size painting and around 250 photo-enlargements historic events of Gandhi’s life.
- Library holds a collection of 35,000 books, all of which are based on the life of Mahatma Gandhi and Indian freedom movement.
- Life-size oil painting gallery.
- An important landmark of the ashram is Gandhi’s cottage ‘Hridaya Kunj’, where some of the personal relics of Gandhi are displayed.
- Microfilming, lamination and preservation of negatives.
- Collecting, processing, preserving and displaying archival materials such as writings, photographs, paintings, voice-records, films and personal effects.
- Arranging exhibitions on aspects of Gandhi’s life, literature and activities.
- The Ashram Trust funds activities that include education for the visitor and the community and routine maintenance of the museum and its surrounding grounds and buildings.
How To Reach :
Ahmadabad is well connected to all major cities like Bombay, Delhi, Calcutta, Madras, Trivandrum, Varanasi, Madras, Jaipur, Indore, and Calcutta by Air, Train and buses.
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