A look at the Gandhian heritage in Maharashtra
Mahatma Gandhi has ruled the minds and hearts of people since the 20th century. It is only befitting that the Government of India recently decided to refurbish 2000 places all over the world including 39 core sites that have been associated with him from 1869 to 1948.
Maharashtra has some important sites that are part of Gandhiji’s indelible legacy.
Whenever Gandhiji was in Mumbai between 1917 and 1934, he stayed in Mani Bhavan, a modest two-storeyed building nestled in the quiet tree-lined avenue of Laburnum Road.
Mani Bhavan witnessed the growth of Gandhiji from a humble protestor to national leader. He initiated the mass Satyagraha, Non-Cooperation, Civil Disobedience, Swadeshi and Khadi movements from here. It was here that Gandhiji took his first lessons in spinning the charkha.
Today, Mani Bhavan is a museum and research center for Gandhian studies- a perfect place to acquaint oneself with Gandhi the man and his ideology. Its library is a treasure-house of 50,000 books and periodicals. His room, which has been preserved as it was, offers a glimpse into his simple lifestyle. A miniature doll exhibition depicts the salient events in Gandhiji’s life.
On April 30, 1936, 67-year old Gandhiji arrived at Shegaon, a small village 8 km outside Wardha town and set up an ashram on the land gifted by his industrialist friend and disciple Jamnalal Bajaj. Gandhiji insisted that the first hut called Adi Nivas be built using only the materials available locally and not cost more than Rs.500. In 1940, Gandhiji renamed the village Sevagram-village of service.
The ashram continues to observe the principles of simple living with Gandhians weaving khadi on charkhas, holding prayer meetings and growing their own food.
Sevagram boasts of the country’s first modern medical college (1969) to be located in a rural area. Its Kasturba Hospital was inaugurated by Gandhiji himself in 1944.