An Appeal to Save the The Sabarmati Ashram Established by Mahatma Gandhi

Mahatma Gandhi finally came back to India from South Africa in 1915 and thereafter he established the Kochrab Ashram, Ahmedabad, Gujarat. Later, he re-established the Sabarmati Ashram (Satyagraha Ashram) on June, 1917, amidst the tranquility on the banks of Sabarmati river. There was crematorium on the one side and prison on the other side of the Ashram.

The principal aim of the movement, which was lead by Gandhiji, was not to accelerate the pace of non-violent protest
movement but ultimate aim was to establish a society based on nonviolent social order. For this purpose, every other Ashram established by Gandhi turned into the experimental fields. The main principle of these Ashrams was to work for social justice by adopting a labour intensive, self-reliant and simple lifestyle. Creating Satyagrahis by encouraging the practice of truth and non-violence, had been the main function of these Ashrams.

Gandhiji firmly believed that the main parameter of the development of a nation depends on its freedom from poverty,
inequality and violence. lt doesn’t matter how wealthy a nation becomes or how much development does it undergo in the technical field or in the field of the weapons of mass destruction and how much crucial role does it play in stockpiling. For this purpose, the activities concerned with the expansion of agriculture, animal husbandry, beekeeping, khadi and rural cottage industries as a part of rural centric development, the development of the skills of farmers, labourers and craftsmen, the augmentation of peace, harmony, social justice and the spread of Nai Talim, had been incuded into the series of daily activities of the Ashram by Gandhiji. The historical Dandi March for Salt Satyagraha in 1930 had started its journey from this Ashram, under the leadership of Gandhiji.

According to the news reports, the Government of India is turning this historical place of inspiration, Sabarmati Ashram and its surrounding areas, into a tourist spot in the name of Redevelopment Project in cooperation with the Gujarat Government by spending Rs. 1246 crores. According to the information, the luxurious hotels, malls, restaurants and several means of recreation for the Indian and foreign tourists would be brought forth under this project, which are contrary to the Gandhian philosophy. The main attraction of Sabarmati Ashram, Sevagram Ashram is a tranquil environment amidst the natural beauty which encourages the visitors to live in harmony with nature. The Hriday Kunja (Gandhi Niwas), Vinoba Kuti in Sabarmati Ashram, Bapu Kuti, Adi Niwas, Parchure Kuti etc. in Sevagram Ashram are not merely huts or cottages, but they are abodes of peace made of woods, bamboo, tiles, mud. In today’s consumerist world living amidst the concrete jungle, the environment in the Ashram conveys a special message and encourages us to adopt a simple lifestyle.

In order to attract the attention of Government of India and the masses in the light of this situation and to prevent this
project from coming up, Sarva Seva Sangh (All lndia Sarvodaya Mandal), Sarvodaya Samaj, Sevagram Ashram Pratisthan, Gandhi Smarak Nidhi, National Gandhi Museum, Gandhi Peace Foundation, Nai Talim Samiti, Jal Biradari, Rastriya Yuva Sangathan and some other Gandhian organizations and eminent personalities were taking part in Sabarmati Sandesh Yatra From Sevagram Ashram, Maharastra to Sabarmati Ashram, Gujarat from 17th October to 24rh October, 2021.

On behalf of Sarva Seva Sangh, a petition has been submitted to some Hon’ble top leaders of the political parties (Smt. Sonia Gandhi, Mamata Banerjee, Sitaram Yechury, Uddhav Thackeray etc.) and the parliamentarians, so that they protest against such a grave decision and demand its cancellation in the ensuring parliamentary sessions in both the houses. The letter has been sent to Hon’ble Governors and Chief Ministers of some states to send the appeal for cancellation of the decision to His Excellency.

-Chandan Pal

Co Editor Sarvodaya Jagat

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