The Ashram of Bapu Sevagram- A villege for service

The story behind the ashram

When Mahatma Gandhi left Sabarmati Ashram for Dandi March in 1930, he vowed not to return before India gets independent. Independence was not attained and Gandhi was jailed for more than two years.

After getting out of the jail he travelled through out the country and decided to live in the centre of the country. It would help him to easily reach different parts of the country. He came to Wardha in 1931 on the invitation of Jamnalalji Bajaj and established his residence in Shegaon in 1936.

He renamed the village to 'Sevagram' which means "Village of Service".

Sevagram is a small village 8 kms from Wardha and 75 kms from Nagpur.

The cottages in the Ashram are named according to the person who lived there. There are five cottages named Adi Niwas, Bapu kuti (Bapu Cottage), The last residence, Parchure Shastri's Cottage, Bapu's office, Common kitchen and dining room.

The campus also has three shops which sell products like clothes, Groceries and books-based on Mahatma Gandhi's life.

Shops inside the ashram premises

The ashram also includes a School based on Gandhi's philosophy.

1. The Adi Niwas

Adi Niwas was Gandhi ji's first residential hut founded on 30th april 1936. The cootage was build by the instructions of Mahatma Gandhi. He wanted it to be made within the budget of Rs.500 and with the help of lacal craftsment ana laborers. The first meeting of "Quit India" took place in this cottage in 1942.

Many people used to live in the one hut. Ba (Kasturba Gandhi) had to live with uncomfort within the hut full of men, so a separate "Ba Kuti" was made for Ba in the campus of the Ashram.

2. Bapu Kuti

Mira Bahen ( Miss Slade ) built this cottage ( Bapu Kuti ) for herself. She used to teach spinning and Cording to the Villagers. Later Gandhi Ji came to this house because the Adi Niwas used to get crowded because of the increasing number of visitors.

Bapu Kuti where mahatma Gandhi lived for one year.

Bapu Kuti is attached with a small bathroom which was not there in Adi Niwas. Gandhi Ji had a wooden table specially made to use for writing while he used to fresh up. It was used to write or correct letters, read newspaper and magazines to save time.

The cot used by Mahatma Gandhi

Bapu Kuti had a room attached with it called as Gandhi hospital which was used by Gandhi Ji to treat visitors.

Gandhi ji was deeply influenced by the the thoughts of John Ruskin and G.C. Larimer. He hanged two board with the quotes from their books.

Quotes
The

3. Ba Kuti

Ba Kuti was made for Katurba Gandhi (Wife of Mahatma Gandhi). Intially Ba had to live among men because there was no separate place for her to live.

Seeing her problems Jamnalal Bajaj asked Bapu for his consent to built the Ba kuti. He agreed and a separate cottage Ba Kuti was made for her.

All the ladies who used to come to meet Mahatma Gandhi used to stay in Ba's Cottage. They left the Ashram on 2nd August 1942 to join " Quit India Movement" and was arrested on 8th August 1942.

She was imprisoned with Mahatma Gandhi in AgaKhan place at poona. There after a long illness she breathed her last breath on 22 feb 1944.

The things displayed at Ba Kuti are Ba's Sari, Bapu's bed-sheet, jacket, Ba's seat, hold-all, Bapu's jute Dari which have been kept in a simple wooden rack.

4. Parchure Shastri's Cottage

Parchure Shastri was a co-prisoner of Gandhi Ji in Jail. He was a Sanskrit Scholar and had been suffering from wet leprosy. Gandhi Ji found him living on the roadside because of his untouchable disease.

He brought him to the ashram and used to massage his wounds with his own hands. This helped the ashram residents to believe that it was not an untouchable disease and they started helping Mahatma Gandhi to cure the disease.

The cottage where Parchure Shastri used to live

He improved considerably and Gandhi Ji gave him the job of teaching Sanskrit to the children in the Ashram. He also used act as pandit for the marriage happening in the Ashram.

Gandhiji's eagerness towards the service of mankind could be realised from this incidence.

5. Common Kitchen and Dining Room

Mahatma Gandhi was very strict about cleanliness and also believed that those who don't help in making the food are not eligible to eat the food. He had a separate kitchen and dining room for making and eating food.

The kitchen where Bapu used to Grind Flour for his food.

6. Bapu's Office

The secretaries used to open letters and important ones were shown to Mahatma Gandhi. When his secretary Mahadev Desai was no more, Gandhi ji always remembered his services.

Shri Mahadev Desai, Kishorilal Mashruwala, Pyarelal and Rajkumari Amrit Kaur served as Gandhi ji's Secretaries.

Office where Mahatma Gandhi used to complete his official works

The letters of Mahatma Gandhi used to misplaced because of the remote location of the village. So, British authorities gave him a telephone which was used to talk with them.

The telephone used by Mahatma Gandhi kept in his office

7. Nayi Taleem School

The education of Nayee-Talim is not to teach an occupation, but through it to develop the whole man - Mahatma Gandhi

Studens involved in differnt activities in the Nayi-Talim School

Mahatma Gandhi believed that education should not be confined to books but it should help the children to grow as an individual. He wanted the students to learn each and every skill which are required for survival in life.

Students of Nayi-Taleem

6. The Last Residence

The residence of Yamuna lal Bajaj

This cottage which is modern than other cottages and situated near the Ba-Kuti, was built by Jamnalal Bajaj for himself and lived here for a short while. Later this cottage was used by the Ashram. In 1946, Bapu had a severe attack of cough and came up to live in this cottage under doctor's advice to cure his cough. He was taking a Sun-bath in the eastern varandah of this cottage.

The place in the last residence where Mahatma Gandhi used to take sunbath

On August 25, 1946, Gandhiji left for Delhi from this Cottage and then went to Noakhali. From there he did not return to Sewagram while engaged in his task of communal unity and peace making.

He was martyred in Delhi on January 30, 1948.

"I will give you a talisman. Whenever you are in doubt, or when the self becomes too much with you, apply the following test. Recall the face of the poorest and the weakest man [woman] whom you may have seen, and ask yourself, if the step you contemplate is going to be of any use to him [her]. Will he [she] gain anything by it? Will it restore him [her] to a control over his [her] own life and destiny? In other words, will it lead to swaraj [freedom] for the hungry and spiritually starving millions? Then you will find your doubts and your self melt away." - One of the last notes left behind by Gandhi in 1948, expressing his deepest social thought

Credits:

Karan Kumar

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