Sabarmati Ashram: Trump thanks Modi but forgets Gandhi

Namaste Trump: US Prez Donald Trump thanks Narendra Modi at Sabarmati Ashram but forgets Gandhi

US President Donald Trump and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi speak during the welcoming ceremony, as Trump arrives at Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport in Ahmedabad

The maiden visit of US President Donald Trump to Ahmedabad went peacefully on Monday and as per the planning without any major glitch, however, his message in visitors' dairy at Sabarmati Ashram came under scrutiny as he failed to mention Gandhi in it and instead thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the "wonderful visit."

Trump wrote in his message, "To MY GREAT FRIEND PRIME MINISTER Modi- THANK YOU FOR THIS WONDERFUL VISIT!" This message was signed by both Trump and first lady Melania. 

Trump and his family visited Sabarmati Ashram, set up by Mahatma Gandhi in 1918, and took a quick tour of "Hriday Kunj" the place where Gandhi and his wife Kasturba lived for 12 years. Trump and Melania were taken inside the Hriday Kunj by Modi. At the veranda of the kunj, Trump and Melania tried their hands on spinning charkha. They were explained about it by one of the female guides of the Ashram Lata Parmar.  

Their tour lasted less than 15 minutes during which they were gifted three handspun scarves, made of Khadi and inspired from Kasturba Gandhi's Saree made by Mahatma Gandhi, an exclusive sketch of a rare studio photograph of Gandhi taken in London at the request of Lord Irwin in 1931, an iconic linocut of Gandhi along with talisman singed by Gandhi in Devanagri and Bengali scripts, a booklet containing 150 quotes of Gandhi, a special edition of "The Story of My Experiments with Truth, printed on khadi paper and a wooden charkha.  

 

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Since 1960, the high profile visitors, like state heads, who visit the Sabarmati Ashram, have been writing their experience in the visitors' book after taking a tour. Although there is no rule to mention Gandhi in the message, a visitor is expected to share his experience of the tour.

Before Trump, the last state guest who came to the Ashram with Modi was Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in 2018, who wrote in the diary, "An inspiring visit to the heart of one of the humanities great prophets of inspiration-Mahatma Gandhi." 

The Ashram officials gifted them three handspun scarves, made of Khadi and inspired from Kasturba Gandhi's Saree made by Mahatma Gandhi, an exclusive sketch of a rare studio photograph of Gandhi taken in London at the request of Lord Irwin in 1931, an iconic linocut of Gandhi along with talisman singed by Gandhi in Devanagri and Bengali scripts, a booklet containing 150 quotes of Gandhi, a special edition of "The Story of My Experiments with Truth, printed on khadi paper and a wooden charkha.

Before him, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had arrived at the ashram with Modi who left with a message, "Love and Thank you." Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in 2018 had come with his family who described his experience as "A beautiful place of peace, humility, and truth, that is as needed today as it ever was."  

In 2015, then US secretary of State, John Kerry had visited the Ashram who wrote in the diary that "It is a great privilege to visit this." Similarly, Ban-ki-Moon, then secretary-general of the United Nations, had visited the Ashram in January 2015, and wrote, "I am deeply honoured to visit Sabarmati Gandhi Ashram. The United Nations shares the value of Peace, non-violence and communal harmony of Gandhiji. I sincerely hope that all the people around the world practice the teaching of Mahatma Gandhi to make this world more peaceful and humane. May Mahatma Gandhi’s ideals and teachings inspire us all."

Sources said that "It seems that Trump, first Melania and his daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner were not properly briefed. There is no protocol as such but I think they were not briefed properly on what exactly Sabarmati Ashram stands for."

 

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