On the Mahatma’s trail

A sculpture of Gandhi and his charkha in Gandhi Bhavan.

My life is my message’ is the slogan that reflects Mahatma Gandhi’s life and his relentless struggle that led India towards freedom.

This remarkable inscription greets one as one enters the premises of Gandhi Bhavan in Kumara Park, Bengaluru. Back in 1927, Gandhi had stayed here as a guest of the Princely state of Mysore.

Today, Gandhi Bhavan is an autonomous entity, dedicated to perpetuating the memory of the freedom fighter and his message to the future generations. It is a spacious stone building that has artistic panels and engraved figures of Gandhi. The institute formulates exams and residential camps for school and college students. It houses a meeting hall for seminars and lectures and a theatre for screening films. Apart from a general library, there is another library with over 15,000 books exclusive to Mahatma Gandhi, some of which are authored by him.  

Reminiscences 

The photo gallery here showcases several crucial events of Gandhi’s life. It is delightful to get a glimpse of his childhood in Gujarat and his youth as a law school student in London. This gallery primarily showcases Gandhi’s visits to Karnataka, from his first visit to Bangalore with his wife Kasturba in 1915 to his last visit to Hudali village in Belagavi district in 1937, he had been to Karnataka 18 times. A pictorial representation of the timeline of his visitations is presented to the visitors here. Hudali village is known for its association with Gandhi and his tenor of self-reliance even today.

Some pictures and letters illustrate his efforts to empower women of Mahila Seva Samaja with charaka and khadi vastra and the women’s support in the freedom movement by donating their jewellery. The black and white images bring alive the historic moments and portray his endeavours that commenced after facing discrimination in South Africa. Back home, his struggle for freedom from British Raj can be methodically seen through several portraits of salt satyagraha and the Congress sessions at different venues. The large crowds that gathered for his speech signify the influence he had. Also, displayed are his discourses on Harijans in many places. His effort to abolish untouchability, his journeys throughout India to personally analyse the problems of the rural and backward sections of society, his efforts to curb communal riots and unite all Indians, measures to eliminate the stigma of leprosy and many other reformatory movements are found here.  

His vows are also listed that are indeed thought-provoking. There is a picture of him in Aga Khan Palace in Pune where he lived as a prisoner with his wife. Some photographs are heartening like the one during his ‘silence day’ on December 20, 1945, exchanging notes with the Governor General of Bengal, another while walking on Juhu beach during his convalescence, and the one while resting amidst a 21-day fast as a penance for communal disturbances all over India in 1924, where he is seen along with six-year-old Indira Gandhi.

Positive influence

Photographs of his handwritten letters and typewritten documents to Indian and foreign dignitaries can also be viewed in the hall. That apart, more than a hundred nations have released his postage stamps. A collection of some of these stamps is on display as well.

‘‘Students visit the Gandhi Bhavan, to view a bit of history and read Gandhian literature. They are also able to attend camps and get acquainted with the Gandhian ideology which they can imbibe in their everyday lives,” says H S Doreswamy, a veteran Gandhian and freedom fighter.

 “NSS students visit and spend a day with us.  They engage in an interactive session on Gandhi, which they are very receptive to. They even volunteer in cleaning the campus.  We have a research-level library with up-to-date journals,” expresses Wooday P Krishna, general secretary, Gandhi Bhavan.

Overall, the spirit and essence of Mahatma Gandhi’s life are exemplified in this gallery and it offers a compelling narrative. That apart, we see that the young people are influenced by the Gandhian ideology and try an apply the same in their lives. For more information, call 080 2226 1967.

 

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