In compliance to the directives received from the Head Office regarding commemorating the 150th Birth Anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi during January 2019 to 2nd October 2019, Ginning Training Centre (ICAR-CIRCOT), Nagpur conducted a visit to the Mahatma Gandhi Ashram at Sevagram, Wardha on 25th September 2019.
A team of four GTC staff members comprising of Dr. S.V. Ghadge, Principal Scientist, Er. D.U. Patil, CTO, Shri. B.V. Shirsath, Technical Officer & Shri. R.D. Shambharkar, Steno visited the Ashram and collected information on Gandhi ji’s life and his teachings. The team went around the beautiful and serene campus having a number of old houses used by Gandhi ji. The lush green campus is interspersed with large open spaces in between where plantations have been made by various dignitaries during their visit to the Ashram. There is a rainwater harvesting structure in one corner, where a pit filled with stones, bricks and plant debris is used for soaking water of infiltration.
Just at the entrance of the premises are a Book Stall and Khadi Store where many books and handloom products are available. Gandhi ji used to promote khadi- handloom clothes spun using simple spinning wheels, called charkhas. Our technical team, being experts in the matter, helped fix one of the out-of-order hand charkhas, which is kept there for visitors for trying their hand at spinning the cotton fibre.
Inside, the Ashram houses a museum, Gandhi-Kuti, ADI Niwas, BA-Kuti and an Exhibition Hall. It is a treasure trove, having a large number of original manuscripts of Gandhiji’s letters and articles. The library has around 500 books, 155 letters of felicitation received by Gandhiji besides miscellaneous memorabilia comprising coins and postal stamps.
The visit to Gandhi ashram was not only an eye-opener but it also helped us get a good feel of Gandhiji’s simple life and great thoughts and what they mean for everybody in today's world. There are display boards and walls showing a lot of interesting quotes by Gandhiji and the relevance of them is timeless. The ones we liked were on Ashram Observances, Education- Cleanliness of the mind and body is the first step to education and Eating- One should not eat in order to please the palate but just to keep the body going. The Ashram was a human laboratory where Gandhiji could test his moral and spiritual ideas. It is a family not linked by blood or property, but by an allegiance to common ideals which include education, truth (non-violence and love), control of the palate (no liquor or meat), no stealing, non-possession (simple living high thinking), use of homemade articles, conquer of fear and the eradication of untouchability. Currently, the activities at the ashram include keeping contact with people in the field as well as helping and undertaking study and research in Gandhian thought.
There is a guided tour which starts with brief details for the location of Ashram, its history, its activities and above all the mantra of Mahatma Gandhi of maintaining a diary for daily activities and wearing at least one pair of handspun khadi garment. Our visit to Gandhi Ashram was very useful because we came to learn a lot of things about Gandhiji and his thoughts to be implemented in our daily life. We very strongly recommended that everybody visit this ashram to find peace and tranquillity.