About Sabarmati Ashram
Sabarmati Ashram (also known as Gandhi Ashram) is located in the Sabarmati suburb of Ahmedabad, Gujarat, adjoining the Ashram Road, on the banks of the River Sabarmati, 4.0 miles from the town hall. This was one of the many residences of Mahatma Gandhi who lived at Sabarmati (Gujarat) and Sevagram (Wardha, Maharashtra) when he was not traveling across India or in prison. He lived in Sabarmati or Wardha for a total of twelve years with his wife Kasturba Gandhi and followers, including Vinoba Bhave. The Bhagavad Gita was recited here daily as part of the Ashram schedule.
It was from here that Gandhi led the Dandi march also known as the Salt Satyagraha on 12 March 1930. In recognition of the significant influence that this march had on the Indian independence movement, the Indian government has established the ashram as a national monument.
History Of Sabarmati Ashram
On his return from South Africa, Gandhi’s first Ashram in India was established in the Kochrab area of Ahmedabad on 25 May 1915. The Ashram was then shifted on 17 June 1917 to a piece of open land on the banks of the river Sabarmati. Reasons for this shift included: he wanted to do some experiments in living eg farming, animal husbandry, cow breeding, Khadi and related constructive activities, for which he was in search of this kind of barren land; mythologically, it was the ashram site of Dadhichi Rishi who had donated his bones for a righteous war; it is between a jail and a crematorium as he believed that a satyagrahi has to invariably go to either place.
The Sabarmati Ashram (also known as Harijan Ashram) was home to Mohandas Gandhi from 1917 until 1930 and served as one of the main centers of the Indian freedom struggle. Originally called the Satyagraha Ashram, reflecting the movement toward passive resistance launched by the Mahatma, the Ashram became home to the ideology that set India free. Sabarmati Ashram named for the river on which it sits was created with a dual mission. To serve as an institution that would carry on a search for truth and a platform to bring together a group of workers committed to non-violence who would help secure freedom for India. By conceiving such a vision Gandhi and his followers hoped to foster a new social construct of truth and non-violence that would help to revolutionize the existing pattern of like.
While at the Ashram, Gandhi formed a school that focused on manual labor, agriculture, and literacy to advance his efforts for self-sufficiency. It was also from here on the 12 March 1930 that Gandhi launched the famous Dandi march 241 miles from the Ashram (with 78 companions) in protest of the British Salt Law, which taxed Indian salt in an effort to promote sales of British salt in India. This mass awakening filled the British jails with 60 000 freedom fighters. Later the government seized their property, Gandhi, in sympathy with them, responded by asking the Government to forfeit the Ashram. Then Government, however, did not oblige. He had by now already decided on 22 July 1933 to disband the Ashram, which later became asserted place after the detention of many freedom fighters, and then some local citizens decided to preserve it. On 12 March 1930, he vowed that he would not return to the Ashram until India won independence. Although this was won on 15 August 1947, when India was declared a free nation, Gandhi was assassinated in January 1948 and never returned.
Over the years, the Ashram became home to the ideology that set India free. It aided countless other nations and people in their own battles against oppressive forces.
Today, the Ashram serves as a source of inspiration and guidance and stands as a monument to Gandhi’s life mission and a testimony to others who have fought a similar struggle.
The Ashram is presently involved in a number of activities that serve to both preserve the history of Gandhi and the freedom struggle and also to promote and educate people in the great philosophies, values, and teachings of Gandhi.
Activities at Ashram
Collecting, processing, preserving and displaying archival materials (writings, photographs, paintings, voice records, films, personal clothes, etc.
Microfilming, lamination, and preservation of negatives.
Arranging exhibitions on aspects of Gandhi’s life, literature, and activities.
Publication of the “Mahadevbhani Dairy,” which chronicles the entire history of the Indian freedom struggle.
The Ashram Trust funds activities that include education for the visitor, the community, and routine maintenance of the museum and its surrounding grounds.
Keeping contact with as well as helping and undertaking study and research in Gandhian thought and activities and publishing the results of such study and research and allied literature for the benefit of the people.
Observance in a suitable manner of occasions connected with Gandhi’s life.
Maintaining contact with the youth and student community and providing facilities to them for the study of Gandhian thought.
Harijan Ashram Trust: Runs Vinay Mandir for secondary and higher education, a hostel for Harijan girls, and Mahila Adhyapan Mandir for Primary Teachers’ Training.
Gujarat Khadi Gramodyog Mandal: looks after village industries. It produces and sells Khadi, handmade paper, soap, oil, etc, and also makes Ambar Charkha, Looms, and its accessories.
Khadi Gramodyog Prayog Samiti: conducts research and training in spinning-weaving, solar energy, and biogas, etc.
Gujarat Harijan Sevak Sangh: works for removal of untouchability; it also runs the Environmental Sanitation Institute and conducts research and training in rural health and sanitation.
A cow-pen for Bidaj and Lali villages conducts many experiments and expansion in farming, animal husbandry, cow-breeding and care, and milk production.
Ashram Guest House: Toran is run for Gandhian researchers and visitors and tourists.
The object of this Ashram is that its members should qualify themselves for, and make a constant endeavor towards, the service of the country, not inconsistent with universal good.
Truth is not fulfilled by mere abstinence from telling or practicing an untruth in ordinary relations with fellow men. But Truth is God, the one and only Reality. All other observances take their rise from the quest for, and the worship of, Truth. Worshippers of Truth must not resort to untruth, even for what they may believe to be the food of the country, and they may be required, like Prahlad, civilly to disobey the orders even of parents and elders in virtue of their paramount loyalty to Truth.
Mere not-killing (the animals) is not enough (for this observance). The active part of non-violence is Love. The law of Love requires equal consideration for all life from the tiniest insect to the highest man. One who follows this law must not be angry even with the perpetrator of the greatest imaginable wrong but must love him, wish him well and serve him. Although he must thus love the wrong does, he must never submit to his wrong or his injustice, but must oppose it with all his might, and must patiently and without resentment suffer all the hardships to which the wrongdoer may subject him in punishment for his opposition.
Observance of the foregoing principles is impossible without the observance of celibacy. It is not enough that one should not look upon any woman or man with a lustful eye; animal passion must be so controlled as to be excluded even from the mind. If married, one must not have a carnal mind regarding one’s wife or husband, but consider her or him as one’s lifelong friends, and establish a relationship of perfect purity. A sinful touch, gesture, or word is a direct breach of this principle.
Control of the Palate
The observance of Brahmacharya has been found, from experience, to be extremely difficult so long as one has not acquired mastery over taste. Control of the palate has therefore been placed as a principle by itself. Eating is necessary only for sustaining the body and keeping it a fit instrument for service, and must never be practiced for self-indulgence. Food must therefore be taken, like medicine, under proper restraint. In pursuance of this principle, one must eschew exciting foods, such as spices and condiments. Meat, liquor, tobacco, bhang, etc are excluded from the Ashram. This principle requires abstinence from feasts or dinners which has pleasure as their object.
It is not enough not to take another’s property without his permission. One becomes guilty of theft even by using differently anything which one has received in trust for use in a particular way, as well as by using a thing longer than the period for which it has been lent. It is also theft if one receives anything which he does not really need. The fine truth at the bottom of this principle is that Nature provides just enough, and no more, for our daily needs. Hence it is also a theft to possess anything more than one’s minimum requirement.
Non-Possession or Poverty
This principle is really a part of (5). Just as one must not receive, so must one not possess anything which one does not really need. It would be a breach of this principle to possess unnecessary foodstuffs, clothing, or furniture. For instance, one must not keep a chair if one can do without it. In observing this principle one is led to a progressive simplification of one’s own life.
Man is not omnipotent. He, therefore, serves the world best by serving his neighbor. This is swadeshi, a principle which is broken with one professes to serve those who are more remote in preference to those who are near. Observance of swadeshi makes for order in the world; the breach of it leads to chaos. Following this principle, one must as far as possible purchase one’s requirements locally and not buy things imported from foreign lands, which can easily be manufactured in the country. There is no place for self-interest in Swadeshi, which enjoins the sacrifice of oneself for the family, of the family for the village, and of the country for humanity.
One cannot follow the Truth of Love so long as one is subject to fear. As there is at present a reign of fear in the country, a meditation on and cultivation of fearlessness have particular importance. Hence it’s a separate mention as an observance. A seeker after truth must give up the fear of caste, government, robbers, etc and he must not be frightened by poverty or death.
Removal of Untouchability
Untouchability, which has taken such deep root in Hinduism, is altogether irreligious. Its removal has therefore been treated as an independent principle. The so-called untouchables have an equal place in the Ashram with other classes.
In the Ashram caste distinction has no place. It is believed that caste distinction has caused harm to the Hindu dharma. The ideas of the superior and inferior status and pollution by contact implied in cast distinction serve to destroy the dharma of non-violence. However, the Ashram does believe in Varna and the Ashram Dharma. The division of Varna is based upon occupation. One who follows that division lives by his parents’ occupation, not inconsistent with larger dharma, and spends his spare time in acquiring and advancing true knowledge as well as performing service.
The Ashram believes, as in the Varna, so in the four Ashrams of the Brahmacharya, Grihastha, Vanprastha, and Sanyasa. But the Ashram does not believe that life of renunciation can be lived in a forest only or by giving up performance of one’s duties. Ashram believes that the dharma of renunciation can be and should be observed while leading a normal life and that it alone is true renunciation.
The Ashram believes that the principal faiths of the world constitute a revelation of truth, but as they have all been outlined by imperfect men, they have been affected by imperfections and allowed with untruth. One must therefore entertain some respect for the religious faiths of others as one accord to one’s own.
Physical Labour (was added later by Gandhiji)
Man can be saved from injuring society, as well as himself, only if he sustains his physical existence by physical labor. Able-bodied adults should do all their personal work themselves, and should not be served by others, except for proper reasons. But they should, at some time, remember, that service of children, as well as of the disabled, the old, and the sick, is a duty incumbent on every person who has the required strength. Keeping in view this object, no laborers are employed in the Ashram, and if at all they are inevitably employed, the dealing with them would not be of an employer-employee.
Timings Of Gandhi Ashram
Timing:- 8 AM–6.30 PM
How to Reach At Gandhi Ashram
Ahmedabad is well connected with all major cities and towns by road. State and private buses are a great option to travel between smaller towns in the state.