Gujarat govt releases video of its plan for Gandhi Ashram, says ‘restoration’ to inspire future generation – Deccan Herald

Posted: October 21, 2021 at 1:44 am

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A day after a group of Gandhian organisations set out on a march from Sevagram to Sabarmati to protest against the redevelopment plan for Mahatma Gandhi-founded Sabarmati Ashram, the state government on Monday released a video on social media platforms, sharing its plan for the Ashram for the first time in public domain.

The government has termed its plan as "restoration" of "Gandhiji's karmabhoomi" to "keep alive his values and philosophy and continue to inspire future generations."

The 4.48 minutes long video titled "Gandhi Ashram Restoration Project" was uploaded on Chief Minister Office Twitter and Instagram handles. The video has been made by "Mahatma Gandhi Sabarmati Ashram Memorial Trust", which is said to have been formed by the state government recently to look after redevelopment work and the subsequent management of the Ashram precinct. Despite repeated attempts, K Kailashnathan, chairman of the Executive Council, set up by the state government for project implementation, didn't respond to comment.

The development comes a day after 50 people representing various Gandhian organisations embarked on "Sevagram-Sabarmati Sandesh Yatra" in protest against the government's plan for redevelopment. The march, started from Sevagram Ashram in Wardha, will reach Ahmedabad on October 23. On October 24, a silent protest is likely to be held at the Ashram.

The short videodescribes the Ashram set up by Gandhi in 1917 as "the austere, simple and authentic architecture of the ashram was the very embodiment of Gandhiji's value and philosophy."

It says, "It is true that today's Gandhi Ashram memorial is deeply inspiring yet it has long been felt that it leaves much to be desired. When established the Ashram was spread out over 120 acres of land on the outskirts of Ahmedabad. It had 63 buildings that housed numerous activities of the Ashram. Today, what people know as Gandhi Ashram is only five acres of the original Ashra which has been preserved as a memorial. Only three of its original buildings are open for visitors, many of the others have either been torn down or lie across the busy ashram road. The video says that over the years many new buildings "that are incongruous with the architecture of the original Ashram, have also been built on Ashram ground, making it unrecognisable from the place where Gandhijji nurtured India's quest for freedom."

It adds, "During this 75th year of India's independence the government has resolved to restore Gandhi ashram in a way that preserves the ethos of the original ashram. Ashram road will be severed and diverted. The Ashram will be expanded to include all buildings built during Gandhi's time. Buildings and activities which are not congruent with the proposed memorial will be moved to satellite campuses adjoining the ashram. Ashram wasis who are currently the tenants of various trusts will be given ownership of new houses with upgraded facilities located within 50 metres of their current locations. Those who chose to move to a different location will be provided a generous compensation or four-bedroom homes which are ready to occupy."

Sharing the government's plan, the film says, "A conceptual master plan for expansion and restoration of Arham has been prepared. The original building of the Ashram will be carefully restored and brought alive for everyone to visit and be inspired by. A few new museums and exhibits will be added to display Gandhi's life and works. Gandhi Ashram archive and library will be better housed and facilities will be created for research and training. Amenities will be augmented to support the continuously increasing number of visitors. All of these be done in a way that preserves the ethos and sanctity of the original Ashram.Chandrabha revolt in the vicinity of the ashram will be made into a pleasant urban waterway. The historic dandi bridge will be restored."

The video says that the estimated cost for this project is 1,200 crore, which will be funded by the Government of India and managed by the Gujarat government in "consultation and consensus" with all stakeholders. "Restoration of Gandhiji's karmabhoomi will keep alive his values and philosophy and continue to inspire future generations," the video added.

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Gujarat govt releases video of its plan for Gandhi Ashram, says 'restoration' to inspire future generation - Deccan Herald

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October 21st, 2021 at 1:44 am

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