A memo­rial to Kas­turba Gandhi

Hindustan Times (Patna) - Live - - Lifestyle - Ruchika Garg ruchika.garg@hin­dus­tan­times.com

In the mid­dle of a 20-acre green wood­land in Kingsway Camp, North Cam­pus, Delhi Univer­sity (DU), lies a for­got­ten rem­nant of his­tory. On the first floor of this build­ing, Ma­hatma Gandhi lived with his wife, Kas­turba, in the 1930s and ’40s. Here, you will find sig­nif­i­cant traces of their ashram life — a bath­tub that he used and even the kitchen where Kas­turba cooked. Known as Kas­turba Ku­tir, this tem­po­rary abode of the Gand­his, is a part of Gandhi Ashram Har­i­jan Se­vak Sangh.

“The ashram was not marked as a his­tor­i­cal site and is thus ly­ing in a sham­bles. Five years ago, we started a project to ren­o­vate the build­ing but could not do it, ow­ing to the lack of funds. Now, with the help of Hena Chakraborty, an artist, we have re-opened the project,” says Sankar Ku­mar Sanyal, pres­i­dent of the Har­i­jan Se­vak Sangh.

The ashram, es­tab­lished in 1932, in­cludes other struc­tures such as Prarthna Mandir, a place where Gandhi had prayers and dis­cus­sions with na­tional stal­warts, and Dharma Stambha, a pil­lar with quo­ta­tions from dif­fer­ent re­li­gious scrip­tures. The foun­da­tion stone of the ashram was laid by Ma­hatma Gandhi. The memo­rial will be in­au­gu­rated on July 7 by Vice Pres­i­dent of In­dia, Hamid An­sari.

Chakraborty, the artist and the co­or­di­na­tor of the project, says that the Ku­tir will be the first memo­rial site ded­i­cated to Kas­turba and her con­tri­bu­tion to the free­dom strug­gle. “I have been paint­ing on the Gand­his for 45 years now and my col­lec­tion of her pic­tures and the tales of her life will be show­cased at Kas­turba Ku­tir memo­rial,” she says. She also hopes that peo­ple will vol­un­teer to re­store the place.“We will ap­pre­ci­ate all sorts of help, whether it is mone­tary or vol­un­tary,” she adds.

PHO­TOS: MANOJ VERMA/HT

Artist Hena Chakraborty has been work­ing on the project to re­store Kas­turba Ku­tir at Gandhi Ashram Har­i­jan Se­vak Sangh

Left: Gandhi’s bath­tub at Kas­turba Ku­tir, a desk used by Gandhi

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