A memorial to Kasturba Gandhi
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.
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