Trip to the Gandhi Museum and Gandhi’s Cremation Site


When I started this journey into learning about nonviolence, I started with Gandhi. I read his essential writings, his autobiography, and watched many of the video clips on what was then google video, of Gandhi giving lectures.   I also watched the movie made about his life. Needless to say, he has been a huge influence on my thinking about others and my thinking about conflict, politics, religion, and of course, nonviolence as more than just a theory. It is a way of life. DSC_5986

To visit the spot on the planet where he was cremated was an honor. There is a flame there that never goes out in honor of the Mahatma. The square shaped space where the funeral pyre was set is now a marble monument laid out with flowers. Pilgrims to the site walk to the space, take pictures, pray for peace, and talk to their children about Gandhi’s legacy. To see so many people paying homage to a man who has impacted the world in such powerful ways was simply moving and inspiring.

We then went across the street to the National Gandhi Museum. I was saddened to see it needed many repairs and maybe a little TLC. For such a national treasure, I didn’t see the Indian Government taking as much care as I thought they would. From the outside, one of the first things I saw is the words “Truth is God” written on the side of the building. I then saw a this amazing cubism sculpture of the Dandi March (Salt March towering over me. As I walked around the path, I came to this beautiful statue made of brass depicting the Mahatma himself, staring at me.

As you enter the building, the first thing I saw were the words “Violence is Suicide” written on the wall of the gift shop. The gift shop is small and is mostly made of books about Gandhi.   As I passed into the lobby, I was greeted by a dozen paintings of Gandhi. It creates this almost spiritual presence of him just being in the space.

The museum is set up with a chronological photo-story display of Gandhi’s life. It walks through his early years, his years in South Africa, and his work to liberate India from British rule. Along with the thousands of photos, meaningful artifacts are displayed like Gandhi’s walking stick used in his most famous direct action, the Salt March. There are also several pairs of his famous round spectacles.

At the end of the tour, I saw the cloth Gandhi was laid out on, along with the bullets that took his life.   The small sign that reads “the bullets that took Bapu from us.” It is a very moving experience.

Later on this trip, we will be visiting another museum dedicated to Gandhi. I will write more about it after is happens!

-Joe

 

 

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