National Gandhi Museum a life worth living

Quest is a project conducted by The Indian Express in schools in and around Delhi. It covers more than 50 schools in Delhi and NCR...

New Delhi | Published: January 22, 2009 12:32 am

Students of Ramjas School,Pusa Road,take the heritage walk conducted by The Indian Express at the National Gandhi Museum near Rajghat

A schools’ initiative from The Express Group
Quest is a project conducted by The Indian Express in schools in and around Delhi. It covers more than 50 schools in Delhi and NCR.

Quest aims at stirring awareness and opinions. Today,when all that children see are shopping malls and cineplexes,we at The Indian Express want to show a completely different picture of this city to them. Delhi has changed beyond nostalgia and recognition since Independence. How many of these kids know of the ‘Seven Cities’ of Delhi or the stories of the pigeon fliers of Old Delhi?

The idea behind such an activity is to create awareness about the various structures and monuments that the students do not know about. This is a specially designed programme,which will help the students appreciate the rich culture and background of this city. In association with INTACH and ASI,this is a small effort on our behalf to depict a phase of our national life and the decay of a whole culture,a particular mode of thought and living. The visit is followed by the students sending in articles,pictures,poems,paintings,and collages to express their experiences about the heritage walk.

A journey through his life
“My life is my message.” We read the famous quote by Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi as we entered the National Gandhi Museum,a two storied building near Gandhi Samadhi at Rajghat. I was thrilled to know the facts about this great man. In the exhibition hall,Gandhiji’s pictures at the age of seven at Porbandar,Gujarat,are displayed. His pictures as a law student and that of his early years of legal practice are also there. One cannot make out whose pictures are these. We were shown a movie on Gandhiji’s life and his struggle for freedom. I was greatly moved by it. The museum also has a beautiful sculpture of Gandhiji made from plaster of paris; it was breathtaking. One can also listen to the recorded voice of Gandhiji both in English and in Hindi. We also saw the Charkha Gallery which has raw materials,small tools and other items used for spinning the charkha. Traditional charkhas made of bamboo and from places like Punjab,Gujarat,Bihar etc. are preserved in the museum. Gandhiji’s life has been carefully captured in 300 photographs.

Gandhiji’s spectacles,watches,pens,sandals,utensils,books,diaries and the stick he carried during the Dandi March are also displayed in the museum. These articles brought history alive in front of our eyes.

There is a Martyrdom Gallery at the museum where Gandhiji’s urn,blood-stained shawl,dhoti,one of the bullets which killed him and his pocket watch,which was with him during the last moments of his life,are displayed.

Then we visited the Hriday Kunj. This is the place where Gandhiji stayed after returning from South Africa. The visit made us aware of Gandhiji’s life,his family and his struggles.

The tallest leader in Indian history
We the students of class XI visited the National Gandhi Museum.

The museum tells the life-story of one of the most tallest leaders in Indian history through his letters,journals,pictures,films and more.

Also known as the ‘Gandhi Memorial Museum’,the museum comprises five galleries which have Gandhiji’s sculptures,photographs,paintings,historical articles and information on the Satyagraha movement,along with material on his philosophy of ‘ahimsa’ (non-violence). Other collections of the museum include a stone bowl,a brass plate,the clothes Gandhiji was wearing the day he was assassinated,his wooden sandals,etc. The National Gandhi Museum also houses a library and an information center,which has numerous books on Gandhiji and his philosophy.

The museum has an outstanding collection of art pieces,audio-video materials,photographs,journals and documents,books,relics and other invaluable items related to the life of Mahatma Gandhi.

The main sections of the museum are as follows — the photo section,the library and publication section,galleries and other displays.

In the museum we found ourselves surrounded by the world of Gandhiji,with abundant information about his life. The visit was excellent and very informative. We got to know things we never knew about.

His life inspires us even today
My visit with my school friends to the National Gandhi Museum gave me precious information about a great leader—Gandhi ji; our Bapu. It was a memorable visit. Bapu was a man of simple style. He wore the simple khaadi dhoti,yet he moved people with his love and non-violence. The spinning wheel is a symbol of his simplicity; it touched the entire humanity during India’s freedom struggle. His patriotism continues to inspire people from all walks of life. The truth about Gandhiji,in one word,was honesty. Even after years of losing Gandhiji,his thoughts and morals stand strong for the youth as ‘Gandhigiri’.
— Neha Anand XI Arts

The man behind freedom struggle
‘Forgiveness is the quality of the brave,not of the cowardly.’ These lines were said by the Father of our nation: Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi,popularly known as Mahatma Gandhi.

My visit to the National Gandhi Museum near Rajghat has really motivated me. We all keep hearing that Gandhiji was a great man; he was poor but had the wealth of love. I wasn’t so moved by these sayings till I visited the museum and almost experienced the very life of Gandhiji. I came to know why he became such a great person. At the museum,we saw the replica of Gandhiji’s Sabarmati Ashram in Gujarat,which seemed very real,indeed. But the most remarkable relic was the khaadi dhoti worn by Gandhiji till his death. The blood-stained dhoti and the bullet which killed him have been kept as artifacts in the museum. Besides these,there were his spectacles,the pocket watch used by him and his folding stick. There were also old newspaper articles,featuring thousands of people mourning his death and thronging his Samadhi. There were also some telephone models playing the recorded voice of Gandhiji; it seemed as if talking to him on phone. There were also many foreign tourists at the museum,who still admire and respect the Mahatma and his works. The last thing we saw was a documentary titled Gandhi a tribute,which showed different stages of his life,his struggle for India’s freedom and eventually becoming the Father of the nation. Lastly,it showed the incident of his death which really brought tears to my eyes. I think every Indian should visit this museum and know how India has become a free nation.
— Priyanka Roy,XI A (Science)

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