Gandhi Smriti all set for Martyr’s Day events

Saturday, January 29, 2011

NEW DELHI - Gandhi Smriti, the museum dedicated to Mahatma Gandhi, is all set for Sunday when the country will pay its respectful tributes to the Father of the Nation on his 63rd death anniversary. The day is observed as Martyrs Day.

Prayer services and other special programmes have been organised at the memorial, the former Birla House that now houses the Eternal Gandhi Multimedia Museum.

“Around 500 children from different schools, orphanages and non-governmental organisations will offer a musical tribute to the Mahatma on Martyrs Day. Around 50 differently abled girls will join the tribute here,” Rajdeep Pathak, programme executive told IANS.

“Various religious and spiritual leaders will take part in the inter-faith prayer ceremony,” he said.

Divya Sarisir (14), a student from Navjyoti India Foundation School, said: “We have been rehearsing here for the last 12 days for the Sunday event. We perform here every year. I am glad our school gets an opportunity to pay tribute to the Father of the Nation every year.”

“We will perform on at least seven devotional songs including Gandhijis favourite songs like ‘Raghupati Raghava Rajaram,’ ‘Uth jaag musafir’ and ‘Saathi haath bharana’,” she said.

Divyesh Thakkar (28), a visitor from Ahmedabad, felt that every Indian should visit Gandhi Smriti, no matter where they live.

“This memorial will make them realise the struggle behind India’s freedom,” Thakkar said.

According to David Young (29) from the UK, the museum is “very inspiring, peaceful and well-organised. One can re-live the history of India here”.

Originally known as the Birla House, where Gandhiji spent the last 144 days of his life and was assassinated Jan 30, 1948, Gandhi Smriti is now a national memorial that honours the virtues and cherished memories of the Mahatma.

Part of the national heritage, the museum takes the visitors closer to the life and contributions of Gandhiji. It houses a number of personal memorabilia, documents, photographs, manuscripts, books, journals and audio-visual materials related to the Father of the Nation.

Gandhi Smriti director Manimala said: Gandhiji always wanted to highlight the importance of manual labour. Here, in Kutir Udyog, one can learn spinning, weaving, embroidery and pottery. Our intention is to show people the unseen India.

Between 2,000 to 5,000 visitors come here every day. We have set up all facilities for them to learn about Gandhiji. There are reading rooms and even a meditation room. We will soon open our own cafeteria, she said.

Parking was a major problem during the Commonwealth Games, but now we have it behind the main gate and it is now well-maintained,” Manimala added.

The museum has some rare photographs from Gandhiji’s life. The room he used and the prayer ground where evening congregations were held have been preserved the way they were during that time.

A series of footprints trace his last steps from the room to the prayer ground on that fateful Jan 30 evening in 1948.

A martyr’s column marks the place where the Mahatma fell to the bullets of the assassin.

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