|Time zone||IST (UTC+5:30)|
|Telephone code||91 7152|
|Lok Sabha constituency||Wardha|
|Vidhan Sabha constituency||Wardha|
Sevagram is Hindi for "A village for service" and the name of a village in the state of Maharashtra, India. This was the place of Mohandas Gandhi's (Gandhiji's) ashram. Previously it was named as Shegaon: it was Mahatma Gandhi who renamed it to Sevagram.
When Gandhi started his padayatra (foot march) in 1930 from Sabarmati Ashram to Dandi for the Salt Satyagraha, he had decided not to return to Sabarmati till independence for India was attained. Independence was not attained at that time and Gandhi was imprisoned for more than two years. On his release he spent sometime travelling. He decided to make a village in Central India his head quarters. He came to Wardha in 1934, at the invitation of Jamnalalji Bajaj. In April 1936, Gandhiji established his residence in the village Shegaon which he renamed as Sevagram, which means 'village of service'. Gandhiji was 67 years old when he came to Sevagram. From then on, Sevagram has become an inspiring place. Many decisions on import ant national matters and movements were taken at Sevagram. It became the central place for a number of institutions for the nation building activities devised by Gandhiji to suit the inherent strength of this country. Shegaon is a small village 8 km from Wardha town in Maharashtra and 75 km from Nagpur. In spite of many practical difficulties, Gandhiji decided to settle here. Though he did not have any intentions of keeping anybody with him except Kasturba, pressure of work necessitated more colleagues with him till Sevagram Ashram became a full-fledged institution. There were no facilities at Sevagram, not even a post or telegraph office. The letters used to be brought from Wardha. There was another village in this region named Shegaon, made famous by the residence of Saint Gajanan Maharaj. So, Gandhiji's letters used to get misdirected. Therefore it was decided in 1940 to rename this village as SEVAGRAM or 'the village of service'.
In January 1932, Gandhiji was arrested and detained in 'Yervada Jail' in Pune. There he resorted to fast until death against the award of separate electorates for the depressed classes. The matter was settled between Gandhiji and Dr. B. R. Ambedkar and 'Poona Pact' was signed which provides the reserved seats for depressed classes in place of separate electorates. Gandhiji, after this incident, started a massive movement for the uplift of the untouchables from jail itself. He started an All India Anti-Untouchability League with his industrialist friend Birla as President and A. V. Thakkar as Secretary. In January 1933 he started a weekly journal 'Harijan' to work for the upliftment of the depressed classes. He had also made over Sabarmati Ashram to Harijan Sewak Sangh. After his final release from prison in August 1933, Gandhiji went on a 12,500 mile tour of India from November 1933 to August 1934. During this tour, he collected about eight lakhs rupees for the cause of untouchability. In 1934, Gandhiji decided to start the Village Industries Association. He gave much thought to the choice of a suitable place as headquarters. Jamnalal Bajaj wished to persuade Bapu to select Wardha as the headquarter, and took advantage of this occasion to point out that it was a good choice as it was situated in the centre of India, and he himself was prepared to present his buildings, gardens, furniture and other implements for the work of the Village Industries Association. Gandhiji accepted the offer, and Jamnalalji handed over his beautiful garden and building to the Organisation as promised. The estate was named Maganwadi in memory of the late Maganlal Gandhi. Maganwadi thus became the headquarters. Bapu began staying there with the idea of organising and popularising the work of the Association. He remained at Maganwadi for nearly a year and a half. There were so many important events which took place during the period in connection with village uplift work like regeneration of village industries, village sanitation, food experiments and discussions with constructive workers.
Founding of Ashram
Since Gandhiji wanted to live like a simple peasant and to serve the nation through constructive and rural re-construction work, he emphasised the need of Ashram where the workers could be trained for bringing his dreams into reality. He had been thinking of moving to a village in order to engage himself directly in the work of rural reconstruction. In the mean time Jamnalal Bajaj suggested him for establishing the Ashram in a village, about four miles from Wardha. Most of the land of this village belonged to jamnalal bajaj Gandhiji accepted the proposal and decided to move to Sevagram from Maganwadi. The " Ashram had been set up under the direction of Bapu in the village "Segaon" in 1936, which has latter been named as "Sevagram Ashram" (Service village). It was hinted that his shifting to Sevagram during the summer heat may be deferred for some months so that a few huts may be constructed in the meantime. But Gandhiji was adamant and decided to walk to Sevagram on 30 April 1936 along with Mahadev Desai and Jamnalal Bajaj and other associates, like Shriman Narayan and Balwant Sinha. There was no road but only a cart track to the village. Since there was no cottage on the proposed site of the Ashram Gandhiji rested under an improvised bamboo hut in the midst of guava trees near a well. A cottage, now called Adi Niwas, was soon constructed by Jamnalal Bajaj for Gandhiji. For several months, one corner of the cottage was occupied by him, the second by Kasturba, the third by Mahadev Desai and the fourth by an important guest who happened to be in Segaon to meet Gandhiji. Badshah Khan stayed in this fourth corner for several months. It was only after a year or two that a separate cottage was constructed for Kasturba. Subsequently, Gandhiji also shifted to another hut which was originally prepared by Miraben for her own use in the village. It is this hut which is now known as Bapu Kutir and where Gandhiji lived most of the time till 1946 when he left for Noakhali and never returned to Sevagram. In fact many a fateful decision which affected the destiny of India was taken in this little hut of Gandhiji at Sevagram Ashram which was aptly spoken in the words of late Shri J. C. Kumarappa, "the de facto capital of India since service of the country is the function of a capital city". The original name of the village was Segaon. After about a year, it was changed into 'Sevagram' by the Government because of a practical difficulty. There was another town called Shegaon in Khandesh, Maharashtra, on the main Bombay-Nagpur Railway line. A good number of letters addressed to Gandhiji were by mistake, being sent by postal authorities to Shegaon which was confused with Segaon near Wardha. The Government had informally consulted Gandhiji about the new name which literally means 'the village of service' (Sevagram).
First Adi Niwas was (Gandhiji's residential hut) founded on the 30th April 1936 when Gandhiji came for walking from Wardha to Sevagram. He first took rest under the guava tree in the guava garden near Ashram well. This was his very first abode in Sevagram. The cottage now called Adi Niwas was built according to Gandhiji's own instructions. It was his wish that all materials and artisans should be local and the expenses should not exceed Rs. 500. Gandhiji came to live in this cottage on June 16, 1936. Kasturba, Pyarelal (Gandhiji's secretary), other members of the Ashram and guests were living together in this cottage. Gandhiji was doing all his work (reading, writing, spinning etc.) in this cottage. The two small rooms at the corner of the small varandah were the kitchen and bath room. The first meeting of the 'Quit India' movement was held in this cottage in 1942. Opposite to 'Adi Niwas' cottage, the congragational prayer ground is situated under the 'Pipal' tree which was planted by Gandhiji in 1936.
Bapu Kuti (Bapu Cottage)
Mira Bahen (Miss Slade) had first built this cottage for herself and taught spinning and cording to the villagers. Latter Gandhiji came to live in this cottage as the Adi Niwas' (the first hut where Gandhiji lived) was over crowded. The cottage has been preserved exactly as it was in Gandhiji's life time. At the entrance gate of this cottage the seven social sins have been engraved for the guidance of the visitors, taken from 'Young India' 1924 : Politics without Principles Wealth without Work Commerce without Morality Education without Character Pleasure without Conscience Science without Humanity Worship without Sacrifice Bapu (Gandhiji) met guests and visitors from India and abroad in this cottage. The well known Indian Socialist Party leader, Acharya Narendradev lived with Gandhiji for several months to undergo nature cure treatment under his direct supervision. He was allowed to use Gandhiji's massage room as a special favour. Gandhiji's hut was originally small one. The verandah on the northern side, the bath room, the small room for guests and the porch in front of the entrance were later additions. The small room was the centre of activity of Gandhiji. It was here that the numerous letters he received were opened. His secretaries used to open letters and the important ones were shown to Gandhiji. When his Secretary Mahadev Desai was no more, Gandhiji always remembered his services. Every evening he was going to the building where Mahadev Desai stayed, and hold community spinning as a memorial to him. Gandhiji was sitting on a mat and even as he was speaking to visitors, he was spining on 'Dhanush Takli' which was invented by Shri Bharatananda, a Polish Engineer who came under the magic spell of Gandhiji. At Sevagram Gandhiji was sleeping in the open. If it rained, the fellow inmates were helping to remove his bed and took it inside and cover the varandah with bamboo mats. Sometimes this transfer of beds was repeated three or four times during the night, Gandhiji said that even two to three hours' sleep in the open was equivalent to a full night's sleep under the roof. Besides, there was no harm even if a number of people slept in a small area in the open, whereas, under a roof, the air became stale and polluted. When Lord Lothian visited the Ashram, Gandhiji advised him to sleep out of doors assuring him that he would not catch cold. After a good deal of hesitation, Lord Lothian agreed to this proposal and he did not caught cold. Every visitor well realised that Gandhiji was the admirer of simple and open life. Those who were going to meet Gandhiji were to sit on the floor. Low stools were, however, provided for those who were not accustomed to sit on the mat. The letter "Om", the palm trees and the Charkha moulded on the wall of the hut by Mira Behn are of great inspiration. The two questions which Gandhiji was hanging before him on the walls of the cottage are worth mentioning here, which are still prominently displayed in Bapu Kuti. The first one was from John Ruskin whose book 'Unto this Last' had influenced Gandhiji deeply.
"The essence of lying is in deception, and not in words. A lie may be told by silence, by equivocation, by the accent on a syllable, by the glance of the eye attaching particular significance to a sentence and all these kinds of lies are worse and baser by many degrees than a lie plainly worded." This indicates how Gandhiji was keen on avoiding untruth even of the subtlest kind. His whole life was a story of 'experiments with truth' and the chief ambition of his life was to follow truth in the strictest sense of the term. The second quotation was from G. C. Larimer : "When you are in the right, you can afford to keep your temper, and when you are in the wrong, you can't afford to loose it." The bath room in the Cottage is on the southern side. The septic tank latrine was kept spotlessly clean by Gandhiji with his own hands. He was making it a private reading room too. In the adjoining room, his wooden bed and massage table are still kept in proper order. This room was occasionally used for accommodating his sick friends and fellow workers so that Gandhiji could attend them. Gandhiji was observing silence on Mondays, not for rest but for doing his writing work which piled up during the week. His small hut was a drawing room, a dining room, a committee room, a bed room and office - all rolled into one. For several years; Gandhiji had no bath room attached to the hut, he was having his bath in a tiny room attached to the first cottage - Adi Niwas. It was much later that a separate bath room-cum-massage room was constructed for him. Gandhiji's articles of daily use are still displayed in Bapu Kuti. There is a small rack in which there is not a single iron nail. It was made by Shri Bharatananda. The small tea-poy near Gandhiji's seat with another smaller table under it, was probably brought by Shrimati Rajmukari Amrit Kaur. Towards the end of Bapu's seat is a small stool on which he was keeping a lantern. A wooden bar has been fixed to the door to keep it away from falling. There are two earthen boxes in which Gandhiji kept his small personal belongings. Every thing in his hut was so simple that would be found in a poor man's house, which includes- wooden paper weights, Japanese Holy cloth, ink stand, spitoon, bottle for boiled drinking water, wooden pen and pencil stand, pins and tags container, small rosary, wooden bowl, sandal wood first aid box, folding spinning wheel, Red stone paper weight, foot cleaning earthen piece, marble paper weight etc. Gandhiji always keeping before him the model of the three monkeys of fable and legend. He conducted serious deliberations with top leaders in this very hut. He solved the most intricate problems from this same hut and finally, the historic slogan "Quit India" emerged from the depth of his heart from the same hut. Even today, people obtain peace of mind by spending a few minutes here. In this simple cottage, dipicting the simplest and commonest village life, Shri Mahadev Desai, Kishorilal Mashruwala, Pyarelal and Rajkumari Amrit Kaur served as Gandhiji's Secretaries.
Ba Kuti (Ba Cottage)
When the Ashram began, there was only one cottage Adi Niwas. Ba (Kasturba) had to live in the midst of many men. Sympathising with her difficulties Shri Jamnalal Bajaj received Bapu's (Gandhiji's) consent to build this cottage for Ba (Kasturba). All the ladies who came to see Gandhiji lived in this cottage with Ba. Ba left for Bombay with Bapu on August 2, 1942 to attend the meeting of the All India Congress Committee. She joined the 'Quit India' movement, and was arrested on August 9, 1942 and was imprisoned along with Bapu in Agakhan Palace, Poona. After a long illness, Ba breathed her last in Agakhan Palace on February 22, 1944. The photograph hanging on the wall of this hut in which Gandhiji is seen sitting on a stool with Kasturba massaging his feet. It is said that when Gandhiji saw this picture, he asked the photographer why he had not even photographed him attending on 'Ba' but had only shown her looking after him. Because Gandhiji had also been nursing Kasturba. The things displayed at Ba Kuti are Ba's Sari, Bapu's bed-sheet, jacket, Ba's seat, hold-all, Bapu's jute Dari which have been kept in a simple wooden rack. All things are so simple and Swadeshi that tells the story of simplicity.
The Last Residence
This cottage which is modern than other cottages and situated near the Ba-Kuti, was built by Jamnalal Bajaj for himself and lived here for a short while. Later this cottage was used by the Ashram. In 1946, Bapu had a severe attack of cough and came up to live in this cottage under doctor's advice to cure his cough. He was taking a Sun-bath in the eastern varandah of this cottage. On August 25, 1946, Gandhiji left for Delhi from this Cottage and then went to Noakhali. From there he did not return to Sewagram while engaged in his task of communal unity and peace making. He was martyred in Delhi on January 30, 1948. Bapu's wooden weight instrument and donation box are kept on the varandah of this cottage.
Parchure Shastri's Cottage
Within the vicinity of the Ashram a small hut which was constructed for Parchure Shastri, who was suffering from severe wet leprosy for a number of years and had come to Sevagram to die in peace, has also been maintained properly. Parchure Shastri was a co-prisoner of Gandhiji in jail. He was a Sanskrit Scholar. When Gandhiji found him lying on the roadside in a pit he was deeply touched and got Parchure Shastri removed to the Ashram for shelter. Bapu started massaging his wounds with his own hands. The inmates of the Ashram hesitated to follow even Gandhiji's example for several days. They were mortally afraid of leprosy. But Gandhiji's example ultimately proved infectious and several co-workers took up the massage work in right earnest. After some weeks Parchure Shastri improved considerably and Gandhiji began to utilise his services for teaching Sanskrit to some of the children of the community. The Maharashtra scholar was also requested to solemnise several marriages in the Ashram, specially between Harijans and the caste Hindus. Gandhiji's eagerness towards the service of mankind could be realised from this incidence.
Common Kitchen and Dining Room
There was no kitchen or dining room when the Ashram was established. The inmates were cooking on the south-western corner of a room of Adi-Niwas. Since the number of Ashram inmates and visitors increased, Gandhiji had a new separate kitchen built. It is situated to the Southeast of Adi-Niwas. The kitchen is very simple and ordinary. The kitchen-cum-dining has been maintained in good condition. The inmates on the teaching and advice of Gandhiji were cooking simple vegitarian food irrespective of caste, religion, sex etc. The Harijans were participated in cooking the food. It was a common kitchen for all inmates including Gandhiji. The dining room adjacent to the kitchen was of common use. Some times Gandhiji himself was to serve the meal. While cooking the principles were observed both to eliminate 'untouchability' and to educate the inmates in hygienic methods of work. After the establishment of 'Nai Talim' center for basic education, the All India Spinners Association shifted their headquarters to Sevagram and a separate township was constructed there, including a Khadi Vidyalaya and its hostels. Gandhiji had also allowed the establishment of a hospital for utilizing the services of Dr. Sushila Nayar in Sevagram. The hospital was named after Kasturba and is now grown into a Medical College of the rural pattern. Although the hospital and the college teach modern medical science, it has been decided to attach a Nature cure wing in conformity with Gandhiji's emphasis on cheap and simple remedies for common ailments.
Sevagram is a small village, located about 8 km from WardhaAnd comes under Wardha. Mahatma Gandhi set up his ashram in the outskirts of the village when barely 1,000 people lived there. Seth Jamnalal Bajaj of Wardha, a disciple of Mahatma Gandhi, made available to the ashram about 300 acres (1.2 km2) of land. The small homes which were built in the ashram for Gandhi and Kasturba, and his followers were similar to the typical village homes. The ashram employed some harijans in the common kitchen to break the caste barrier. Also, there is Vinoba Bhave's Param Dham Ashram located on the banks of the Dhaam river. Near the ashram there is a museum where things of freedom struggle are kept.there is a wonderful Yatri niwas where people can stay in lapse of nature. Sevagram is home to the first rural medical college in India, the Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences, and an engineering college which is also run by a rural trust (Bapurao Deshmukh College of Engineering, previously called Sevagram College of Engineering). Both medical and engineering colleges are equipped with modern infrastructure and students from all over India come to these colleges. Nearby cities: Wardha, Katol, Chandur Railway Coordinates: 20°43'41"N 78°39'45"E
Sevagram railway station is located 6 km away from the main village. Previously the station was named as Wardha East railway station. Sevagram Station has the steepest turn in the world. Sevagram is a station on the Howrah-Nagpur-Mumbai line.sevagram is well connected to rail, bus and airport. airport is situated around 55 km from sevagram on the way of nagpure.
- Official website of Gandhiji in Sewagram, Sevagram and Mahatama Gandhi
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