Sevagram Sabarmati Sandesh Yatra began from the historic Sevagram Ashram of Mahatma Gandhi on Sunday ,17 October 21 with a resolve to protect the heritage of the freedom struggle.
According to organisers this Yatra is to awaken public opinion against the attempts by the Central and Gujarat State Government to change the very nature of Mahatma Gandhi’s world famous Sabarmati Ashram.
The Yatra is being organised by leading Gandhian organizations across the country viz. Gandhi Smarak Nidhi, Gandhi Peace Foundation, Sarva Seva Sangh, Sevagram Ashram Pratishthan, Sarvodaya Samaj, Nai Talim Samiti, Rashtriya Yuva Sangatan,National Gandhi Museum, Jal Biradari, Maharashtra Sarvodaya Mandal and Sarvodaya Organisations of Gujarat.
About 50 yatris offered prayers at Bapu Kuti in Sevagram in the morning and started the Yatra with the firm resolve that the legacy of the freedom movement and the heritage of Bapu would not be allowed to be tampered with. They felt attempts to change the very nature of Sabarmati Ashram complex is a great blow to the ideology of Gandhi which was based on simplicity and austerity.
They feared that the natural beauty and the sanctity of heritage will be lost with the modern construction. According to the information received, the 1200 crore rupees Government project includes provision to build a new museum, amphitheatre, VIP lounge, shops, food and beverages and amusement facilities. Due to this, not only the original form of Sabarmati Ashram will be destroyed. They reminded that the ashram is not only the historical heritage of the country but also of the world.
Mukund Mhske Secretary of Sevagram Ashram Pratishthan welcomed the Yatris to Karmbhoomi of Gandhiji and expressed his good wishes for the yatra . Sanjoy Singha, the convener of the Sandesh Yatra stated that even after the declaration of the project 2 year back we are not having proper information about the project. This Yatra aims at raising the consciousness of people against the attempts of the government to destroy the heritage of Mahatma Gandhi .
Speaking on the occasion Ram Chandra Rahi , President of Gandhi Smarak Nidhi,New Delhi, stated that Sabarmati Ashram is the symbol of combat where the historic Salt March began. Initially tall leaders like Motilal Nehru underestimated the significance of the struggle of making our own salt .
From Sabatmati Gandhi came to Sevagram. This Ashram symbolises constructive Action. Now we are going to Sevagram to Sabarmati .This Yatra is against the forces which protect centralisation of power .Our aim is to create people’s power. It carries the message of Truth, Nonviolence and fearlessness.
Rajendra Singh, waterman of India stated that this yatra shows that fearless people are still alive and it will remove fear from the minds of all cross sections of people. Bapu combined struggle and constructive action.
Asha Bothra, Trustee of Sevagram Ashram Pratishthan emphasised the need for protecting the heritage of Gandhi. We have to keep alive the work and deeds of Sant of Sabarmati .Kumar Prashant , Chairman of Gandhi Peace Foundation, New Delhi stated that dialogue is the way of Gandhi and our attempts are creating desired results and we are moving from a fearful atmosphere to a conducive atmosphere.
Earlier nobody wanted to talk and through dialogue we could remove fear from all and open the doors for dialogue and rethinking. Subhamurthy of Bihar Anolan lamented that now Jalianwala bagh has been reduced to a tourist destination. Younger generations are not aware of the supreme sacrifices made by the heroes of the freedom struggle. It is very important to protect heritage sites. They are a source of inspiration for all of us. Avinash Kakade conducted the programme.
A statement issued on the occasion pointed out that on the august and historic occasion of the Diamond Jubilee Year of Indian Independence, instead of preserving the memory of Gandhiji and rejuvenating the constructive programmes Gandhi suggested for nation building, the present attempts on the government are indirect ways of destroying footprints of Mahatma and cutting off the Gandhian ideology and legacy from the future generations.
There is a conspiracy to destroy the memorable places associated with Gandhi or India’s freedom struggle. Now the Jallianwala Bagh of Amritsar has been transformed into a tourist destination and the emotional and inspirational atmosphere there has been destroyed, on the same lines steps are being taken to destroy the Sabarmati Ashram.
This is a solid basis for the possibility of erasing history and changing it according to their convenience. Converting the memories of freedom fighters and heroes who made sacrifices for the country into tourist places and giving it a commercial form is disrespectful .
This is the reason why we want to awaken the conscience of the people of the country by sensitizing the them about the efforts of the Central Government to erase the memories related to the freedom struggle and the national heritage through the Yatra. We also request the Central Government to take its step back and not try to tamper the national heritage and change its very appearance.
Sanjoy Singha, the convener of the Sandesh Yatra said that this yatra, starting from Gandhi’s Sevagram Ashram, will reach Ahmedabad on October 23 via Amravati, Akola, Khamgaon, Bhusaval, Jalgaon, Amalner, Dhule, Nandurbar, Bardoli. Interreligious prayer meetings, seminars, public dialogues and other programmes will be organized from place to place during the journey.