Friday, April 19, 2013

Dakshinayana Part Eleven – Sevagram: Walking with Gandhi

Shalimar Lokmanya Tilak Express was supposed to start at 1.40 in the afternoon. Train was not crowded, but neither had any vacant seats except in berths. Finally I decide to sit at the door itself, watching countryside of Maharashtra for next one hour. An old man – a regular traveller in Lokmanya Tilak – sat next to me. He was more interested in explaining about railway stations than anything else. Around 1.50pm our train started moving.

By this time boggy was full; some were sitting in the floor, berths. Some others including me were standing. We reached Sevagram station around 2.15 in the afternoon (sign board in the station, with Gandhi’s caricature welcomed me). There were a lot of autos in front of the station, after taking in look I started walking towards the main road. A lady coming opposite to me informed that, ashram is no in walk-able distance. So I finally, hired an auto to reach there – ‘bapu kudi’.

Sevagram Ashram (courtesy to for details)

Shegaon is a small village near Wardha town (8 km). Meera Ben (Miss Madelene Slade) was already settled in Sevagram before Gandhiji came to stay here. Gandhiji (at that time 67 years old) reached the village on the 30th April,1936. In those days the village was surrounded by forest on all sides. Snakes and scorpions were a common feature.

Here Gandhiji used to stay at a home named ‘Adi Nivas’ along with Frontier Gandhi Khan Abdul Gaffar Khan, Saint Tukdoji, Kasturba and other Ashram inmates also lived in the same hut. Frontier Gandhi Khan Abdul Gaffar Khan, Saint Tukdoji, Kasturba and other Ashram inmates also lived in the same hut.
Last Residence

He used to do his routine office work by sitting in the open verandah. He was staying here when he set out for Noakhali (Bengal) on the 25th August, 1946 and he never returned. Therefore, this hut is named as ‘AKHIRI NIVAS’ or 'The Last Residence'.

Eleven laws as a basis of Ashram life

Truth (Satya), Non-violence (Ahimsa), Chastity (Brahmacharya), Non-possession, Non-Stealing, Bread-Labour, Control of Palate, Fearlessness, Equality of Religions, Swadeshi (use of home produced goods), Removal of untouchability

Telephone used by Gandhi, during
his stay at Sevagram ashram
With the blessing of afternoon sun, I entered to the coolness of ashram. Many people were walking here and there; some were taking photos, others were sitting under trees. I moved from one home to another; neatly preserved, what makes this place special is the presence of Gandhi in her air. Inside Bappu’s office, I sat for some time imagining about the days of National Movement.

Finally, it was the time to go back. Fortunately, I got an auto to Wardha bus stand. From there a transport corporation’s direct bus to Nagpur.

Next destination was Aurangabad. After the horrible journey from Raipur to Nagpur in the previous night in standing in general compartment I was not at all in a position to try the train again. So after getting down at the station, I started searching for an Aurangabad bus. One conductor informed me that, there is a bus at 8pm and probably it was last one. Well, the problem was with time. I have to go to Nagpur railway station to take my bag from clock room and come back to bus stand – all in 30 minutes. I got a shared auto, which dropped me close to station. Vehicles were hardly moving, after walking and running for some time, I finally reached the station.

On the way back, there was no time for searching a shared auto or bus. I walked towards the prepaid auto stand – prepaid was only in name. Before reaching the booth itself, drivers started negotiating the price – I doubt whether I can call it negotiation. My only aim was to reach bus stand as fast as possible. I agreed on the price suggested by driver at one condition – he had to reach me at bus stand before the Aurangabad bus leaves. I just remembered some dialogues from Hollywood moves, where hero offered extra money to take him fast to the airport. Only difference here was I need to reach bus stand :) He dropped me inside the stand. I ran as fast as I could towards the platform, It was there... ready to take off.


Inside a room
For reading rest of the articles please visit,

Dakshinayana Part One – An Introduction
Dakshinayana Part Two – Bangalore to Bhopal
Dakshinayana Part Three – Sanchi
Dakshinayana Part Four – Bhopal: The city of lakes
Dakshinayana Part Five: Ujjain – The Holy City, hearing the sounds of forefathers
Dakshinayana Part Six: Indore – Trade hub of Central India
Dakshinayana Part Seven – Jabalpur: Kalchuris, Gonds and Narmada
Dakshinayana Part Eight – Kanha National Park and Mandla
Dakshinayana Part Nine – Chhattisgarh and Raipur
Dakshinayana Part Ten: Nagpur – The Orange City
Dakshinayana Part Eleven – Sevagram: Walking with Gandhi
Dakshinayana Part Twelve – Aurangabad: The City of Gates
Dakshinayana Part Thirteen – Ellora Memories
Dakshinayana Part Fourteen – U shaped Ajanta
Dakshinayana Part Fifteen – Pune: The Maratha heartland

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