Champaran Foundation has demanded the withdrawal of the government’s decision to redevelop the Sabarmati Ashram to a tourist destination.
Shuja Gandhi, the founder of Champaran Foundation, an NGO based in East Champaran has called the idea of theme park as ‘a second assassination’ of the idea of Gandhi.
Modi govt is all set to redevelop the Sabarmati Ashram, including the Hriday Kunj-the residence of Gandhiji and Kasturba. Under the new project, the government aims to build new museums, amphitheatre, VIP longue, shops, food courts and many more things.
Shuja Gandhi argued that the revamping of the Gandhi Museum is “in keeping with the present government’s strategy to appropriate and commercialize all Gandhian institutions in the country. The worst example of this can be seen in Sevagram, but the most frightening aspect is government control over all Gandhian archives. As Mahatma Gandhi was murdered by elements whose ideology still inspires those ruling the country, this is a danger to the idea of this great nation.”
He added that the commercialization of the place would trivialize the sanctity and importance of the present-day Ashram, mainly Hriday Kunj, surrounding buildings, and the museum.
“Hriday Kunj, other historical buildings, and present museums, even if they remain untouched, will no longer be central but pushed into a corner by the new museum, amphitheatre, food courts, shops, etc,” said the Champaran Foundation Chairman.
If the government decides to go through with this project, the signatories say that the most authentic monument of Gandhi and our freedom struggle would be lost to vanity and commercialization.
He added, “We must collectively oppose any government takeover of Gandhian institutions, while ensuring that the government continues to use public money for the proper maintenance and upkeep of such institutions, in consultation with eminent Gandhians, historians and archivists from India and around the world.”