2nd October is celebrated every year in India as the Birth Anniversary of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, more popularly referred to as Bapu and Mahatma Gandhi.
But, amusingly so, the only thing that helps me connect with this day over the past few years is my appreciation for Rajkumar Hirani directed film ‘Lage Raho Munnabhai’….and perhaps that is the reason I managed to convince myself to visit Mani Bhawan during my short stop and hop visit to Mumbai.
Excerpted from Wikipedia:
Mani Bhawan is located at # 19, Laburnum Road in the Gamdevi precinct of downtown Mumbai, acted as the focal point of Gandhi’s political activities in Mumbai between 1917 and 1934.
The mansion belonged to Revashankar Jagjeevan Jhaveri and the Mani family prior to that, Gandhi’s friend and host in Mumbai during this period.
It was from Mani Bhavan that Gandhi initiated the Non-Cooperation, Satyagraha, Swadeshi, Khadi and Khilafat movements. In 1955, the building was taken over by the Gandhi Smarak Nidhi in order to maintain it as a memorial to Gandhi, to his frequent stays, and to the political activities he initiated from there. The two-storeyed structure standing on the Laburnum Road is the city’s pride. The building, which is about 40 minutes drive from Taj hotel, was Gandhi’s Mumbai headquarters for about 17 years – from 1917-1934. Gandhi’s association with the charkha (Hindi for Spinning Wheel) began in 1917, while he was staying at Mani Bhavan. Mani Bhavan is also closely associated with Gandhi’s involvement in the Home Rule Movement, as well as his decision to abstain from drinking cow’s milk in order to protest the cruel and inhuman practice of phookan meted out to milch cattle common during that period.
As one walks through it, you can see many images and miniature models depicting various stages in Gandhi’s life, the room where his tryst with the Charkha began is situated on the 2nd floor. There is a bust of Gandhi as soon as you enter the museum, where people pay their tributes, a library stocking books on the subject and a life size cut out of Gandhi that stuns you for a moment..
The photo gallery below shows a few photos I clicked, while walking through Mani Bhawan, it was my personal encounter with the life and times of man, the world knows as Gandhi.
While I may not be someone who can read textbooks on Gandhi, it is Gandhigiri, the bhai-tapori version for Gandhiism that has charmed its way into my heart and also into Wikipedia! I recently noticed that there is a even a website on Gandhigiri, not to mention the series of non-violent way of protests this film inspired people across the nation and the globe to emulate.
In the age of Google, when not many may consider googling for Gandhi’s words of wisdom, except perhaps for preparing a speech on him on his birth or death anniversary at a function here or there, this movie reinforced the fact that one has to be creative with the mediums one choses to propagate the same messages (of Gandhi) with.
The movie entertains without being preachy, it makes you feel good, it gives me hope that no matter how evil, cunning and clever the world may be, I would survive in it and win it with my ways.
Today, almost seven decades after Gandhi’s death, his words of wisdom live on and continue to inspire generations, it is just that for many young Indians like me, the acronym has got changed, from Gandhiism to Gandhigiri!
So, now bole to Gandhigiri Zindabaad!