Home

Sevagram

Click to enlargeSevagram is a small village near Wardha town (8 km). Mahatma Gandhi reached the village on the 30th April,1936 early in the morning at about 5 a.m. He remained here for about five to six days. He called the villagers and the purpose of his visit and sought their permission to settle down here. He had no intention to keep anybody with him except his wife Kasturba. However slowly pressure of work necessitated permission to more colleagues till Sevagram Ashram also became a full-fledged institution.

He was 67 years when he came to Sevagram. In those days the village was surrounded by forest on all sides. Snakes and scorpions were a common feature. There was only one footpath or cart track to Wardha. No post-office or telegraph office existed. There letters used to be brought from Wardha. There is another village in this region named Shegaon, made famous by the residence of Saint Gajanan Maharaj. Hence Gandhiji's letters used to get misdirected. Therefore, it was decided in 1940 to name this village as SEVAGRAM or the village of service

Ashram Huts

Click to enlargeMeera Ben (Miss Madelene Slade) was already settled in Sevagram before Gandhiji. At that time there was not even an approach road for the village. One make-shift road was soon constructed. A metalled road was constructed by the Government, when a Congress ministry was formed in the Central Provinces in 1937 under the scheme of provincial autonomy.

Gandhiji had put one condition for the construction of his hut (now known as Adi Niwas). Not more than Rs.500/ be spent on the hut and it be built with material available to serve food to inmates and then used to take his meals. He lived in one corner of the hut.

Bapu Kuti and Ba kuti

Click to enlargeSome sixteen from Adi Nivas hut, Gandhiji's disciple Miss Meera Ben had constructed a hut for herself and she used to teach spinning and carding to villagers in that hut. When the number of residents in the Adi Nivas increased, Gandhiji and Kasturba shifted to live in Meeraben's hut. Meeraben constructed one more hut on the eastern side for herself. However, later on she left this hut also for Gandhiji's office and shifted to a nearby village. These huts are known today as 'BAPU KUTI' and 'BAPU'S OFFICE'.

Click to enlargeKasturba had to live in Bapu Kuti in the midst of so many men. Looking to her difficulty, a new hut was constructed for her. Kasturba lived in this new hut with a few inmates and sometimes with occasional women guests. This hut is known as 'BA KUTI'.

When we look at this hut, we notice the true living art of Gandhiji's liking. The roof of this hut is covered with bamboos, mats and country mud-tiles. The walls are neatly plastered with white earth. Meeraben had decorated the walls with folk art symbols like Oum, palm tree, peacock and the Charkha symbolising God, nature, living beings and human activity.

Click to enlargeThe windows and doors are also made of bamboos and decorated with local designs. The village craftsmen prepare the palm tree mats, which are spread on the floor. The bamboo almirah hanging by the wall is a specialty. There is one shelf made of bamboo for keeping articles.

He used to sit on simple palm leaf mats. His office was also nearby. Next to him, his secretary Mahadev Desai or Pyarelal or someone else who would assist him used to sit. The visitors also had to sit on the ground. In Gandhiji's office hut a telephone installed at behest of the then Viceroy of is also displayed.

Click to enlargeGandhiji's correspondence went on increasing. Naturally, one Secretariat committee was formed to help him. Mahadev Desai was it's chief. Others were Pyarelalji and Rajkumari Amrit Kaur. More people used to help whenever needed. Replies to all the letters were invariably sent, sometimes in detail and sometimes in very brief, according to the importance and of the time.

Three Monkeys

Gandhiji used simple and clean but beautiful stones as his paperweights. But the monkeys of china clay were the best. These monkeys are like toys. They are sitting side by side. One has put its hands over its eyes; the second one over its mouth the third over its ears. Gandhiji used to keep these monkeys with him as if they were telling not to here untruth and to speak untruth.

Prayer Ground

Click to enlargeMorning and evening prayers are a part of life here. The place for community prayer should not be expensive. Such a should be freely accessible to all. Gandhiji created one such place here. It is the open space under the sky surrounded by bamboo lining. To keep the place dry and free of mud during the rainy season, it is paved with stones and spread over thick sand. Even today evening prayers are held here daily. After the prayer Gandhiji used to speak his thoughts on the Ashram problems or on some burning problem facing the country, or answer questions. 

Parchure Kuti

Click to enlargeOn the eastern side of Bapu Kuti and his office hut, lies Parchure Kuti. Parchure was asocial worker & Sanskrit Pandit, but was somehow afflicted with leprosy disease. In those days people used to shun leprosy patients. Therefore, Parchure was thinking of committing suicide. He came to Gandhiji. Gandhiji himself started nursing and cleaning his wounds. It is in this hut where Gandhiji served the leprosy affected Parchure.

Under Gandhiji's instructions Shri Manoharji Diwan devoted his whole life to this cause. He started an institution to serve leprosy patients near Sevagram viz. Dattapur village. Parchure then shifted to Dattapur and lived their till his death.

Mahadev Kuti

Click to enlargeMahadevbhai Desai was Secretary & very close to Gandhiji. He lived with family near Bapu Kuti in a hut called 'Mahadev Kuti'. Mahadevbhai had good command on English and Gujrati languages. He had a pious character. He died on 15th August,1942 while in prison with Gandhiji at the Agakhan Palace in Pune. His absence was deeply felt by Gandhiji. 

Kishore Kuti

On the northeastern side of Bapu Kuti one hut was prepared for Kishorebhai Mashruwala. He was scholar and studied Gandhian thought. He acted as a Secretary to Gandhiji for sometime. He was suffering from asthma. Therefore, the hut built for him is more comfortable and free from wetness during rainy season. This hut is called 'Kishore Kuti'.

Frontier Gandhi

Gandhiji   invited  Khan  Abdul    Gaffar   Khan   popularly  known  as  the   Frontier  Gandhi,  to come and live with him for sometime.  Gaffar   Khan  lived in the  Adi  Nivas.  The Frontier  Gandhi   lead a simple  life of an  Ashramite. He used to  serve  the sick  also besides  attending to other duties. Though  looking  to his   habits  Gandhiji   had   permitted  him to eat   meat  yet,  he never  ate any  meat  and  followed   the  Ashram  discipline.  He  lived   like  a villager  and called  himself   'A  Servant  of  God'.

Tukdoji Maharaj

In  the  early  days,  Saint   Tukadoji  Maharaj  lived  in the  Ashram  for  one   month. He  also  lived  in the Adi Nivas  with  Bapu.   After  returning   to  his  own  Ashram  he started  constructive   activities  in  tune  with   Gandhiji's   teachings.  He  used  to  pray daily   in  the  mornings  and  evenings. When  in  Sevagram   he  used to sing spiritual  hymns after the prayers. Many  villagers used to come to listen.

Eleven vows as a basis of the Ashram Life

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

Principles of Sarvodaya (Welfare for all)

      The good of the individual is contained in the good of all.
      All have the same right of serving their livelihood from their work.
      A life of labour of the soil and the handicraftism is the life worth living.

The Mad Rush

The people who are in the mad rush today, increasing their wants senselessly suppose that they are enhancing their importance and real knowledge. A day will come when they will exclaim, “What have we been doing?”  

One after another, many civilizations have risen, flourished, declined and disappeared and in spite of their big boast of human progress, I am inclined to ask; To what end all this? What’s the purpose? Darwin’s contemporary Wallace has said that despite the various discoveries and inventions during the past fifty years, the moral height of man hasn’t increased even an inch. Tolstoy has said the same thing. Jesus, Buddha, Prophet Mohammed all have said the same things.

Bapu's daily routine at Sevagram Ashram

Morning
4.00 Get up from bed  
4.20 Morning community prayers, Writing work or rest.  
7.00 Breakfast, Morning walk, Help in kitchen, latrine & Utensils cleaning, Vegetables cutting, grinding, etc.
8.30 Visitors, writing or reading work.  
9.30  Oil massage in the sunlight and tub-bath.  
11.00 In Lunch, not to take more than five items.
Noon
1.00 Correspondence, visitors.  
4.30 Spinning.  
Evening
5.00  Evening meals
6.00  Evening prayers (Prayers speech)
6.30 Evening walk for some time
9.00  Go to bed (after finishing ) 
(He used to complete his pending work on Mondays by keeping silence.)

Total stay of Bapu in Wardha

In Wardha, Seagram     -      2,588 days

Present routine of at Ashram

Schedule

Activities

4.30 a.m.

Wake up from bed

4.45 a.m.

Morning Prayer

5.15 to 6.30

Study

6.30 to 7.30

Cleaning, kitchen duty

7.30 to 8.00

Breakfast

8.00 to 10.30 a.m.

Agriculture or Kitchen work etc.

11.00 to 12.00

Lunch and cleaning of food grains

12.00 to 2.00 p.m.

Rest

2.00 to 2.30 p.m.

Community Spinning in Bapu Kuti

3.00 to 5.00 p.m.

Study and other work

5.00 to 5.30 p.m.

Evening Meals

6.00 to 6.30 p.m.

Evening Prayer at Prayer Ground

6.30 to 9.00 p.m.

Free time - self study

9.00 p.m.

Go to bed

Gandhi Exhibition and Yatri Niwas

On the Western side of the Ashram on the other side of the main road, the Gandhi Photo Exhibition depicts Gandhiji’s life through pictures. Next to the Exhibition is Yatri Nivas for the benefit of visitors. 

Other Constructive Institutions around Sevagram

      Gandhi Seva Sangh Sevagram
      Sarva Seva Sangh, Mahadev bhai bhavan, Sevagram
      Nai Talim Samiti, Ashram, Sevagram
      Brahma Vidya Mandir, Paunar, Wardha
      Maharogi Seva Samiti, Dattapur, Wardha
      Gram Seva Mandal, Gopuri, Wardha
      Magan Sangrahalaya, Wardha
      All India Krishi Goseva Sangh, Gopuri, Wardha
      Acharyakul, Gopuri, Wardha
      Khadi  Mission, Gopuri, Wardha
      Shiksha Mandal, Wardha
      Mahila Ashram, Wardha
      Gandhi Gyan Mandir, Wardha
      Shri Laxminarayan Devsthan, Wardha
      Goras Bhandar Maganwadi, Wardha
      Rashtra Bhasha Prachar Samiti, Wardha
      Leprosy Foundation, Wardha
      Central Village Industries Research Institute, Maganwadi (managed by KVIC) Wardha
      Charmalaya, Gopuri Wardha
      Pulses, Handpounding and processing Institute at Mahila Ashram, Wardha