Wardha: Printed copies of a speech given By Mahatma Gandhi 84 years ago were circulated among visitors at the Bapu Kutir here to mark the birth anniversary of the Father of the Nation on Friday. The Bapu Kutir is a small hut where Mahatma Gandhi used to stay in Sewagram in Wardha district of Maharashtra during the freedom struggle. It has now become a tourist attraction and a place regularly visited by Gandhians.
After being closed since March-end due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the place was opened for visitors on the occasion of the 151st birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.
Every year, the Sewagram Ashram Pratishtan organises various programmes to mark Gandhi Jayanti, but due to the pandemic, it did not invite anyone this time and kept its events low-key. However, the ashram management decided to open the Bapu Kutir for visitors from Friday.
Secretary of the Ashram, Mukund Mhaske, said all COVID-19 guidelines are being followed in the premises after it was opened for public after more than 6 months.
“We are allowing only five persons at a time inside the Bapu Kutir. Visitors have to follow COVID-19 rules formulated by the state government,” he said.
The ashram used to organise a special event and invite hundreds of Gandhians and common people on the occasion of Gandhi Jayanti. But this year, the ashram management printed a speech which was delivered by Mahatma Gandhi on his first visit to Sewagram village, then known as Shegao, on April 30, 1936.
Later, Gandhiji changed the name of the village from Shegaon to Sewagram and told its residents he has come there to serve them.
District Guardian Minister Sunil Kedar unveiled the first printed copy of the speech which was later circulated among visitors.
Mhaske said, “Due to the pandemic, we thought there will be no visitors to the ashram on October 2, but now I am seeing that people are coming from across the county without any invitation or any formal programme.”
Many social groups are visiting Sewagram and organising programmes on Gandhi Jayanti, while a padyatra’ was also taken out, he said.
Gururaj Raut, a young social activist, said, “I joined a prayer meet at the ashram in the morning and later took part in a padyatra from the Gandhi statue near the collector office to the Bapu Kutir.”