I did not realize that I would feel so much sorrow, to be so emotional when I paid a visit to Mahatma Gandhi’s home in Delhi, India. This was the home in which he lived the last 144 days of his life before he was assassinated on January 30, 1948.
The Birla Bhavan, now a museum dedicated to Gandhi, is set among shady trees in a quiet suburb of New Delhi, on 5 Tees January Road. It is a haven of peace midst the incredible bustle of the city, the innumerable beggars and pavement vendors and hawkers forcing their wares on intrepid tourists.
The Smriti, or “Remembrance” is a beautifully laid out museum, with the room that Gandhi occupied with his meager belongings still left undisturbed.
A footpath tracing is last footsteps shows the way to the lawn where he held his last prayer meeting.
The Martyr’s Column marks the spot where Gandhi was shot at close range by Nathuram Godse. Godse, a Hindu, felt that the partition of India and Pakistan would have disastrous consequences for Hindus and Sikhs, and believed that Gandhi favored the Muslims in the process of partition. Godse had formed a militant Hindu movement, and decided to assassinate Gandhi with the aid of Narayan Apte. This was Godse’s second attempt to kill Gandhi.
The Museum is worth the visit, with multimedia displays and art work.
I left there feeling profoundly touched by the legacy of a man whose political journey had started in South Africa, and had sparked the resistance by the black majority to gain their rightful place in an unjust society.
May his Light continue to shine as a powerful example to us all.