Bombay now Mumbai, Capital city of Maharastra state always attracted many a job seekers from all over India. Mumbai is also known as a financial centre of India. It has also accommodated many large scale and small scale industries. Mumbai is also a cosmopolitan city. It is a hub of business activities and a centre of Bollywood. One can have a glimpse of many historic monuments like Gate way of India, many land mark buildings and places like Taj hotel, Bombay stock exchange, Marine drive, Hanging garden and many more. But a simple two-storied building located in the Gamdevi precinct, in South Mumbai called Mani Bhavan takes one to the journey of non-violence struggle to attain India?s Independence by our Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi.
It is a historic place where Gandhiji stayed and launched his non-violent moves like non-cooperation, Swadeshi, Khadi, etc.It takes about 40 minute?s journey from GateWay of India or Taj hotel to reach Mani Bhavan. It is said that Gandhiji stayed here for about 17 years, 1917-1934 for his path breaking initiatives on way to secure Independence from British. This building belonged to Shri Revashankar Jagjeevan Jhaveri, a friend of Gandhiji?s and a host during that period, and to the Mani family prior to that. In the year 1955, this building was taken over by Gandhi Smarak Nidhi as a memorial to Gandhiji.
Mani Bhavan is now converted into a Gandhi Museum. On the first floor is the auditorium. A stock of films and recorded speeches of Gandhiji are kept here and exhibited and played from time to time. On entering the Mani Bhavan one can find Gandhiji?s statue where the visitors pay their tribute to the man who fought the powerful Britishers, not with violent methods but with simple, yet powerful non-violent initiatives.
Therefore, Mahatma is remembered, respected all over the world and inspired many great leaders and freedom movements. Here is a huge library consisting of books, periodicals could be found. On way to the first floor there exists a large collection of many photos describing the various stages of the life of Mahatma. It is said that Gandhiji?s living room and working place has been preserved as it was, in the 2nd floor. Adjoining rooms houses 28 tableaux and photo gallery depicting various stages of life and events of Gandhiji.
Gandhiji was arrested here in Jan 4, 1932.
Among great international personalities who visited Mani Bhavan were the human rights activist leader Martin Luther King in the year 1950 and US President Barack Obama on his recent visit to India. It is said Obama was inspired by Gandhijis? non-violent path to lead India become an Independent state. Mani Bhavan authorities gifted two books and CD?s to him during his visit here and Obama also gifted his book to this library.
I too had an opportunity to visit Mani Bhavan, while I was employed in Mumbai earlier and now to show it around to the younger generation in my family. I found many visitors from all over the world visit here to know about Gandhiji and admire his achievements which are more relevant now than before in search for better solution which are non-violent.
It is time to preserve the legacy and fruits of freedom now ever than before.
??????????????? Stany D’Souza, Bajpe
Author: Stany DSouza- Bajpe