Ensuring Gandhi’s story lives on

2016-06-29 06:00
PHOTO: file The ‘Gandhi Room’ at the Pietermaritzburg Railway Station will be ready in time to be officially opened by the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi early in July.

PHOTO: file The ‘Gandhi Room’ at the Pietermaritzburg Railway Station will be ready in time to be officially opened by the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi early in July.

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A PERMANENT Gandhi exhibition is being developed at the Pietermaritzburg Railway Station in what has become known as the Gandhi Room and will be ready in time to be officially opened by the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi next week.

The waiting room where the young Mohandas Gandhi spent the night of 7 June, 1893 after being evicted from the train, will be filled with exhibition material, and explain the significance and historical meaning of that room in the lives of Gandhi and Pietermaritzburg.

Deputy chairman of the Pietermaritzburg Gandhi Memorial Committee (PGMC), David Gengan said exhibition material is being prepared in Ahmedabad, India, and will be installed on 5 July, in preparation for the visit of Prime Minister.

“The exhibition is funded by the government of India, and the Gandhi Committee has just signed a MOU [Memorandum of Understanding] with the Indian government. The exhibition will contain information on the 7 June incident, and the impact it had on the young Gandhi. There will also be a biography of Gandhi, and quotations from world leaders on Gandhi.”

While the exhibition will be visual, it will also be interactive for visitors.

“The establishment of the exhibition at the station has long been an objective of the PGMC and we are thrilled to finally seeing it come to fruition. Visitors who come to pay homage at the Gandhi sites at the station will now also have the opportunity to get details of the incident.

“Gandhi credits this event as the start of his ‘active non-violence’, and the Pietermaritzburg Railway Station gave birth to Gandhi’s philosophy of satayagraha, which means ‘truth force’. This was the tool that was used to liberate India from colonial rule, and influenced other world leaders like Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King.”

The exhibition will be open to the public, and the PGMC is expecting local and surrounding schools to use it for history.

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