Be the change you want to see in the world

Posted on 25 March 2010    
Raj Ghat, the sight where Gandhi has been laid to rest marked by an eternal burning flame
© WWF / Hannah Chisholm
This quote comes from Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, commonly known around the world as Mahatma Gandhi or in India as Bapu. Gandhi was the political and spiritual leader of India during the Indian Independence movement, and since his birthday (a national holiday) falls on the 2nd October - shortly after my arrival in India - I thought it only right to pay my respects.

Raj Ghat was my destination, the site is a memorial to Gandhi and marks the spot of his cremation on 31st January 1984. Upon entering the gates I found it to be very peaceful and well maintained; a lovely refuge from the hustle and bustle of the busy road nearby. The spot where he was cremated is marked with a black marble platform written upon which is the epitaph Hai Ram, which translates to ‘O God’, believed to be his last words. At one end of the platform there is a stand upon which an eternal flame burns and this area is surrounded by a low wall. Visitors are permitted up to the wall but not past it and during my time there I saw some people going forward with offerings and using the location to offer up prayer.

It was very calming to walk around the lawns and there was beautiful music playing in the background to further set the scene. With the site being a Ghat - which normally take the form of steps leading down to a river - I had hoped to be able to see the Yamuna River from our view point but it was much further away than anticipated.

I also visited the National Gandhi Museum which houses some of Gandhi’s photographs and writings and has the added blessing of being free to enter. Within the grounds there is also a replica of the house where he used to live including his room complete with a mat on the floor for a bed, a spinning wheel and a small low table – he lived, and encouraged others to live, a very simple life. The museum contained loads of information and visuals all about his life and sculptures in the grounds depicting historic stories such as the salt march which took place in 1930. All in all it was a very inspirational day.
Raj Ghat, the sight where Gandhi has been laid to rest marked by an eternal burning flame
© WWF / Hannah Chisholm Enlarge

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