January 2007
Sabarmati Ashram

My brother Sachin and I spent a quiet, thoughtful day at the Sabarmati Ashram in Ahmedabad.

When I worked in Johannesburg, my offices were close to where the Mahatma organised a field hospital.

There was a lot of respect for Gandhiji and his values - perhaps more so than in contemporary India itself.

the march to the sea to make salt, in protest at British tax laws

the grounds and gardens of the ashram are very peaceful

 

Gandhiji's life was a questioning journey, grounded in introspection
and constantly, uncomfortably, challenging himself.

I often find it difficult to live up to the challenges of Gandhiji's thinking, especially some of the austerity and self-denial.

At the same time it is amazing to realise this was a person living and reacting to the world of a century before.

We live in somewhat gentler times, yet some of the challenges Gandhiji raised are still as valid and perceptive as ever. He remains as far ahead of society as a whole now as he was within his own lifetime.

Ahmedabad specifically, and Gujarat in general, has seen awful Hindu-Muslim violence in recent years. This is covered up by the State government and also Gujaratis ourselves, unwilling to face up to anything negative about our homeland.

Hopefully a new generation will not perpetuate the same prejudices and insecurities as India develops.