Aga Khan Palace in Pune to reopen today

Closed for revamp and restoration of the Mahatma Gandhi museum for over a month, the Aga Khan Palace here, where the Father of the Nation was under detention, will reopen from October 2.

Gandhi had a close association with Pune during the freedom struggle, and following the launch of the Quit India movement, Aga Khan Palace served as his prison from August 1942 to May 1944.

He lived there with wife Kasturba, secretary Mahadev Desai and Sarojini Naidu. Kasturba and Desai died in the Palace premises.

“The museum was closed for renovation in August after an order from the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). It will now reopen with some new features which will shed light on the life story of Gandhiji including key moments such as ‘Chale Jao’ agitation, ‘Dandi March’, and some speeches of Gandhiji in a new audio format,” said an ASI official.

He said there will also be information about his fasts, imprisonments and his letters will be on display.

“The life story of Gandhiji is so enormous that it is difficult to incorporate each and everything but efforts have been made to present some major milestones of his life in various forms such as text, documentaries, pictures and audio-visual features with the help of some modern gadgets,” he said.

Select documentaries will also be screened at the Palace, he said. There are plans to illuminate the monument to mark the 150th birth anniversary of Gandhiji, he added. The Palace also houses some personal belongings of Gandhi.

Spinning session, bhajans at Mani Bhavan

A spinning session and singing of bhajans will be organised at Mani Bhavan, where Mahatma Gandhi stayed while in Mumbai, on Wednesday to mark his 150th birth anniversary.

The day will begin with a khadi spinning session at 7.30 am followed by an hour of prayer and bhajans, Executive Secretary of Mani Bhavan Meghshyam Ajgaonkar said.

“At 5.30 pm we will host a lecture by historian Ramachandra Guha titled ‘Searching for Gandhi’,” he said. The National Gallery of Modern Art is hosting an exhibition of paintings with themes like Swadeshi, Ahimsa, Truth and Satyagraha.

The Sarvodaya Mandal at Grant Road in south Mumbai will attempt to draw children towards Gandhiji’s philosophy by organising poetry recitation, glass painting and singing competitions.

Yerwada jail inmates to sing bhajans

A group of inmates from Yerwada Central Prison in Maharashtra’s Pune city will recite ‘bhajans’ in the jail’s Gandhi Yard, where the famous ‘Poona Pact was signed, to mark the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi on Wednesday.

The pact was signed between Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar, Madan Mohan Malviya and other negotiators from the two sides on September 24, 1932 on reservation for ‘depressed classes’, in a bid to end the fast that Gandhi was undertaking in the jail.

Gandhi was protesting against the British government’s announcement of the ‘communal award’, which was considered as one of the means to divide and rule in India. After the pact was signed, Gandhi ended his fast.

“Gandhiji spent a considerable time in Yerwada jail during the freedom struggle. The famous ‘Poona Pact’ was also signed here under a tree. To mark the 150th birth anniversary of Bapu, we have decided to organise a series of events in the Gandhi Yard on October 2,” the prison’s prison superintendent, U T Pawar, said.

Gandhiji’s metal sculpture at Nashik school

A 25-foot high metal sculpture, which provides the viewer a glimpse of Gandhiji’s face in portrait form if viewed from a certain distance and angle, will be opened for public at a school in Nashik in Maharashtra on Gandhi Jayanti.

The sculpture, which is 20 feet in length and 18 feet wide, took six months to complete and will be open for public viewing every year on October 2 (Gandhi Jayanti), January 30 (the Mahatma’s death anniversary, Independence and Republic days as well as Teachers’ Day on September 5.

The artwork has been installed through 30 metal columns that have been cut to precision using lasers.

The sculpture will be on permanent display at the Espalier The Heritage School, an educational facility that claims to follow the Gandhi Montessori philosophy.

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