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Gandhi Kutir at Sevagram


The concept of building Bapu Kutir was to lend ideas to the common mass to construct houses within the minimum of investment.

The Seva Gram situated in wardha is an ideal example of simplicity of community living, simplicity and cost effective abodes mainly intended for poor people. The Gram, in a way, is the pilgrimage for all the Gandhians. There would hardly be a Gandhian who has not visited this Gram christened as Bapu Kutir. The Mahatma led the independence struggle living here in the small Kuti. Numerous congress committee meetings were held here in which many decisions of national importance were deliberated. This Kuti is a supreme example of how using local materials, beautiful homes could be built keeping in mind the concerns of the aam adami.

The investment cost of this Kutir made as per specifications and directives laid down by Mahatma himself was then a mere 100 rupees per Kuti in 1933. In the course of construction of Kutirs, though the Mahatma did not live here much but even then kept close tabs on the ongoing construction cost, cajoling all the concerned people responsible for this project not to exceed the expense limit of 100 rupees per Kuti under any circumstance even when touring elsewhere. Later on, it was christened as Bapu Kutir<. Replica of Bapu Kutir adorns the space of Delhi Museum and around many places of tourist importance.

A fresh proposal has come up for making the replica of Bapu Kutir from Yusuf MeharAli Center of Mumbai. Introspection needs to be done over this proposal as it is estimated to cost a whopping sum of 30 lacks of rupees per kutir. The estimated cost includes the expenses to be incurred in buying furniture, fixtures and books. If the cost of furnishing is estimated to be approximately 10 lacks rupees, even then the construction cost alone would come around 20 lacks of rupees per kutir .

Yusuf Mehar Ali was a prominent personality during the independence struggle. His popularity could be gauzed from the fact that he was elected Mayor of Mumbai while he was still in jail. He later on formed the Congress Socialist Party. He died in 1950. In 1961, Yusuf Mehar Ali Center was established in his memory. Ever since, this center is working in the fields of village development, health, education and Bio- Agriculture.

In this back ground, it is pertinent to ask the question why at all the Yusuf Ali Center felt the need to construct a Gandhi Kutir at a huge cost of 30 lacks of rupees. If the cost since 1933 till date is conservatively supposed to have escalated by 100 times, the cost of constructing one Gandhi Kuti even at the present prevailing market rates comes down to one lack of rupees. To even think of constructing the same Kuti at a whopping sum of 30 lacks of rupees is a sin and a shame against what Mahatma had intended. The center instead should have come up with proposals of constructing the Kuti with the minimum possible investment costs following the ideals of Bapu. The Mahatma had envisaged construction of the Kuti on the simple premise that the not so privileged and not so fortunate could learn to build houses on minimum affordable costs.

Gandhi ji was a life long experimenter. He experimented in each and every spheres of life. Bapu Kuti was one of his so many experiments. Had this experiment been implemented at the national level, the multi storey buildings in cities would not have mushroomed creating a concrete jungle posing threats to the environs. The Kuti could also have killed the birth of the ugly apartment's culture requiring huge investment but no solace for its inhabitants. These apartment creatures are living a cursed life.

Yusuf Ali Centre has taken the decision that for the upkeep of this replica of Bapu Kuti, a corpus fund of a crore would be needed for they have appealed for donations. It has been said that this Kuti would not only spread the message of the special values among the citizens but also make them aware of the dangers of the global warming. Intentions are good, but what about encouraging the culture of wasteful expenditure? In fact, the menace of global warming is the result of the imitations of the western world's culture of useless production and undesirable consumption. It is the bounden duty of Mehar Ali Center to give prime importance to the economic options and simplicity; otherwise it will be seen to be working in contraventions of the wishes of Mahatma.

So many institutions have been mushrooming up in the name of Bapu since independence, but there seems nothing to vouch for what he preached and practiced. There are two types of Gandhians noticeable these days. One category is living lives as if they are still living in the old Gandhian Era. They still spin threads on Charakhas routinely. Most of them are connected and working with the institutions of khadi, khandsari and village industries. In fact, khadi was Mahatma's single symbol and a pet personal project among his many agendas aimed at self employment and self economic independence. If the culture of rapid development in the fields of employment and economic independence had not taken place, khadi alone would not have sufficed. It goes against the sentiments of khadi if a person wearing khadi spends a luxurious life.

In the second category of Gandhians, falls the persons who in the name of peace and non violence run big organizations of profits, fly by planes throughout the year, and are endlessly busy in self seeking pursuits amassing wealth and stashing black money in foreign Hawaians and Scandinivian Banks located outside the territories of their own motherland. It was another matter though, had they kept their black money in circulation within the country itself. The first type of Gandhians are the root of the Gandhian philosophy, the second types are engaged in international business and keep on sucking at the vitals of the nation's resources. There is no place for original Gandhians in such a scheme of things.

People have forgotten that there was a time when Gandhi ji had stirred the hornet's nest creating typhoon of cascading effects of a gigenetic magnitude, the tremors of which were felt not only in India alone but throughout the world, not merely by nonviolence but by his non violent resistance. Today's Gandhians who swear in his name are never known for any sort of resistance whatsoever. They actually defame Gandhi ji in reality by donning tilaks on their foreheads unabashedly.

The cost effectiveness of Gandhi Kutir is still viable for the Government to take initiatiatives in its implementation if it wishes to give some solace to the poor masses from skyrocketing prices of real estate


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