This national memorial honours the virtues of truth, non-violence, unit and equality. The hallowed house, which treasures many cherished memories of the last days of Mahatma Gandhi now forms a part of our national heritage. The walls of the building reverberate with his message “All men are brothers”
Gandhi’s life and teaching have left an indelible mark on human history and the purpose of preserving this memorial is to foster and propagate his ideals.
On the morning of September 9, 1947, Gandhi arrived in Delhi from Calcutta to purge the city of the communal virus and to “do or die”. He planted himself alone, amidst the raging torrent and listened to the tales of woe of the embittered and the uprooted. He had stayed here several times in the past but the last 144 days of his life spent here are more important in the nation’s history. He has left a rich legacy of speeches and writings. The epic life of the father of the nation ended here on Friday, January 30, 1948. He fell a martyr to the bullets of the assassin on the prayer ground with Rama’s name on his lips at 5.17 pm.
The place originally the old Birla Bhawan or Birla House was opened to the public on August 15th, 1973 after the Government of India acquired the place in 1971. Through its collections and use of various interactive media the museum gives an insight of the lifestyle and ideologies of Gandhiji to the visitors.
The preserves include the room where Mahatma Gandhi lived and the prayer ground where he held a mass congregation every evening. It was here where assassin’s bullets felled Gandhiji. The building and the landscape have been preserved as they were in those days.
The Memorial consists of: (a) Visual Aspects to perpetuate the memory of Mahatma Gandhi and the noble ideals he represented, (b) Educative Aspects to focus concentrated attention on certain values of life that made Gandhi a Mahatma, and (c) Service Aspects to introduce activities in order to subserve certain felt needs.
On display in the Museum are photographs, sculptures, paintings, frescos, inscriptions on rocks and relics pertaining to the years Mahatma Gandhi spent here. The meagre personal effects of Gandhiji too are carefully preserved.
A larger than life statue of Mahatma Gandhi, with a boy and a girl holding a dove in their hands standing on either side, emerging out of the globe, symbolising his universal concern for the poor and the deprived, welcomes the visitor at the main entrance of the Gandhi Smriti. It is the work of the renowned sculptor Sri Ram Sutar. The legend at the base of the sculpture says, “My Life is My Message”.
A Martyr’s Column stands at the spot where the Father of the Nation was assassinated, commemorating the Martyrdom of Mahatma Gandhi as the embodiment of all the sufferings and sacrifices that characterised the long struggle for India’s Freedom.