Gandhi Ashram Trust of Bangladesh
Mahatma Gandhi is a global legend, who is known throughout the world for his teachings of peace and tolerance. No matter what religion someone practices, the respect for Mahatma Gandhi and the general message he tried to deliver to mankind is honored till today. Many places that he visited became famous sites, monuments and museums, such as the Gandhi Ashram in India, where his message can still be heard. He travelled the world, and each destination has paid tribute to him in some way, as did the Gandhi Ashram Trust of Bangladesh.
In 1947, Mahatma Gandhi visited Noakhali, as a developmental and philanthropic foundation had been working with the local communities here in regard to rural development since 1946. This brought about the establishment of the Gandhi Ashram Trust that uses the Gandhian philosophy to bring upliftment, peace, and better living conditions for the rural communities. The trust was only officially founded in 1975, after Bangladesh gained its independence in the year 1971. Functions are held by the trust to raise funds for the development of rural areas. The Ashram was donated by Gandhi, as he intended it to be a shelter for women, but has grown into a complete NGO that now works with more than a hundred villages. Trust secretary, Jharna Dhara Chowdhury, dreamt of a museum for many years, which finally came to pass in 2000.
The Gandhi Ashram Museum is also sponsored by the trust, as Gandhi’s barefooted tour of more than sixty villages in the Noakhali region was an inspiration for all. The museum was opened not only to honor this humbling visit but to continue his message of non-violence and peace. This message was the centre of all Mahatma Gandhi’s preaching. The museum is located in three rooms within the Ashram.
The museum is extremely personal, taking an in-depth look into the life of Mahatma Gandhi through more than a hundred and twenty photographs, letters, newspaper articles and documents. Gautam Pal was commissioned to sculpt the bust of Mahatma Gandhi that is now the centerpiece of the museum, as this icon’s world, right up until his tragic assassination, comes to life throughout the building. The museum is also home to the clothing he wore while visiting Noakhali, as well as some of his ashes after his cremation. Mahatma Gandhi was an advocate for freedom and peace, a role model to many and a leader that inspired, and continues to inspire today.