New council to manage Gandhiji`s Sevagram Ashram

The ashram was recently in news for the reported theft of Mahatma Gandhiji`s pair of spectacles.

Nagpur: The Sarva Seva Sangh (SSS), an all-India apex body of Gandhian institutions, has set up a governing council to look after the day-to-day management of the historic Sevagram Ashram in Wardha district, set up by
Mahatma Gandhi.

The newly appointed council would help the Sevagram Ashram Pratishthan Trust, presently managing the affairs of the ashram, in administration and official work.

The decision to this effect was taken recently in the presence of SSS chairperson Radha Bhatt and other senior officials.

Sevagram is a small village, located about 8 km from Wardha. Mahatma Gandhi had arrived here in June 1936 and stayed till 1946 along with his wife Kasturba, where he set up the ashram.

In first week of August, reports about SSS` move to take over the affairs of the ashram has emerged, following a slew of controversies.

The ashram was recently in news for the reported theft of Gandhiji`s pair of spectacles. However, even though it was stolen in last November, the trust officials had allegedly kept the issue under wraps for about six months to avoid embarrassment. However, the theft finally came to light in June.

Sources close to the ashram said, that the newly-appointed five-member council comprises Bharat Mahoday, Ashok Bang, Kanakmal Gandhi, Ranjit Desai and Vibha Gupta. All of them are from Wardha. Mahoday was also on the panel set up by SSS to review the ashram affairs after the theft of spectacles.

However, some other office-bearers of SSS said, "The procedure is quite long and our meetings are still continuing. So the names of the council members cannot be revealed.

Deliberations are still underway to finalise names of the council members." A report submitted by the Mahoday-led panel had reportedly recommended setting up of a governing council for the ashram.

Radha Bhatt had also justified the decision to appoint a governing council stating that the ashram was in a sorry state and the theft of Gandhiji`s spectacles, was one of the examples of mismanagement.

Sevagram Ashram Pratishthan Trust president Madhao Gadkari said, that the newly-appointed council would help him in the administration of the ashram.

"The council members will work in tandem with the trust members," he said.

He added that the SSS had been entrusted with powers to select the Trust president as per the constitution. Sources said, a decision to appoint a council was taken at SSS` recent meeting in Uttar Pradesh and renowned Gandhian Chandrashekhar Dharmadhikari was requested to head it.

In the same meeting, SSS members reportedly sought Gadkari`s resignation for his alleged failure in apprising them about the stolen Gandhi spectacles.


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