Prashant Dayal, Ahmedabad: October 2, 2019, will mark the 150th birth anniversary of the father of the nation Mahatma Gandhi. The state and central governments have already spent crores of rupees in organizing events to commemorate the day. Many Gandhian institutes across the country too have begun preparations, but one look at all these exercises, it is visible that they are being done just for the sake of it and there is no life in them. But amongst them all, stands apart this one institute, where Gandhi still lives, Sabarmati Central Prison in Ahmedabad, Gujarat.

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, or Mahatma Gandhi was first arrested and jailed in this prison in 1922, and the cell where was kept is today known as Gandhi Kholi. The Kholi is located 25 metres left upon entering the prison premises from its large gates. The yard is called Gandhi Yard, where Gandhi was housed in one of the six cells of this yard. Almost all of the great men of the country from that time have spent their jail time in this 10X10 cell at least once. Gandhi might not be amongst us in physical form, but upon entering this Gandhi yard, one could feel the peaceful atmosphere inside.

The neem and bili tree right outside the entrance of the Gandhi yard seems like it is telling us about their encounters with Gandhi. The country remembers the father of the nation only on his birth and death anniversary, but at Sabarmati jail, the day begins by remembering Gandhi. The inmates of the jail would light a lamp in front of the statue of Gandhi placed at Gandhi Yard. They then sing Gandhi’s favorite bhajan, ‘Vaishnav Jan to Tene Kahiye’. There is no one to supervise this activity of the inmates, and there is no need for it too, as these inmates invoke Gandhi in the true sense, to become better human beings.

Before Gandhi Yard, there is the Sardar Yard, the place where Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel was kept in jail. Next to it are the Kasturba yard and the Tilak Yard. It seems as if the frontrunners of the freedom struggle back then are neighbors today. On the first floor of the gate is the prison office, where one of the windows opened straight into the jail. One could see everything happening inside the jail from that window. Noted Gujarati writer Zaverchand Meghani too had spent time in jail during the freedom struggle and used to work at the jail office. He had even written a book about the things he saw from the window, titled ‘Jail na Bariye thi’.

There have been many special activities happening in the jail premises from September 20 to October 2, and the inmates taking part in it are earnestly trying to understand Gandhi better and live his life. About 200 inmates will also give an exam on October two after studying the book ‘South Africa Satyagraha’. The inmates, who are away from their friends and families, have made Gandhi their company. While Godse killed Gandhi only once, we have been killing Gandhi every second of our activities. But here in Sabarmati Prison, the inmates have kept Gandhi alive.

Click here to read this in Gujarati. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for more.