As India fights to contain the Corona Virus (pictured are temperature checks on visitors to the Bombay Stock Exchange) it has been announced that the historic Sabarmati Ashram (a former home of Mahatma Gandhi) will remain closed for visitors from March 19 till March 29 in view of the coronavirus threat, the trust managing the complex said on Wednesday. The ashram receives a large number of visitors everyday.
The closure comes almost 100 years after the great Mahatma Gandhi lay ill in this ashram – with the Spanish Flu (1918).
Sabarmati Ashram is located in the Sabarmati suburb of Ahmedabad, Gujarat, adjoining the Ashram Road, on the banks of the River Sabarmati.
I was there one year ago – a quiet, beautiful and emotional experience coming closer to the great Mahatma.
“All interest in living has ceased”, Mahatma Gandhi, battling a vile flu in 1918, told a confidante.
The highly infectious Spanish flu had swept through the ashram in Gujarat where 48-year-old Gandhi was living, four years after he had returned from South Africa. He rested, stuck to a liquid diet during “this protracted and first long illness” of his life. When news of his illness spread, a local newspaper wrote: “Gandhi’s life does not belong to him – it belongs to India”.
Fortunately for India and the world, Gandhi recovered. However, tragically the Spanish Flu killed between 17 and 18 million Indians.
Our thoughts are with India as it now battles to limit the Corona Virus – so far, all indications are that measures are succeeding.