When Gandhi Married Social Justice To National Cause During Padayatra In Odisha’s Kendrapada

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Kendrapada: Considered as one of the most important events in the country’s freedom struggle, Mahatma Gandhi had undertaken a padayatra in Odisha’s Kendrapada in 1934.

The Father of the Nation had addressed a large gathering at Dhumat on the banks of Brahmani river on May 30, 1934. In response to his call, a large number of people in the area had joined the freedom struggle.

Along with the national cause during the padayatra, Gandhi had also struck a chord for social justice by allowing Dalits to enter temples at some villages.

During his five-day stay in Kendrapada district, Gandhi was accompanied by Meera Ben, Gopabandhu Choudhury, Raj Krishna Bose, Rama Devi, Uma Bajaj, Binod Kanungo, Surendranath Pattnayak, Manmohan Choudhury and Jadumani Mangaraj among others.

The bathing stone used by Mahatma Gandhi during his visit to Dhumat in Kendrapada district in 1934 (Pic Credit: Local Wire)

Now 87 years later, the authorities have decided to set up a museum at the spot where the Father of the Nation bathed in 1934 during his historic tour.

“We have decided to convert the spot on the banks of Brahmani river at Dhumat village into a museum to remind people of the significance of Mahatma Gandhi’s padayatra in 1934. Eighty-seven years back, Gandhiji had visited Kendrapada to unite people against untouchability. His role in the freedom struggle will also be highlighted at the museum,” Kendrapada MLA Sashibhusan Behera was quoted as saying by The New Indian Express.

A khadi centre, photo gallery, library and conference hall will be set up at the museum. Tables, chairs and other furniture used by Gandhi during his visit to Dhumat too will be showcased.

According to old timers, locals have also preserved the stone on which Gandhi had sat while bathing at Dhumat.

Kulamani Das, an 80-year-old villager, said a pedestal and half-bust statues of Gandhi and Gopabandhu Das were built around the bathing stone. People worship the spot as they consider it sacred.

A thatched hut was also built at Dhumat in memory of Gandhi in 1938. However, it was damaged in the 1999 Super Cyclone.

 

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