The above photograph of Gandhiji was taken on his return to Bombay from South Africa in 1915. Thus, on Gandhi Jayanti day, if one has to remember places that bring out Gandhiji’s association with Bombay, the most important would be Mani Bhavan,now a memorial museum at Laburnum Road, Gamdevi that served as his headquarters from 1917-1934.
Bombay, a city in the forefront of the freedom struggle had attracted Gandhiji often and he used to stay in the city at the residence of Shri Revashanker Jhaveri’s Mani Bhavan. It is a two-storied building, with the ground floor housing a library and the first floor has a picture gallery and an auditorium. On the second floor, you can see the room where Gandhiji worked out of and also various photos, memorabilia and letters. It also has an exhibition on his life called Glimpses of Gandhi, which shows the important events in Gandhiji’s life in a mini-figures format. Mani Bhavan attracts many tourists but I wonder how many Mumbaikars have visited it.
These are some of the activities that Gandhiji carried out in Bombay
# In 1917, he took the first lessons in carding from a carder who used to pass Mani Bhavan every day.
# He learnt spinning here.
# The Satyagraha movement against the Rowlett Act was launched from here in March 1919.
# He took over the writing of two magazines Young India and Nava Jeevan in 1919.
# He lent support to the Khilafat movement from here in 1920.
# He participated in the funeral procession of Bal Gangadhar tilak from Sardar Griha to Chowpatty in 1920. His words " A great among men has fallen" are remembered by all.
# The decision to collect one crore rupees from the Tilak Swaraj Fund was taken and its start made here in 1921.
# He organized the boycott and bonfires of foreign cloth from here on July 31,1921.
# He was arrested from his tent on the terrace of Mani Bhavan on Jan 4, 1932.
# His last stay at Mani Bhavan was on June 17-18 1934.
Various statues Of Gandhiji exist in Mumbai, the most prominent being the one at Mantralaya. As all cities Bombay has an M.G. Road, in fact more than one. The most prominent being the one from Metro to Kala Ghoda. The others are in Goregaon (W) and Ghatkopar. Various organisations like the Bombay Sarvodaya Mandal at Nana Chowk spread his teachings and sell books on Gandhiji.
As I was leaving Mani Bhavan, I smiled seeing a banner on the opposite side on the road “Use Gandhigiri, For Peace and Harmomy”. Gandhiji is also being remembered at many of the theatres in Mumbai that are playing the film “ Munnabhai”.