Gujarat has ancient Lothal, and Dholavira, and with them, proof of being part of the civilized world right from when the world began to civilize. Since then, sons and daughters of this western province of ours have gone out to dark continents and to lands of opportunities and prospered everywhere. Gujarat is also where the Sabarmathi flows, and in Ahmedabad by that river is the ashram where another great son lived 12 years and preached his vision of true civilisation. When he left the ashram for the last time, in 1930, he went walking. He walked 241 miles. At the end of the quite brisk walk for a 61-year-old man, at Dandi, which is also in Gujarat, he made some salt and thereby defied the Salt Tax Act of the colonizer. It took a while for the empire to comprehend what old Gandhiji had set in motion. He'd squeezed a little salt in his hands, and he'd felt the crystals crush in them, and also perhaps he'd heard the first faint rumble of an empire starting to crumble. I spent five days in that state last week, two afternoons from among them at the Sabarmathi Ashram, watching the chiarascuro out from the verandah and from under the trees that surround it. An uplifting January breeze fanned my mind. I looked beyond the play of shadows and watched the blue river and the time that flowed down it, slow and sure. There were moments when the river seemed still, and time with it, and I’m savoring the remembrance of those moments, here now in Bangalore.
Below, a few pictures from the visit.