Within the coronary heart of Lucknow, as Hazratganj crossing’s traffic got here to a standstill at 11 am, a poignant second unfolded together with the customary siren in observance of Mahatma Gandhi’s martyrdom. Merely metres away, in entrance of the Gandhi Statue at Gandhi Sangrahalaya, three people, together with Lal Bahadur Rai, the secretary of Uttar Pradesh Gandhi Smarak Nidhi, steadfastly spun “Charkhas” whereas patiently ready for fellow residents to pay homage to the Mahatma.
However to their shock, there have been few takers. Expressing his disappointment, Rai remarked: “What number of even find out about Gandhi Sangrahalaya close to Shaheed Smarak, devoted to Mahatma Gandhi? It homes greater than 23,000 books on Gandhi or written by Gandhi. Ask folks what number of books on Gandhi they’ve really learn.”
The Gandhi Museum Sangrahalaya library, with a wealthy historical past of housing passionate and avid readers, now struggles to draw them. Rai laments the decline in membership, emphasising that even politicians who usually use Gandhi’s identify in their discourse fail to understand the challenges confronted by the library and the Gandhi Bhawan auditorium.
Rai mentioned: “There was a time when this library used to stay abuzz with readers, however immediately, the Gandhi Museum Sangrahalaya library struggles to draw readers, with solely three to 4 folks, and typically none in any respect, visiting in a day. We simply have 45 members, this was the quantity which used to return in a day at our library.”
Sudha Tewari, the librarian and a Gandhian, shared her sentiments, saying, “Gandhi’s books symbolize not solely revolution but additionally self-reliance, perseverance and dedication. Regardless of this, immediately’s youth appear disinterested in visiting the library even for analysis references is baffling.”
Nevertheless, Lal Bahadur Rai attributed this shift to the net studying habits of youths.
He mentioned: “Now we have the very best literature on Gandhi in our library, however immediately’s youth appear extra in the WhatsApp College. They imagine in different ideologies that are materialistic reasonably than Gandhi’s ideology. Analysis on Gandhi’s work has dwindled, and even college students are usually not turning as much as learn the books; youths are exhibiting little curiosity in studying the books obtainable on the library.”
On the highest of the sharp decline in variety of students and readers on Gandhi, the Uttar Pradesh Gandhi Smarak Nidhi faces monetary challenges after BSNL vacated its constructing, which was a major supply of earnings. Rai defined: “We have been receiving ₹3 lakh monthly as lease from BSNL, however now the constructing lies empty. To generate earnings, we’ve determined to transform it right into a visitor home, just like Kausani.”
He added: “Gandhi Bhawan auditorium, with a capability of 700 seats, costs simply ₹47,500. Nevertheless, because of monetary constraints, the seats haven’t been changed in the final 40 years. Pressing modifications are wanted, together with changing the off-colored false ceiling. The politicians are unaware of the challenges confronted by these working the library and the Gandhi Bhawan auditorium. We miss folks like Bhaiyyaji or Uday Khatri immediately who used to stay current in all our packages and work tirelessly for the maintenance of the place.”
Regardless of these challenges, the Gandhi Smarak Nidhi persevered, producing a wide range of merchandise akin to mustard oil, Neem soaps, khadi garments, agarbatti, mehendi and chyavanprash. Sadly, gross sales remained restricted. On the Lucknow centre, 24 people work tirelessly, preserving and selling Gandhi’s legacy amid monetary difficulties and shifting societal pursuits.
Gandhian and journalist Ram Dutt Tripathi highlighted the necessity to convey Gandhi’s concepts to the youth actively. He mentioned: “Ready for the youth and the frequent man to return and examine Gandhi shouldn’t be sufficient; as a substitute, there’s a necessity to take Gandhi’s concepts to them. A proactive engagement and outreach are required to bridge the rising hole between Gandhi’s rules and the evolving pursuits of immediately’s youth.”