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Authorities also 'fully share' Gandhian values, clarify Sabarmati Ashram trustees

Feb 25, 2020: Kartikeya Sarabhai welcoming Donald Trump at Ashram
By Our Representative 
Trustees of the Sabarmati Ashram Preservation and Memorial Trust (SAPMT), sharply criticised for refusing to speak up on what is being termed by critics as the government move to take over the Ashram, have sought to dissipate the view that the “authorities” do not understand the values for which the Ashram stands.
In a rejoinder following the sharply-worded statement by about 130 prominent Gandhi experts, litterateurs, artists, scholars, jurists and activists who had termed the government move as the “second assassination” of Gandhiji, SAPMT trustees say, their understanding is that the values for which Gandhiji stood for are “fully shared by all the stakeholders including the authorities.”
The rejoinder – which does not carry signature of any of the trustees – says, “Trustees of the SAPMT have noted and share many of the concerns expressed by several citizens regarding the future of the Sabarmati Ashram and its precincts. In this connection it is to be noted that proposals for lifting the quality of this heritage environment have been under consideration for many years.”
It continues, “In connection with the most recent proposals just received by the Trustees from the concerned authorities, the trustees are in touch with the authorities on the components that have been proposed”, adding, “The trustees are committed to ensuring that the ethos and values which this space has communicated to the world for all these years is to be protected and enhanced.
The trustees claim, “By this we mean that the Ashram should always remain a message to the world which reminds all of us of Gandhiji’s call for attention to the last person, his ideas of simplicity, economy and frugality in all matters and his respect for nature and for each one of our fellow human beings.”
Elaben Bhatt
The rejoinder – sent to Counterview as an email alert by one of the trustees, Prof Sudarshan Iyengar, former vice-chancellor, Gujarat Vidyapeeth – ends by stating, “Our understanding is that these values are fully shared by all the stakeholders including the authorities with whom we as Trustees are in touch.”
According to the Gandhi Ashram website, the six SAPMT trustees are Elabehn Bhatt, founder of one of the biggest self-employed women’s trade union of India, Self-Employed Women’s Association, as chairperson; environmental educationist Kartikeya V Sarabhai, founder-director, Centre for Environmental Education, Ahmedabad; Prof Sudarshan Iyengar, Gandhian economist; Nitin Shukla, former managing-director Hazira LNG & Port Companies; Ashoke Chatterjee, former director, National Institute of Design; and Amrut Modi, a long time associate of the Gandhi Ashram, as secretary.

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