The first task of the day was a very productive meeting with Mr. Girish Kaul [United States – India Educational Foundation (USIEF)] who gave me my Fulbright briefing.
With only a few hours before I needed to leave for the airport, I went to the Gandhi Smriti Centre, Gandhi’s last residence before he was assassinated. It was a very moving museum house and gardens. Quite peaceful! Amongst many displays on the ground level were photographs and famous quotes. One memorable quote read, “Woman is described as man’s better half. As long as she has not the same rights in law as man, as long as the birth of a girl does not receive the same welcome as that of a boy, so long we should know that India is suffering from partial paralysis. Suppression of women is a denial of Ahimsa [cause no injury].” This is as true for the U.S. as it is for India. Gandhi’s teachings are still so important and relevant. This Centre helps to preserve and educate about his message.
How wonderful, too, that I encountered a group of school girls touring the Gandhi Smriti Centre. A couple of very brave girls stepped out of line to say with careful articulation, “Good morning.” They were clearly practicing their English on me. I took a picture of the group in front of the “World Peace Gong.” They gave me hope for our world.
Another notable aspect of the visit were the creative artistic exhibits. The upper level of the building held displays of modern art themed around Gandhi’s life and message. One gorgeous harp, carved to represent Gandhi’s posed figure, was connected to a video projector. When one strums the harp, a different Indian freedom movement video plays. I saw one of children singing. Lovely. I could have spent an entire afternoon there but I knew I needed to catch a flight to Chandigarh and from there head to Patiala.