Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Two Gandhis


Today we spent several hours touring two Gandhi museums: the Indira Gandhi Memorial Museum and the Gandhi Smriti.

The first is located in Indira Gandhi’s former home in a lovely section of Delhi near the seat of government. In addition to hundreds of well-captioned photographs, newspaper clippings, and gifts from foreign dignitaries, we saw the blood stained sari she was wearing when she was gunned down by her bodyguards in her garden in 1984. The path she was walking down is now covered with a crystal surface with a clear glass portion showing where she fell.

Part of the museum is devoted to her son Rajiv who became prime minister after his mother was assassinated. He too lost his life in a terrorist bombing in 1991 and the remains of the clothes and shoes he was wearing is on display. Very sobering stuff.

The Gandhi Smriti is a memorial to Mahatma Gandhi, the father of independent India. It was here that he spent the last 144 days of his life before being shot to death as he walked to pray with many of his followers. We followed a path of concrete footsteps to the spot where he lost his life in 1948. The extensive and detailed museum finally gave us Gandhi overload (four hours of museums will do that to you) before we headed back to the hotel. It was interesting and informative day.