Mani Bhavan – A Fragment of Mahatma Gandhi’s Life

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Mani Bhavan

Updated on 1 October 2017

Here is where Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi resided between 1917 – 1934, whenever he was in Bombay (now Mumbai). Many of his historic movements like Non-corporation, Satyagraha, Swadeshi and Khadi movement have been initiated from here. The residence gets its name as it originally belonged to a Mani’ family and later to Revashankar Jagjeevan Jhaveri, a friend and host of Gandhi in Bombay during the pre-independence rule. Mani Bhavan has been a place of gathering for some of the key Indian leaders like Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, Subash Chandra Bose and Khan Abdul Gaffar Khan.

Mani Bhavan Residence

The external architecture of Mani Bhavan has still been retained. The moment you step feet in here, you are transferred into the past of India’s most important man. Pictures (mostly black and white) of Gandhi, Baa (his wife) and his friends and colleagues adorn walls of this tucked away residence.

Each level of the two storeyed house is beautifully designed to enlighten visitors on the life of Gandhi. The ground level has the reception and some photographs of young Gandhi. A library is present that houses a plethora of books on law (Gandhi was a lawyer by profession), his biographies and the journey of Indian independence. Often readers and Gandhians make themselves comfortable in the library and drown themselves in gaining knowledge about his life and way of living. At the entrance, there is a Karl Marx stone presented to Mani Bhavan by U.S. President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama on their visit in 2010.

Mahatma Gandhi with a young Indira Gandhi (Jawaharlal Nehru's daughter and India's first women Prime Minister)

Mahatma Gandhi with a young Indira Gandhi (Jawaharlal Nehru’s daughter and India’s first women Prime Minister)

The first level displays photographs of Gandhi with prominent leaders, his followers, friends and other established individuals from varied walks of life. The standout picture is of Gandhi with the handsome but rather unrecognizable Charlie Chaplin without his trademark moustache, hat and stick.

Gandhi and Charlie Chaplin (Centre)

Gandhi and Charlie Chaplin (Centre)

The second level presents Dioramas (miniature clay models) depicting important moments from Gandhi’s life during pre-independence and post independence including his assassination.

The room with Gandhi's famous Charkha

Gandhi’s famous Charkha. Alongside, are his chappals, his stick and a few of his vessels on display

The entire Gandhian experience can be captured with your lens as photography is allowed. If you’d like to shop, a small section on the first floor is dedicated to exhibiting Khadi cloth (which Gandhi always propagated). The shop is very reasonbly priced.

Journey of the Indian National flagIt was surprising to find only one cop on-duty at Mani Bhavan considering the place holds historic value. Neither were we frisked nor our baggage checked. In spite of its prime location down town, it was disappointing to see Mani Bhavan flocked solely by Gandhi followers and international tourists. But this shouldn’t deter you from visiting the place. Mani Bhavan provides a nice insight into the life of a man who fought for Indian Independence. Even astonishing is the fact that he chose to fight non-violently.

How to get here and other things to know

  • Address: #19 Laburnum road, Gamdevi, near August Kranti Maidan, Grant road, Mumbai
  • The Museum is open on all days from 9:30 to 6 pm
  • Entry to Mani Bhavan is free

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Edwina D'souza

Read write watch, 2 left hands and feet, recluse, gazer and occasionally suffer from wanderlust syndrome!!

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