Gandhiji visited Maha government house only thrice, reveals documentary
The presenter, the Governor’s Media Advisor Umesh Kashikar narrates in an interesting manner the three times when Gandhiji was hosted by the then Governors of Bombay Province
The Father of the Nation, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, had visited the ‘Government House’ -- now known as Maharashtra Raj Bhavan, the stately official residence of the Governor -- during the British Rule, an official said here on Wednesday.
Reminiscing those three memorable occasions when Gandhiji had stepped in the Government House, the Raj Bhavan has released a 11-minutes documentary coinciding with the 81st anniversary of the historic ‘Quit India Day’ on Wednesday (August 9).
The presenter, the Governor’s Media Advisor Umesh Kashikar narrates in an interesting manner the three times when Gandhiji was hosted by the then Governors of Bombay Province.
The first visit was on January 14, 1915 when the young Barrister Gandhiji had just arrived here from South Africa after launching his epochal anti-Apartheid movement, and was already a ‘hero’ in his motherland.
The then Governor Lord Willingdon (Freeman Freeman-Thomas) was among the first dignitaries to welcome Gandhiji and then invite him for a formal meeting in the Government House.
The invite was sent through another legend, Gopal Krishna Gokhale who requested that Gandhiji should meet the Governor before departing for Pune as scheduled.
After that meeting, Lord Willingdon described Gandhiji as “honest, but a Bolshevik and for that reason very dangerous”.
Little did anyone realise that those words would be prophetic after Gandhiji intensified the Independence Struggle, and political stand-offs with the British Government and Lord Willingdon as Governor of Bombay (1913-1918), then Governor of Madras Province (1919-1924), and later as Viceroy and Governor-General of India (1931-1936).
The second time, Gandhiji came to Raj Bhavan on April 16, 1931, when the tenure of Viceroy and Governor-General of India, Edward F. L. Wood, or Lord Irwin, had ended and he was due to embark on a ship from Mumbai for Great Britain, for .
Incidentally, the duo had met a month earlier and signed the 'Gandhi-Irwin Pact', but this time, Gandhiji submitted a letter to him, addressed to the British Cabinet, addressing various concerns of India and the people of this country.
The very next day, on April 17, 1931, Gandhiji visited Raj Bhavan the third time for certain other official reasons and was received by the then Governor of Bombay, Maj.Gen. Frederic Sykes.
In the documentary, Kashikar has revived memories of those visits with the help of available references and research material from various sources.
Having some great anecdotes that would inspire the modern generations and afford a peep into the history in the making then, the documentary can be accessed at this link: https://youtu.be/HwILgRdZ0KA.
The most coveted address in the city, Maharashtra Raj Bhavan is sprawled across 50 acres of lush greenery on the tip of Malabar Hill, and steeped in history in all its nooks and crannies.
Since Independence, the Raj Bhavan has been the official residence of 23 Governors, including a sole woman – Vijayalakshmi Pandit (Nov. 1962-Oct. 1964) - and Ramesh Bais is the present Governor.
Flanked on three sides by the Arabian Sea, it boasts of a private beach, a rich flora and fauna within its precincts, imposing buildings, an underground bunker discovered in 2016 which now houses a Gallery of Indian Revolutionaries, old British era cannons, and other attractions.