Museums are gateways to an alternative world or a wormhole to a future timeline. Museums are bridges between the present, past, and future, weaving a tapestry of human emotions and experiences across time. They house artifacts and artworks and preserve echoes of bygone eras, revolutions, and antiquities. The Gandhian Research Foundation at Jalgaon, Maharashtra, is one such institution that facilitates a hub for revisiting the past, Gandhian principles, dialogue, and research.

Situated in the sprawling Jain Hills in Jalgaon in the North Western Region of Maharashtra, the Gandhian Research Foundation is an international center for dialogue and the study of Gandhian Philosophy. The green complex is amidst the hilly landscape, hence making the entire structure noise-free and pollution-free. Inaugurated on 25th March 2012, by former President Pratibha Patil, the 65,000 sq. ft. sustainable structure was founded by late Indian entrepreneur, Bhavalal Jain.

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Gandhian Research Foundation_©MKGandhi.org

Building Design 

The design of the building is made of natural stone manufactured on site along with sun-dried fly ash bricks that were used for block works. The roof of the building is pre-fabricated and reduces the amount of concrete utilized for the construction. The artificial lighting system is provided indoors by installing RE that caters to 100% of external lighting demand and 60% of internal lighting demand. The HVAC (Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning) systems are designed to maintain thermal comfort depending on the NBC standards for design criteria. 

Gandhian Research Foundation is air-conditioned and equipped with multi-lingual audio guides for guests and tourists. The exhibition contents are provided in English, Hindi, and Marathi and tour guides take place for a span of 2 hours and 30 minutes led by experts of Gandhian philosophy. It houses a 2000 sq. ft vault that is specialized to contain climatic conditions, and fire by using pilfer-proof safes to safeguard the archives and documents in the institution. The museum is also enhanced with humidity control techniques and state-of-the-art technology for digitization. The residences for guests and researchers are accommodated within the facility itself. 

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The museum was inaugrated in 2012_©MKGandhi.org

The museum institution consists of audiovisual systems, virtual touch screens, and bio-scope which facilitate the 30 interactive segments describing the narratives on Mahatma Gandhi. The multi-media museum named Khoj Gandhiji Ki narrates the works of Gandhi by providing the visitors with insights into his contribution during the Pre-Independence and Independence eras. The visualization also facilitates as a medium to tackle contemporary and South Asian diaspora concerns for individuals. By imbibing the virtues of truth and non-violence, the museum aims to bring transformation in an individual’s thoughts and moral compass. 

Library Data Base

A library situated at the foundation is a resource base that is accessed by research scholars, who work with historic projects or work with themes on Gandhi, Freedom Fighters, or the Indian Freedom Movement. The data resource base is interdisciplinary since it deals with sociology, philosophy, politics, and economics apart from history, religion, and culture. The books are provided in multiple languages and the library offers a quite a,d congenial reading space for its users as well as informative facilities for quality study and research. 

An estimate of 10,000 books on the works and principles of Gandhiji is included apart from first edition books authored by Mahatma Gandhi. The photo archives consist of 5,000 photographs of Gandhi, 5750 photographs of prominent historic personalities, places, and events, associated with the Gandhi and Swaraj movement, and 4250 photographs of Vinoba Bhave. The resources also contain commemorative stamps from 120 countries apart from artifacts and utensils used by him at the 1936 Faizpur Congress. Coins, currencies, and medals are also testaments of Gandhi’s life and work. 

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Coins, currencies, and medals are testaments of Gandhi’s life and work _©MKGandhi.org

Academic and Soft Skill Training 

The foundation conducts an exam called the GVSP that is predominantly aimed at jail inmates, and the younger generation with the key values of human heritage, enhancing their ability to experience harmony in physical, emotional, and spiritual being with other living organisms. The interactive course is founded by the Academic Council led by prominent Gandhian practitioners and philosophers. The program is open to all and encourages students from middle school and high school along with college graduates to take up the course irrespective of being from the rural and small-town regions of India. Participants are asked to write, study, and reflect on the teachings, principles, and life of Mahatma Gandhi through the reading materials provided by GVSP. The contents and academic curriculum are annually updated. 

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The foundation also focuses on academic training courses based on the principles of non-violence and peace_©MKGandhi.org

The foundation also focuses on academic training courses based on the principles of non-violence and peace. The courses offered are a post-graduate diploma in Sustainable Rural Reconstruction; a Short-term Internship on Sustainable Development; an Annual Winter School on Gandhian Nonviolence well as meticulously organized training workshops on soft skills such as Peace Building, Conflict Transformation, Gandhian Leadership, and Stress Management. The institutions collaborate with universities in India and abroad to promote studies in Gandhian philosophies. 

In a world riddled with communal violence, injustice, corruption, and immorality, the virtues of Gandhi echo through the Gandhian Research Foundation.  The museum and research institute continues to invite visitors – students, the elderly, international scholars, and the common men to devote their time and effort to participating in Gandhi’s message of peace and non-violence.

References:

  1. Gandhi Teerth, Jalgaon (2013) | Gandhi Tourist Places [online] Available at: https://www.mkgandhi.org/gandhiyatra/gandhi-teerth-jalgaon.html Accessed on (24th September 2023).
  2. Teerth, G. and Hills, J. (n.d.). GANDHI TEERTH Gandhi Research Foundation. [online] Available at: https://www.mkgandhi.org/newannou/GRF-Profile.pdf  [Accessed 19 Sep. 2023].
Author

A design graduate passionate about poetry, photography and picturesque cityscapes, Irene is the happiest when she's around coffee, puppies or the beach. When not working on her wildly aesthetic photography page, you'll find her doom scrolling on Pinterest, scribbling on her journal and putting together many un(necessary) moodboards. Above all, she enjoys making a change in the people and spaces around her, one design choice at a time.