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Visit to a Sèväshram

by Jyotsna Kamat
First Online: December 15, 1998
Page Last Updated: November 01, 2016


The concept of  Sevashram (sae-vaa-shram : community service center) was started by Mahatma Gandhiji as a focal point of his epic endeavors against elimination of social evils such as un-touchability and poverty. I have considered it my privilege to have been educated in the Gandhian way and to have come across many social workers during my services with the Indian Government. I hence readily agreed to address an assembly of girls at the Sumangli Sevashram near Bangalore on the invitation of  The Gandhi Peace Foundation. It turned out to be a moving experience.

The Sumangali Sevashram (whose address is provided later on, if you wish to contribute to Gandhian way of social reform), is spear-headed by  Mrs. S.G. Susheelamma who gave up her public sector job (BEML) to devote herself for women's causes. It  started as a home for destitute women and has grown into a full-fledged sevashram, including primary school for rural children, a home for the aged, spinning and weaving center, offering classes in tailoring and knitting, a diary farm providing nutritious mid-day meals for 60 primary care centers. All the management  work I saw was being performed by able women.

The entire surroundings of the ashram are too good to be true. The cleanliness, dedication, busy girls and children moving about, I truly felt that Gandhiji's ashrams must have been just like this- bubbling with energy and enthusiasm, not forgetting the beauty of simplicity. Having started my career in Vanita Seva Samaj in Dharwad (1958), I have seen much of an ashram's activities, but to maintain the essence of Gandhiji's teachings and apply them so well in these days of mechanization and consumerism was a revelation.

I was initially asked to speak on Gandhiji and Women, but was  later asked to include the children. There were substantial number of men in the audience as well. I recollected my GBTC (Gandhi's Basic Education) days where I had to teach kids to make broom-sticks out of natural fiber, and earned the title 'The Broom-Stick Teacher' ! The kids got  a laugh out of that. I spoke about  Gandhiji's concept of dignity of labor and how we have adopted it in my own family. I narrated anecdotes from Gandhiji's life and the program appeared to be lively, because there were claps from the children again  and again.

This Sevashram is situated in Cholanayakanahalli, across Hebbal. The nearby villages do not have schools, and the small children walk all the way to the Primary school in the Ashram. Smt. Susheelamma is an extraordinary lady and is greatly loved and respected in the ashram. The organizers were so impressed by this 'Broom-Stick Lady', that she has been made an honorary member for Central Committee for Reforms of Rural Development! Anyway, it was a good exposure for my Gandhian way of training (GBTC).

If you wish to contribute to the Ashram, for the education of poor children, please send contributions to:
Sumangali Sevashram
Chola Nayakana Halli
R.T. Nagar Post Office
Bangalore - 560 032

See Also:

The author, Dr. Jyotsna Kamat is an accomplished researcher in Indian history, and a broadcaster. She lives in Bangalore, India. See her blog, Amma's Column Jyotsna Kamat

Mahatma Gandhi Album

Table of Contents

Biography Article
Man and Wheel _Picture_
Gandhi -Timeline
Churchill & Gandhi Article
Dandi March _Picture_
On Education Quote
On Jews Article
Autobiography Article
Gandhi & Women Article
Ask Gandhi  Q & A
"Leader Lead" _Picture_
Leather Puppet _Picture_
Gandhi on Gita Quote
Photo Quilt
Voice Clip Sound
Boy Gandhi _Picture_
As a Lawyer _Picture_
Day with Gandhi Slideshow
Visit to Sevashram Article
Gandhi by Laxman _Picture_
Gandhiji Quotes Quote
Radhakrishnan on Gandhi
Gandhi Cartoon _Picture_
Man & Wife  _Picture_
On Bhagat Singh Quote
ASCII Gandhi
Gandhi Rangoli _Picture_
Portrait _Picture_
Gandhi Stamps
Gandhi Painting _Picture_
Miracle Worker _Picture_
Alphabetical Index
Internet links
Satyagraha Article
Eulogy by Nehru Article
Gandhi Currency _Picture_
Hind Swaraj ArticleArticle
Gandhi Pictures _Picture_ _Picture_


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