From the Archives: Interview- Gandhiji reveals why he chose Wardha for activities to revive rural industries
Mahatma Gandhi said,"Gujarat's too commercialised for doing spade work with a better prospect of success than elsewhere in this direction".
Mahatma Gandhi arrived here this morning. Immediately on arrival, Gandhiji granted an interview to the Ahmedabad journalists. Mahatmaji in the course of his talk said that plague had practically subsided in Borsad.
Being asked why he selected Wardha as the headquarters of his activities in connection with rural industries revival, Mahatmaji replied: “Because Wardha is in the centre of India and because it was in Wardha that I was able to get a rich piece of land with buildings and plenty of water worth over two lakhs of rupees-I speak under correction- and with nearly 700 fruit trees on land”.
"Wardha was selected because Seth Jamnalal was most anxious that the land which he had contemplated as a donation for Maganlal Gandhi Memorial should be taken up by the Village Industries Association and lastly because Wardha is half village and half town and my own desire and that of my associates was that the headquarters should not be selected in any presidency town. And then there was the additional attraction of Vinoba and his band of workers already trained for work at Satyagraha Ashram at Wardha.
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"These were sufficient inducements for all of us for selecting Wardha as the headquarters. I propose not to move out of Wardha as far as possible in order to work at the headquarters which might be developed in my presence.
"The idea was originally mine. It was advisable that the Chairman, the Organizer and the Secretary should be in close touch with me and that I should be available whenever any of them wanted to refer me in connection with the work of the Association. While we are in Wardha we meet almost regularly for half an hour every day except on Mondays."
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Gujarat “too commercialised”
Asked if he was dissatisfied with Gujarat, Mahatmaji said: "It is all wrong. It is a falsehood, if I may say so. On the contrary, it is not without considerable pain that I am physically cut off from Gujarat though in every other respect I am in constant touch with Gujarat."
Asked whether Gujarat was not better suited for the work of the revival of the village industries as he had already worked there for a long time Mahatma Gandhi said: "I wish I could have stayed here, but I am afraid Gujarat's too commercialised for doing spade work with a better prospect of success than elsewhere in this direction. Even the villages in Gujarat are more touched by that spirit than elsewhere."
The time fixed for Mahatma Gandhi's interview with Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan in Sabarmati Jail is 4 pm.