PALAKKAD:The followers of Mahatma Gandhi believe there is more relevance now in upholding his philosophy, but the poor condition of the Sarvodaya Sangham at Paruthipra, near Shoranur, a tangible legacy, makes one ponder how much do we care for the Father of the Nation.Vanaja, last of the managers of the Sangham, left last January and now the 3.5 acres of land and buildings in it, donated by freedom fighter Naduvilpattu Mahadevamangalam Raghava Poduval alias Raghavji, lie neglected.
Raghavji, who had reached the Sabarmati Ashram in Gujarat in 1927, left the place after India gained independence, heeding to Gandhiji’s call to go and work in the villages and make them self-sufficient.
“Raghavji, who had inherited the land from his ancestors, assembled labourers to weave clothes, make honey and soaps. A mill was also set up to produce sesame oil before handing over the land and all facilities to the Sangham to run it,” said social activist Prasad K Shoranur, who added the activities there had been on the decline.“The land and buildings are there only because he had not handed over the ownership. Or else, everything would’ve vanished by now,” said Prasad.
Vanaja pointed out dearth of fund as one of the reasons for its plight.“Most buildings are in dilapidated condition. We used to collect clothes, honey and oil from various units under the Sarvodaya Sangham in the district and participate in Onam fairs. Until a few years ago, we used to sell products amounting to Rs 3 lakh annually. We are not getting any fund from the government for maintenance,” said Vanaja.Prasad said “at least the building where Raghavji lived in Paruthipra should be maintained by the government and used to spread Gandhiji’s ideals.”
Raghavji, who completed his studies in Kavalapara and Shoranur, was influenced by Rabindaranath Tagore and reached Santhiniketan as well. From there, he moved to Sabaramati. When Gandhiji undertook the Dandi March, Raghavji was one of the 78 followers and the lone Malayali. Subsequently, Raghavji was arrested and put in the Mambalam central prison in Chennai, with Subas Chandra Bose in the next cell.