INDIAN HISTORY: Indian freedom fighter Mahatma Gandhi and the entire Congress party working committee were arrested in Bombay by the British on 9 August 1942. Following their conviction, Gandhi and others were held for two years in the Aga Khan Palace in Pune and released on this day May 5 in 1944.
It was here in this historic palace-turned-jail that Gandhi suffered two terrible blows in his personal life. The legendary Indian palace is closely linked to the Indian freedom movement where it served as a prison for Mahatma Gandhi, his wife Kasturba Gandhi, his secretary Mahadev Desai and Sarojini Naidu.
Gandhi’s 50-year old secretary Mahadev Desai died of a heart attack 6 days later and his wife Kasturba Gandhi died after 18 months imprisonment in 22 February 1944 and then six weeks later Gandhi suffered a severe malaria attack. He was released before the end of the war on 5 May 1944 because of his failing health and given the fact that the British Raj did not want him to die in prison making him a martyr for an already enraged Indian nation.
The Aga Khan Palace was built by Sultan Muhammed Shah Aga Khan III. The palace was an act of charity by a spiritual leader of the Nizari Ismaili Muslims that wanted to help the poor in Pune that were undergoing a famine in the area. Now in current times, a special section of the Palace premises serves as a memorial dedicated to Gandhi and Kasturba where some of their ashes have been placed You may be wondering what are samadhis, well they are nothing but Tulasi aka holy basil plants growing on top of the places where Kasturba and Mahadev Desai were cremated.
Here are some other articles on Mahatma Gandhi that you may find interesting reads,
- Unlearning Gandhi, A South African Narrative click here
- Nathuram Godse, Why I killed Gandhi click here
- Racist Gandhi Statue To Be Removed click here
- Let’s Be Frank About Gandhi & Blacks click here