On October 2nd, the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, and a day when the world marks the "International Day of Non-Violence" celebrations for many often include a visit to Khadi India stores. The brand, popular for Khadi, the handspun cloth most associated with Mahatma Gandhi’s call for self reliance remains popular even today.

This year too, the Connaught Place outlet in Delhi, pulsating with customers and Khadi enthusiasts, buzzed with excitement. Khadi, an age-old fabric originating in India, woven meticulously by hand, boasts a history steeped in tradition. While primarily made from cotton, it can also be crafted from silk or wool. It is setting apart with its distinctive method of production involving manual spinning on a ‘charkha’ (spinning wheel) and handweaving on a loom. Today, Khadi serves as a potent symbol of India's cultural heritage and craftsmanship.

Khadi India, not limiting its celebration within the store, set up ‘selfie booths’ outside the entrance. Here, an unexpected shift occurred, the iconic image of Mahatma Gandhi was creatively replaced with that of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The PM was shown spinning the yarn. While many enthusiastically posed with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the background, others were not very happy..

Ramesh Yadav, a 47-year-old Khadi customer was of the view, “This isn't good practice. One must understand that Gandhi was the unparalleled Mahatma of this century and cannot be replaced.”

Renuka Singh, 37, from Delhi, captured her moment at the selfie point while expressing a different viewpoint. “Listen, I don't really care if it's Prime Minister Narendra Modi or Mahatma Gandhi in the background. Khadi and this yarn have become symbols of national pride because of Narendra Modi. So what's wrong with him being in the background and not Gandhi?” Singh asked.

Apart from the selfie point, two additional stalls outside carried the caption,"Naye Bharat ki Nayi Khadi" (The New Khadi of New India).

Meanwhile, NIKITA JAIN reports from Rajghat on the 154th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi:

that hundreds thronged the beautiful memorial dedicated to Gandhi. However, people were not allowed to enter the memorial, for a while, due to “security reasons” according to police officials.

Despite that people waited outside till the designated time to be able to pay their respects to the Father Of The Nation. Speaking to The Citizen, Ajay, a resident of Delhi who had come with his wife to visit the monument, said “Mahatma Gandhi holds a special place in the hearts of every citizen. Every child knows about him and that says a lot about his legacy.”

Political leaders also visited the memorial to pay their respects to “Bapu” (father), common citizens also made the effort to visit with their families. The environment was lively.

Keshavrao Thackrey had especially come from Nagpur to visit Rajghat. He sat on the lawns of the Gandhi Museum Garden, which is located opposite to the Rajghat. On the relevance of Gandhi, he said that it was the only hope.

A farmer, Thackrey said, “Whatever we are is because of Gandhi and everything will crumble if anyone tries to erase his legacy.” He said that the government has not done anything to ease the pain of the people. Dressed in a ‘Gandhi topi’, white kurta-dhoti and a

danda (stick), Thackrey looked like a replica of Gandhi.

The Gandhi Museum showcases the life history of Gandhi with old photographs with various journals about him available. However, the people inside the museum were left disappointed due to the lack of facilities.

The museum was filled with dry cement and debris in various corners with officials stating that it was being constructed. “Is this how you keep a museum dedicated to such a great man? We came here to give our tributes to Gandhi but were left disappointed. He

believed in cleanliness, but we can not even see it inside a mere museum, it is so disappointing,” Ashok, a resident of Delhi, who had come to visit Rajghat told The Citizen.

He said that the legacy of Gandhi went beyond a certain period of time and should be kept intact. “I think, both the Central and the state governments should take measures to do something about this. It is disappointing to come and see the legacy of such a great man crumble,” said Ashok referring to the debris..

Another visitor shared his disappointment with not being able to enter Rajghat. “On such a day as well, you are not allowing people to pay their tributes. I came from far away but they want me to wait for three hours in this heat to enter Rajghat,” he said.

Anamika, a Delhi University student, meanwhile said that the country has changed and issues like gender are not even looked at. “Gandhi has left such a remarkable history but look where we are currently. Basic necessities are not here and important issues are still overlooked. Gender violence and forceful marriages of women still take place but

there is no way to stop it,” Anamika said.

Meanwhile, Ramesh, who had come from Maharashtra’s Nashik to visit Rajghat and the Gandhi Museum said that the current India is not Gandhi’s India. “All these political parties use the name and ideology of Gandhi but no one in the country is following his footsteps. We are just crushing the ideologiy of Gandhi under our feet,” Ramesh said.

“It is imperative to read the real ideology of Gandhi and to follow it; that is how we will be able to move forward. The youth thinks that Gandhi has done nothing for the country, but it is such ignorant thinking. He shed his blood for the country,” he added.

Families sat near the statue of Gandhi, got pictures clicked, and enjoyed being in the beautiful gardens of Rajghat. A usually silent place, Gandhi Jayanti became the venue of a peoples celebration.