The Champaran Satyagraha that took place in 1917, in Champaran district of Bihar, was the first Satyagraha Movement initiated by Gandhiji, after his return from South Africa to India, against the atrocities of British indigo planters on the Indians. The Centenary of the Champaran Satyagraha falls this year 2017 in April. Further the renovation of the first phase of work of the two galleries of the Sangrahalaya has been completed with new modes of display combined with audio-visual aids. In order to commemorate the Centenary of the Champaran Satyagraha as well as celebrate the inauguration of the newly renovated portion of the galleries a programme was organized by the Sangrahalaya at its premises on April 18, 2017.
A Panel Discussion on the theme ‘Relevance of Gandhian Thought in Emerging Trends of Modern Journalism’ at Press Club, Kolkata by the Sangrahalaya on March 21, 2017, 2pm onwards. The eminent speakers in the discussion included Padmashree Barun Majumder (Senior Journalist, All India Radio), Shri Sukharanjan Sengupta (Former Correspondent, Ananda Bazar Patrika) and Shri Snehasis Sur, (Chief Reporter, DD-News, Kolkata). The discussion was chaired by Shri Narayan Basu, Chairman, Gandhi Smarak Sangrahalaya, Barrackpore while the Welcome Address was delivered by Shri Pratik Ghosh, Director-Secretary of the Sangrahalaya.
The Sangrahalaya organized a special lecture on the topic “Gandhijir Sikshachintar Pariprekshite Bartaman Siksha Byabasthhar Mulyayan” (evaluation of the present education system in light of Gandhiji’s educational thought) on February 28, 2017 at its premises. The participants included 60 students and teachers of Ashok –Nilay Nivedita College of Education, Ullon, Ramlochanpur, South 24 Parganas. The Welcome address was delivered by Shri Pratik Ghosh, Director- Secretary, Gandhi Smarak Sangrahalaya, Barrackpore. Two eminent speakers were invited to deliver their valuable opinion on the theme of the lecture. They were Professor Ashok Kumar Mukhopadhyay, former Subhash Chandra Professor, Department of Political Science, University of Calcutta and Shri Swapan Kumar Chakraborty, Headmaster, Bhadrapara Gilarchhat High School, Raidighi, South 24 Parganas. Professor Mukhopadhyay, in his lecture stressed on the utility of Gandhiji’s idea of Nai Talim and Sarvodaya (welfare for all) whereas Shri Chakraborty emphasized on the significance of value education which was given so much importance by Gandhiji, for an ideal life. Finally, at the end of the lecture there was a panel discussion between the speakers and the participants where relevant questions based on the theme of the lecture were raised by the participants and answered by the speakers. The participants were provided a guided tour of the Sangrahalaya and shown the documentary titled Role of Barrackpore in the Freedom Movement of India after the lecture got over.
A symposium on Biographical Museums in promoting Economic Sustainability was organized by Gandhi Smarak Sangrahalaya, Barrackpore on February 11, 2017 at its premises. The symposium was organized in order to discuss in detail the challenges faced by biographical museums which includes economic hurdles as a major problem and proposals for possible solutions. The Directors/ Curators of several museums of West Bengal attended the symposium for exchange of valuable opinion. The museums included Rabindra Bhavana Museum, Visva Bharati, Santiniketan, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad Institute of Asian Studies, Kolkata, Bankim Bhavan Gaveshana Kendra, Kanthalpara, Naihati, Raja Rammohun Roy Memorial Museum, Kolkata, Bhaskar Bhavan Museum, Narendrapur, Gurusaday Museum, Joka, etc. The Keynote Address was delivered by Professor Atul Chandra Bhowmick, Former Professor. Department of Museology, University of Calcutta.
The Paribesh Bandhav Mancha, Barrackpore, an NGO working on generating awareness on the evil effects of environmental pollution amongst people, particularly in the Barrackpore and adjacent localities, for over a period of time, arranged an interschool exhibition of project works on environmental awareness at the premises of the Sangrahalaya on January 28, 2017, Saturday.
The All India Gandhi Museums’ Forum Meeting took place from December 16-December 18, 2016. This time the Gandhi Smarak Sangrahalaya, Barrackpore hosted the meeting. The participants were the representatives of different Gandhi Museums in India which included the National Gandhi Museum, New Delhi, Magan Sangrahalaya, Wardha, Gandhi Memorial Museum, Madurai and Mani Bhavan Gandhi Sangrahalaya, Mumbai. The meeting began on December 16, 2016 at 11am with the opening song being rendered by Smt. Sarbani Chatterjee, Librarian of the Sangrahalaya. Next the Welcome Address was delivered by Shri Narayan Basu, Chairman of the Managing Committee of the Sangrahalaya.
On October 2, 2016 Mahatma Gandhi’s Birthday was celebrated by the Sangrahalaya at its premises. The 19th Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Award was presented and the 18th Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Oration was delivered on the occasion. The Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Award is instituted to honour those engaged in Gandhian and noble society-enriching activities, etc.
The Chairman of the managing Committee of the Sangrahalaya and the Director-Secretary had the rare opportunity to meet the Honourable President of India at the Rashtrapati Bhavan, New Delhi on September 26, 2016 and discussed at length the Tentative Plan for the Celebration of 150th Birth Anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi in 2019.
On September 25, 2016 the Second National Level meeting regarding Tentative Plan of action for the Celebration of 150th Birth Anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi was organized by Gandhi Smarak Nidhi along with National Gandhi Museum and Gandhi Peace Foundation. The meeting was attended by different Gandhian institutions to discuss their tentative plan of action for the celebration of the 150th Birth Anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi to be held in 2019. The Gandhi Smarak Sangrahalaya, Barrackpore was represented by Shri Narayan Basu, Chairman of the Managing Committee of Sangrahalaya and The Director-Secretary, Shri Pratik Ghosh.
The Sangrahalaya participated and put up a stall at the fair organized by Naihati Bhagat Singh Society, at the Naihati Railway Institute Hall from September 23 to 25, 2016. The Mobile Exhibition Set Alokchitre Teen Mahajibon (three great personalities in photographs- Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore, Mahatma Gandhi and Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose) in roll-up standee was mounted at the hall premises and a stall was put up by the Sangrahalaya for selling its publications as well as the products prepared by the women who have received training for Food Preparation and Preservation for financial empowerment organized by the Sangrahalaya. The documentary titled Role of Barrackpore in the Freedom Movement of India was shown to the audience which was greatly appreciated.
A programme was organized by the Sangrahalaya to commemorate the commencement of the Satyagraha Movement by Mahatma Gandhi (on September 11, 1906), at its premises on September 18, 2016. A debate competition was arranged to commemorate the event the topic for which was Bartamane Gandhijir Satyagraher Pantha Punaray Prasangik Hoe Poreche. The students of the Departments of Political Science and Sociology, University participated in the competition. Four (4) students from each of the two departments mentioned above, i.e. a total of eight (8) students participated as speakers amongst whom four (4) spoke for the motion and four (4) against the motion. Professor Bhaskar Chakraborti, Centenary Professor of International Relations and Director CPWAS, Department of History, University of Calcutta acted as the Chief Guest at the programme. Professor Suparna Gooptu, Professor, Department of History and the Director, Gandhian Studies Centre University of Calcutta and Professor Sitanath Mazumdar, Professor, Department of Business Management University of Calcutta acted as the Special Guests as well as the judges of the debate competition. The students of different departments of the University of Calcutta participated as the audience. The team that spoke for the motion won the competition. Prizes were awarded to both the Winners as well as the Runners –up team.
The Director-Secretary of the Sangrahalaya was invited at the Assembly of Angels Secondary School, Barrackpore on Aug 23, 2016 to deliver a lecture on the Freedom Movement of India and the Revolt of 1857.The lecture received positive response from the students of the school.
The 70th Independence Day was celebrated on Aug 15, 2016 at the premises of the Sangrahalaya in a befitting manner. The national flag was hoisted by Shri Pratik Ghosh, Director-Secretary, Gandhi Smarak Sangrahalaya, Barrackpore at 9:30 am in the morning. The guests included the local senior citizens, distinguished persons of the area and members of different cultural institutions. After flag hoisting a ‘Sit and Draw Competition’ for children was organized by the Sangrahalaya 10:30 a.m onwards. The participants included students from the local academic institutions as well as the local art schools. The competition included three categories - Group A – age 5 to 8 years, Group B – age 8+ to 12 years and Group C – 12+ years to 16 years. Group A had thirty seven (37) participants, Group B had forty five (45) and Group C had twenty four (24) participants which implies that there were a total of 106 participants in the competition. The participants of Groups A and B could draw according to their choice while the topic for Group C was Swadhin Bharat O Amra (Independent India and Us). The judges included Sri Maichel Bose, Principal of Pranavananda Art Institution, Kolkata and Sri Debasish Mullick Chowdhury, renowned artist.
The Sit and Draw Competition was followed by the presentation of the life of Mahatma Gandhi in Animation for the audience and after the Film Show ended a performance of mime based on the theme of significance of Independence Day was put up by Indian Mime Theatre, Kolkata. The show was immensely enjoyed by the children as well as their guardians. Finally, at the end of the programme the prize distribution ceremony was held where the Guests of Honour included Shri Madhusudan Ghosh, Honourable MLA, Government of West Bengal, Shri Narayan Basu, Chairman of the Managing Committee of Gandhi Smarak Sangrahalaya, Barrackpore and Prof. Kanaipada Roy, former Professor, Mahadevananda College. Prizes were awarded to three winners in each category whereas consolation prizes were awarded to everyone. Certificates of participation were awarded to all the participants.
The Sangrahalaya organized a day-long Workshop on ‘Food Safety, Quality Control and Naturopathy’ for the schools at its premises on July 4, 2016 from 11.30 a.m.
onwards. The Workshop had three (3) sessions. In the Inaugural Session, the Welcome Address was delivered by the Director-Secretary of the Sangrahalaya whereas the Inaugural Address was delivered by the Chief Guest Shri Jyoti Chakraborty, Karmadhakshya, Zilla Parishad, North 24 Parganas. The second session included the deliberations and practical demonstrations on Food Safety and Quality Control of food used by the society in everyday life such as milk and milk products, fish, eggs, vegetables, adulteration by the use of food colours etc. and the third session consisted of deliberations Naturopathic treatment and yogic asanas for treating common as well as chronic ailments. The experts in the second session included Dr. Swapan Sur, Former OSD, Mother Dairy who spoke and demonstrated on ‘Food Safety of Eggs, Fish and Meat’, Shri Pranab Ghosh, Ichhamati Milk Union Limited, Government of West Bengal, whose topic for deliberation was ‘Safety and Quality of Milk Products’, Shri Mukut Roy Chowdhury, Former District Fishery Officer, Government of West Bengal who spoke on ‘Food Safety of Fish and Vegetables’, Shri Tridib Mandal, Retired Assistant Director whose topic for deliberation and demonstration was ‘Safety of Milk’ and Shri Subhendu Kanjilal, Director, SAAS, EW Trust who demonstrated on ‘Adulteration by means of Food Colours’. The post lunch session consisted of deliberation and Demonstration on Naturopathy by Shri Dhanasekaran, Principal, Burdwan Institute of Medical and Life Science. Finally, at the end of the programme there was a Panel Discussion which consisted of the interaction of the participants with the experts regarding questions on the different topics covered in all the three sessions.
A total of one hundred and eighteen (118) students accompanied by their teachers belonging to five reputed schools viz. Central Model School, Barrackpore, Sacred Heart Day High School (H.S.), Barrackpore, Manmathanath High School, Barrackpore, Kendriya Vidyalaya No.1- Ishapore and Nawabgunj High School, Nawabgunj participated in the programme. The programme was a big success generating awareness among the participants regarding Food Safety and Naturopathy.
The Sangrahalaya organized a programme for the senior citizens involving the mutual exchange of thought about the life and works of Mahatma Gandhi as well as their personal experiences about the Freedom Movement of our Country, at its premises on June 25, 2016. The inmates of the local Old Age Home Bholananda Bridhashram were invited to the Sangrahalaya for the programme. They were provided with a Guided tour of the Sangrahalaya and shown the documentary, titled ‘Role of Barrackpore in the Freedom Movement in India’ from the collection of the Sangrahalaya. A Notebook for their personal use, based on the life and activities of Gandhiji in photographs and text was released by the two senior most inmates from among the ladies and gentlemen. Finally, the inmates and the staff of the Sangrahalaya sat down for an informal chat that involved exchange of the experiences of the senior citizens about seeing Gandhiji in person, the Freedom Movement of India and other incidents of the bygone era. The response from the inmates of the Bridhashram was overwhelming and the programme was a great success.
The Birthday Celebrations of Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore was observed by the Gandhi Smarak Sangrahalaya, Barrackpore, on May 8, 2016, at its premises. A programme was arranged to mark the occasion which took place in the evening from 4 p.m. The programme was based on the theme ‘Tomay Notun Kore Pabo Bole’ highlighting the sweet and intimate relation between Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore and Mahatma Gandhi. The programme started with the garlanding of the photograph of Rabindranath and Gandhiji, by the members of the Managing Committee of the Gandhi Smarak Sangrahalaya, Barrackpore and other eminent persons present at the programme. A humble tribute was paid to Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore on behalf of the Sangrahalaya by the members of its staff with the item termed ‘ Amar Rabindranath’ based on the poem on Tagore by Subho Dasgupta and songs written by Tagore. A Musical Soiree based on the relation between Tagore and Gandhiji was performed by the cultural group Muktangan Sanskritik Samsthha from Barrackpore. Finally, a unique programme of kabir larai (a competition between folk artists of impromptu folk songs composed and sung on the spot based on a particular theme) based on the relation between Gandhiji and Tagore took place. The kabir larai was performed by SriRadha Krishna Tarja Samsthha headed by Kabiyal Jadab Chandra Mondal and his associates Kabiyal Mahadev Halder and Smt. Rama Halder and Dhol (indigenous drum of Bengal) player Sri Monoranjan Sarkar.
Various institutions come to the Sangrahalaya throughout the year for group visits for educational purpose.
• On February 17, 20 and 21, 2017 near about two hundred and forty (240) students of classes IV and V of Kendriya Vidyalaya (Army), Barrackpore visited the Sangrahalaya in three (3) batches of eighty (80) students (on each day) for an educational tour. They were provided with a guided tour of the Sangrahalaya and shown the documentary titled Role of Barrackpore in the Freedom Movement of India. Three of the teachers accompanying the students wrote positive comments regarding the collection of the Sangrahalaya. Smt, Dipti Bandyopadhyay wrote, “Enjoyed the trip with students.” Shri V.K Singh wrote, “Nice management and well decorated museum. Students became able to know many things about Gandhiji. They became very pleased with guide of this museum. Thanks to all employees of this Gandhi Museum. Thanks again.” Smt R. De Sarkar wrote, “Educative.”
• On February 9, 2017 about 180 students of Sanat Roychowdhury institution for Girls’ from Govindo Khatik Road, Kolkata visited the Sangrahalaya with their teachers for an educational tour. They were provided with a guided tour of the Sangrahalaya. One of the teachers Smt. Subhasree Sarkhel commented, “Very Good” on seeing the display of the Sangrahalaya.
• On February 6, 2017 near about seventy (70) students of Springdale Primary School, Kalyani visited the Sangrahalaya for an educational tour along with their teachers. They were provided with a guided tour of the Sangrahalaya and shown the documentary titled Role of Barrackpore in the Freedom Movement of India. Smt. Sudipta Saha, the Headmistress of the institution on seeing the display of the Sangrahalaya commented, “Very Good”.
• A group of 23 foreign tourists from U.K. came to visit the Sangrahalaya as part of their tour itinerary arranged by Department of Tourism. Govt. of India on 24.01.2017. They were provided with a guided tour of the Sangrahalaya. They were very impressed with the Sangrahalaya.
• About 200 students of classes I and II of The Assembly of Angels Secondary School visited the Sangrahalaya for an educational tour on January 19, 2017. They were provided with a guided tour of the Sangrahalaya. One of the teachers on seeing the display commented, “Well maintained!”
On September 29, 2016 forty (40) students and seven (7) Professors of the Departments of Philosophy and Political • • Science of Chandraketugarh Sahidullah Smriti Mahavidyalaya came to the Sangrahalaya for an educational tour which is part of their curriculum. They were provided with a guided tour of the Sangrahalaya and shown the documentary titled Role of Barrackpore in the Freedom Movement of India. On seeing the display of the Sangrahalaya one of the professors Mr. Md. Torikul Islam commented, “Very good!”.
• On September 16, 2016, a group of sixty (60) students belonging to the departments of History, Political Science and Hindi of Bangabasi College, Morning Session came to visit the Sangrahalaya with Associate Professor Ajeya Das. They were provided with a guided tour of the Sangrahalaya and shown the documentary titled Role of Barrackpore in the Freedom Movement of India. The display as well as the film show was immensely liked by the group.
• A group of 25 teachers from various Kendriya Vidyalayas in West Bengal came to visit the Sangrahalaya on June 6, 2016 as part of the PRT In-service Course organized by the Kendriya Vidyalaya No-1, Ishapore, 24 Parganas (North). One of the participants Smt. Jayanti Mukherjee, Principal, Kendriya Vidyalaya, Asansol wrote the following remark on seeing the display of the Sangrahalaya, “Very well maintained and excellent demonstration given.” (06/06/2016).
• Twenty (20) students of Douglas Memorial Higher Secondary School accompanied by four (4) teachers and one (1) non teaching staff came to visit the Sangrahalaya on July 8, 2016 on the occasion of celebration of Vanmahotsav and Environmental awareness programme. The Director-Secretary was given a sapling to be planted in the garden of the Sangrahalaya. Later the students and teachers were provided with a guided tour of the Sangrahalaya. One of the teachers Shri Rabi Sankar Ray remarked, “Outstanding “about the display of the Sangrahalaya. (08/07/2016)
• On Aug 23, 2016, seventeen (17) students belonging to class XII of Rishra Vidyapith came to the Sangrahalaya accompanied by their teacher Shri Dilip Prasad for an educational excursion which is a part of their curriculum. They were provided with a guided tour of the Sangrahalaya and shown the documentary titled Role of Barrackpore in the Freedom Movement of India. After seeing the Sangrahalaya, their teacher Shri Dilip Prasad commented, “Very informative and display are rare.” (23/08/2016).
The Sangrahalaya visited quite a few eminent visitors in this financial year the names of whom have been mentioned below.
• Shri Paritosh Roy, Secretary, Department of Rural Development, Government of West Bengal visited the Sangrahalaya on February 13, 2017 along with his friends and family. He was provided with a guided tour of the Sangrahalaya.
• Shri Vijay Dube, the General Manager, of Vijaya Bank Eastern Region, visited the Sangrahalaya along with his family and sixty four (64) employees of different branches of the bank, on January 22, 2017. They were provided with a guided tour of the Sangrahalaya and shown the documentary titled Role of Barrackpore in the Freedom Movement of India. On seeing the display Shri Dube commented, “Inspiring and humble experience- congrats and thanks to the museum officials for their excellent endeavours.” Mrs. Anjana Dube, wife of Shri Dube also commented positively regarding the display of the Sangrahalaya saying, “Very courteous staff and great experience on life and teachings of Bapu. Thank You.”
• Group Captain A. Tripathi, Station Commander, Air Station, Barrackpore paid a visit to the Sangrahalaya on Aug 04, 2016. On seeing the display of the Sangrahalaya he commented. “A great effort to keep memory of the Father of the Nation burning.”
• Debdas Datta, DG, Power Supply, West Bengal State Electricity Board paid a visit to the Sangrahalaya on August 13, 2016. His remark about the Sangrahalaya was, “Excellent.”
• Major General Ajay Seth from Barrackpore Cantonment visited the Sangrahalaya on August 23, 2016. On completion of the guided tour of the Sangrahalaya he remarked, “Very interesting and educative. Hope the history is preserved.”