Thursday , October 02, 2003
Thirdly, states 79-year-old Ranade, Gandhi had said, the place would work for the emancipation of women - because Kasturba’s samadhi was there.
‘‘My association with The Aga Khan Palace started in 1979,’’ she reveals. ‘‘I was with Acharya Vinoba Bhave at Pavnar Ashram. Many eminent Gandhians were there in a meeting discussing the development of the Aga Khan Palace at Pune - Vinobaji called me in the meeting and introduced me and said, ‘She has returned from Assam and now settled in Pune. She will take care of the Aga Khan Palace. Before this meeting, I had been to the palace only once,’’ states Ranade who has since been coming to the palace almost everyday.
‘‘During the internment , Gandhiji lost his two dear ones - Mahadev Desai passed away on August 15, 1942 and Kasturba breathed her last on February 22, 1944. Gandhiji had built their samadhis with his own hands using mud and dung. When The Aga Khan donated the Palace in 1969, he marbled the samadhis before handing over. Sir Richard Attenborough shot for Gandhi on the campus. Rohini Hattangadi played Kasturba and spent hours at Kasturba’s samadhi.’’
Despairing over the days when the palace started deteriorating due to neglect from the government, Ranade is happy with it now being declared as a protected national monument. ‘‘This will ensure that it will receive the attention and upkeep it deserves,’’ she says.