Mahatma Gandhi at Panihati
The Sodepur Khadi Partisthan has a special place in the life of Mashtam Gandhi and Indian Freedom Struggle. Sodepur Khadi Ashram which Gandhiji called his 2nd home and stayed here when he used to come at Calcutta.
Mahatma Gandhi inaugurated Kalasala at Sodepur Khadi Pratisthan which was near Sodepur Railway Station on a plot of 15 Bigha, on 2nd January, 1927 in presence of Pandit Matilal Nehru, Srinivas Iyengar, Congress president, Sir P. C. Roy and others. Three addresses, from Panihati Municipality, the Anti Malaria Association and another institution, were given to Gandhiji. His speech at the inauguration ceremony touched the 6,000 pepole gathered and still relevant to day.
He had visited Sodepur Khadi Pratisthan several times in 1939, 1945, 1946 and 1947. Gandhiji satayed at Sodepur crucial days before independence from 9th Aug’1947 to 13th Aug’1947 before moving to the riot affected Beliaghta.
Many top leadres of India had come at Khadi Ashram for discussions/ meetings: Subhas Chandra Bose, Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru, Sardar Ballav Bhai Patel, Sarat Chandra Bose, Shyamaprasad Mukherjee, G. D. Birla, Jamanlal Bajaj, Khan abdul Gaffar Khan, Sarojini Naidu, Shurabordi, Dr. Rajendra Prasad, Bidhan Chandra Roy, P. C. Ghosh and others.
There are many letters and comunications which were witten by Mahtama Gandhi at Sodepur.
He went to Panihati Mahotsab Tala Ghat or Gouranga Ghat from Sodepur Khadi Ashram on foot on 18th January 1946 and was shown the old Bata Tree, venerated by the Vaishnavas, on the bank of Ganga. He was also shown several things said to have been used by Sri Chaityanya there. Then Chairman of Panihati Municipality Sushil Krishna Ghosh and Phanindranath Mukherjee were the main organisers of the visit.
Khadi Pratisthan was setup by Satish Chandra Dasgupta, an expert chemist who was superintendent of Bengal Chemicals and Pharmaceutical works in Maniktala in North Calcutta decided to give up employment and setup an Ashram for spinning, weaving and materials of Khadi as well as other Cottage Industrial Commodities. He located his Swadeshi enterprise at a part close to Calcutta, from where his commodities would be marketed. This was the Khadi Pratisthan at Sodepur.