JORHAT, Oct 2 - Commemorating Gandhi Jayanti, a local socio-cultural organisation Dikh, today organised a function within the premises of an erstwhile ashram set up within the campus of the home of a devoted Gandhian Deshpran Krishna Nath Sharma on the Sarbaibandha outskirts here.
Krishna Nath Sharma, who was a freedom fighter and a social reformer of early 20th century after being deeply inspired by Gandhiji�s call for removing untouchability started to embrace Harijans.
On April 18, 1934, Mahatma Gandhi, during his visit to Jorhat, himself formally opened a family naamghar of Sarmah for the Harijans which brought national attention to Assam. He was thereafter also known as �Harijan bandhu� among the common people.
Sharma, took part in the famous Dandi March along with Gandhiji. His son Late Kailash Dev Sharma later opened an ashram in the campus of their residence with a vocational training centre, which for last several decades has been defunct and the campus now resembles a forest.
Gaurav Borthakur, president of Dikh, told this newspaper that their organisation comprising a handful of youths, decided to organise a small meeting to pay tribute to the Father of the Nation at a place where an ardent follower of him (Gandhi) had started social reforms from his residence itself by opening doors to Harijans.
�We thought to organise the function within the campus of the ashram thinking that it will be a fitting tribute to Gandhiji and also an opportunity to remember Krishna Nath Sarmah, who was a great person who led by example,� Borthakur said.
He said that he and his friends after taking permission from few family members of the great man, cleaned the pathway of the campus and a meeting was organised in the campus of the dilapidated ashram.
Borthakur said that local people of the area along with a few family members of Late Sharma attended the function to pay homage to Gandhiji and also to remember the great Gandhian of the State.
Homage was paid before the photographs of Gandhiji and Sharma by lighting earthen lamps.
Haliram Bora, a noted academician and a local resident after paying tributes to Gandhiji for dedicating his life for the country�s Independence, spoke about the contributions of both Krishna Nath Sharma and his son Late Kailash Dev Sharma, Borthakur said.
Rajalakshmi Sharma Goswami, writer and grand-daughter of Krishna Nath Sharma, spoke about her grandfather and his contribution to the freedom movement and social reform initiatives undertaken by him (Sharma) at a time when society was much attached to orthodox traditions.
She recollected her grandfather�s efforts to elevate the oppressed and the poor throughout his life. She said he (Sharma) had opened 12 schools for the Harijans and also was responsible for prohibition of opium in Assam, Borthakur stated.
The meeting decided to urge the district administration by submitting a memorandum to undertake a plan to renovate and restore the ashram which has heritage value and also housed priceless items and materials related to freedom movement and social reforms carried out under Sharma�s leadership.
Borthakur said that family members of Sharma have agreed to hand over the site to any reputed voluntary charitable organisation who with or without government aid would like to restore the ashram as a museum or something similar.