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Museum Galleries

 The Museum galleries are divided into three major sections, viz., “India Fights for Freedom”, “Visual Biography of Mahatma Gandhi” and “Relics and Replicas”.  Also a Philatelic Gallery on Gandhi is functioning in the ground floor.


Right at the entrance the first section entitled INDIA FIGHTS FOR FREEDOM is located with 265 illustrations displayed in 30 panels at the Dubar Hall depicting the history of the Indian Freedom Movement. A List of the content of this section is given below along with the titles:

THE COMING OF THE WHITE MEN-1498This depicts the arrival of the Europeans and the visit of  Vasco da Gama (European Seaman) and finally how the Britishers began to conquer and rule India through trade and pistol point.

THE CHALLENGE FROM TAMILNADU-1795This shows how warriors like Chinnamaruthu, Vellaimaruthu and Kattabomman resisted the Britishers and met with heroic death.

MYSORE RESISTS-1767In this panel we see the valorous fight of Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan with the British and the death of Tipu in the defence of his Capital,Sringapatnam.

THE SIKH AND THE MARATHA RESISTANCE-1775This depicts the first Maratha war (1775-1782), role of Khalsa and the first and the second Sikh War.

WAGES OF SLAVERYThis shows how Britain destroyed Indias indigenous industries, and imported raw materials without taxes and exported back the finished products to India with a very high profit.

THE VOLCANO ERUPTSThis panel depicts how the Volcano of discontent erupted. Also this pictures the wounded psyche of Indian soldiers in the East India Company.

THE FIRST SHOT-1857This panel shows the birth of the First War of Indian Independence and the declaration of the ageing Bhadur Shan as their Emperor by the rebels.

THE REVOLT SPREADSThis depicts the spreading of the First War of Indian Independence, the role of Nana Saheb and the remarkable, sacrifice of the lives of Indian patriots.

THE BIRTH OF THE INDIAN NATIONAL CONGRESS-1885This panel shows how the Indian National Congress was founded in Dec. 1885 at Bombay and its first President W.C.Banerjee, Secreaty-General A.O.Hume, G.Subramania lyer, Pherozeshan Mehta and others like Dadhabhai Naoroji, Govind Ranade, Sundredranath Banerjee, Each one distinct in his skill and dedication.

THE MODERATRES AND THE EXTREMISTS-1900This panel shows the different levels of extremists and moderates the information about the leaders of both groups.

THE PARTITION OF BENGAL AND THE AFTERMATH-1905This panel shows the announcement of Lord Curzon to bifurcate Bengal and as a result the Birth of the Swadeshi Movement.

THE CULT OF THE BOMB-1907This panel depicts how terrorist movements continued till 1918 in Bengal and all over. Also it shows how the movements like Anusilan Samitis, Jugantar, Mitramela, Abhinava Bharat Samaj and others spread the cult of using bombs.

THE LIMITS OF CONSTITUTIONALISM-1909This panel exhibits how the Morely-Minto reforms disappointed the Indian leaders, the birth of Musilm League and about stalwarts like Srinivasa Shastri, Sarojini Naidu, Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya, Annie Besant, Tej Bahadur Sapru, Mohammad Ali Jinnah and other leaders.

THE GANDHI ERA BEGINS-1915In this panel we see the return of Gandhiji from south Africa, the beginning “Gandhi Age” in Indian politics and the definition and explanation of Satyagraha (Nonviolent direct action).

THE MASSACRE AT JALIANWALA BAGH-1919This panel shows the passing of the Rowlatt Act of 1919 by the British, the prostest emerged throughout India and the rude massacre at Jalianwala Bagh, Amritsar.

THE CHALLENGES OF THE CONSTRUCTIVE PROGRAMME-1919This panel shows the need of the ‘ Constructive Programme envisaged and practiced by Gandhiji to liberate India not only in the Political arena but also in economic, social, education and spiritual levels.

TRYING TIMES-1923The coming of the royal Simon Commission to India to find out whether India is fit for Parlimentary democracy, the decision of the Congress in its Madras session to boycott the Commission and in December 1929, the demand of the Lahore congress for Poorna Swaraj (Complete Independence) are depicted in this panel.

THE SALT SATYAGRAHA-THE MARCH TO DANDI-1930–The description of the historic Salt Satyagraha which was started on the banks of river Sabarmathi and concluded at Dandi for breaking the Salt Law, and subsequently the nonviolent direct action demonstrated throughout the Nation including the March from Trichy to Vedaranyam in Tamil Nadu.

THE ROUND TABLE CONFERENCE AND AGFTER-193 1- In continuance of the Gandhi-Irwin pact, this panel shows Gandhiji’s participation in the Round Table Conference as a sole representative of India which became a failure mission but a grand success in making the people of England and the rest of the world to understand the Indian Struggle for Independence. Also it shows The Communal Award of the British in 1932 which gave sepreate electorates to the Harijans and Gandhiji’s fast unto death in prison against this attempt to separate the Harijans from the rest of Hindu society, the founding of the Harijan Sevak Sangh all over the country and the Harijan Temple Entry in Madurai Sree Meenakshi Temple, etc.

CONGRESS MINISTRIES AND THE AFTERMATH-1937This panel shows how the Congress won 85% of the general seats in the 1937 elections and how England involved India in the World War ll, the Congress protest, Gandhiji’s introduction of Individual Satyagraha in which Vinoba Bhave was chosen and the coming of the Lord Cripp’s Mission to India, etc.

QUIT INDIA-1942This shows the genesis of the historic Quit India Movement and how it side-tracked into violent ways.

TAMILNADU IN THE QUIT INDIA STRUGGLE-1942This panel shows the role played by Tamil Nadu during the Quit India Struggle, and violent activities erupted in different parts of Tamil Nadu.

OTHER VALIANT STRUGGLES-1942This shows the inception and operation of the India National Army under the dynamic leadership of Netaji Subash Chandra Bose and how it operated in the war field.

ON THE EVE OF THE INDEPENDENCE-1945 This shows the coming of the Cabient Mission the setting up of the interim Government, with the idea of carving out a Pakistan for the Musilms under the advice of Mohammed Ali Jinnah, the Musilm League opting out of the interim Government and the fast emergence of separatism.

INDIA BECOMES FREE – 1947 THE CONSTITUTION OF INDIA EPILOGUE – Finally these panels show how India became free as a separate nation and the Preamble of the Indian Constitution.



“I used to be very shy and avoided all company”

Birth  and  Education

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was born on 2nd October 1869 at Porbandar in Gujarat.  The Play of Harischandra captured his heart while young and this inspired  him  as  an  ideal  for  a  life  of  truth.   Misled  by friends,  he  fell  a  victim  to  meat – eating,  smoking  and stealing too,  but soon he  moved his father with tears of penitence  while  confessing  the truth.    He  and  Kasturba were wedded when both were only thirteen.  After Matric he  got  his  mother’s  permission  to  go to  London  (1886) for  study,  taking  the  pledge  not  to  touch  wine,  women and meat.  Living a simple life as a student he was called to the bar by the Inner Temple and returned to India to practice as a Barrister.

1894 – 1912

“I had gone to South Africa for gaining  my livelihood  but  I  found   myself  in  search   of  God  and striving for self-realization.”


Disappointed in his legal profession in India, Gandhi agreed to go to South Africa as a legal adviser to an Indian firm there. But he had to face many humiliation at the hands of the white race owing to colour discriminations in travel by train and coach and in the day to day life as all the Indian settlers there. He decided to consecrate his life in fighting for the whole Indian Community with the steadfastness in Truth and faith in God. Again, as a lover and servant of humanity he organised Ambulance corps to help the wounded during the Boer War (1890) and the Zulu Rebellion. Inspired by Ruskin’s book, “Unto This Last” Gandhi founded (1906) the “Phoenix” settlement for community life with the Sarvodaya ideal of welfare of the individual and society through manual labour and sharing. Convinced that God could be realised only through service of mankind, Gandhiji took the vow of a Brahmacharya for life.

1912 – 1914

” I saw that South Africa was no country for a self-respecting Indian and my mind became more and more occupied with the question as to how this state of things might be improved.”

Genesis of Satyagraha

Gandhi decided on a new weapon of Satyagraha to resist the South Africa Govt’s Asiatic Law (Black Act) to humiliate the Indian Community and the whole Indian Community followed Gandhi. Gandhiji was arrested for the first time in 1908. The Nonviolent movement gained strength and it became uncontrollable. Gandhi organised the Tolstoy Farm to shelter and help the volunteers and the families of the Satyagrahis. Breaking the prohibitory law Gandhiji led the great epic march of 7,000 workers mostly from the mines to cross the Transval border. Satyagraha continued for eight years till the South African Government yielded and issued Indian Relief Bill.

1915 – 1924

” Surely Swaraj through the spinning wheel can be the proposition of only a lunatic. But lunatics are unaware of their lunacy. And so I regard myself as one”.


On return to India in 1915 after the first World War broke out, Gandhiji went round the country for a year studying the conditions and meeting the Poet Rabindranath Tagore and all leaders. After founding the Satyagraha Ashram at Kochrab in Ahmedabad, Gandhi led the Champaran Satyagraha of peasants against Indigo Planters and the labourers by the application of Satyagraha (1918) and conducted the Kheda Satyagraha. Though as a loyal citizen Gandhi helped England by recruiting men for the army, the Rowlatt Act of 1919 disillusioned him and he called for a national hartal in protest. The Punjab tragedy and the Khilafat wrong to Muslims made Gandhiji start the noncooperation movement with the triple boycott and he called the nation to spin and wear Khadi for national freedom. Gandhiji was arrested (1922) and convicted to six years, but he was released after an operation. On the outbreak of communal disturbances, Gandhi fasted for twentyone days as a penance in 1924.

1925 – 1931

In my opinion, noncooperation with evil is as much a duty as is cooperation with good.


Gandhi toured the country to spread the message of Khadi, Swadeshi and Harijan uplift. The Satyagraha (1928) at Bardoli with “Non-tax” movement ended with a crowning success. Complete Independence was declared as the goal to be attained by December 31, 1929 at the Congress at Lahore under the guidance of Gandhi, presided over by Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru. The nation took the pledge of Independence on January 26, 1930 and Gandhi launched the Salt Satyagraha by marching to Dandi, 241 miles from Ahmedabad. Gandhi was arrested on May 5, 1930 and kept in Yerawada prison while the nation rose up and carried on the Satyagraha from one end to another. The Government yielded at the end and the Gandhi – Irwin Pact was signed enabling Gandhi to attend the 2nd Round Table Conference in London as the sole representative of the Congress.

1931 – 1939

“My Ambition is no less, than to convert the British People through nonviolece and thus make them see the wrong they have done to India”.


Gandhi stayed at Kingsley hall and had warm reception given by mill workers and he, in loin cloth, met King George. Gandhi stood for a united, free and non- communal India. The conference having failed, on his return jouney to India, Gandhi met Romain Rolland and Mussolini in Europe. Gandhi called the nation to resume Civil disobedience and again he and thousands went to jail. The Communal Award of separate electroate to the Hindus and Harijans by the British Govt. made Gandhi protest against it with a fast unto death. The fast ended soon with the Communal Pact signed by concerned parties; Gandhiji took up the Harijan movement through the newly formed Harijan Sevak Sangh (1933) and toured throughout the country.

1939 – 1945

“Our quarrel is not with the British People. We fight their imperialism. The proposal for the withdrawal of British power did not come out of anger”.


As the Second World War started (1939) Gandhi appealed to Britain and Hitler to stop the war and adopt nonviolence. Gandhi protested against India being involved in the war as a subject nation and he launched Individual Satyagraha through Vinoba, Jawaharlal Nehru, Sarojini Devi, Azad and others. Sir Stafford Cripps came with the British Govt.’s offer for settlement but Gandhi rejected it as a “Post-dated cheque.” Gandhi declared that the British should quit India and the Quit India movement was on a mass scale through out the nation from August 1942. Gandhi had to witness the tragic death of Mahadev Desai, his life long Secretary (1942) and Kasturba, his wife in jail (1944). Gandhi took up a fast to vindicate himself against the charge of the Govt. and he was released as his health deteriorated (1944 May).

1945 – 1946

” I am a learner myself, I have no axe to grind and whereever I see a truth, I take it up and try to act upto it.”


Gandhi went to Jinnah and talked for Communal settlement, but Jinnah’s demand for partition of India was non acceptable to Gandhi and the Congress. Gandhi toured again for the Harijans throughout the country. Hindu – Muslim disturbances broke out in Calcutta as a result of “Direct Action” of Jinnah for the demand of Pakistan. The British Cabinet Mission gave their propsal for the transfer of power to India. Jinnah’s demand for Pakistan was unacceptable to Congress and Gandhi. And therefore the political deadlock continued.’

1946 – 1947

“The work I am now engaged in here, may be my last act ….. My Ahimsa is being tried here through and through, as it was never before . . . . . “


Interim Government was formed with Jawaharlal Nehru as the Prime Minister and with other Ministers loss to life and property. Gandhi apealed incessantly for Hindu – Muslim Unity. Gandhi was greatly moved by the communal riots of Noakhali and he undertook the peace Mission of ” Do or Die”. Gandhi, though 77 years old, walked 116 miles through 47 villages devastated by communal violence and he restored peace and amity through his message. Gandhi’s success in restoring peace at Calcutta draw the euology of Mountbatten to Gandhi as ` one man’s boundary force.

1947 – 1948

” Death is a true friend. It is only our ignorance that causes us grief”. 29th January, 1948.


Divided India attained independence on 15th August 1947 and the free Indian Flag was hoisted. But on this day of liberation, Gandhi was at Calcutta silently praying, spinning and fasting in grief as the divided India sunk in communal bloodshed. It was not the India he was dreaming for. Daily Gandhi spoke on the message of communal unity at his prayer meetings. Apprehending communal disturbance he fasted for six day in Delhi till the communities jointly pledged to live in amity (1948 Jan). A bomb was thrown at his prayer meeting on 20th January without hitting any, but later hearing about it, Gandhi said that he wished to meet his end cheerfully with God’s name, if a bullet were to hit him. The very same did happen on 30th January 1948 as the bullets hit him. Thus did the mortal frame of Gandhi end leaving the world to mourn his death and treasure Truth and Love, the message of his life.

– 29 January 1948


An exact-size replica of Gandhiji’s hut in Sevagram stands midway between the gate and the main building of Gandhi Museum. This was the abode of Gandhiji from 1936 to 1946. From this hut he evolvd and conducted his manyfold constructive programme and took the historic “Quit India” decision in 1942. This will catch every eye unfailingly and numberless visitors will look at this replica of the “Hut of destiny” in the history of India. To stand inside the hut and look at the replica of articles used by Gandhiji is an experience surcharged with profound and reverential emotion. For countless visitors, without a chance to go to Sevagram, this will become increasingly a place of pilgrimage.

Gandhi Asthi Peedam

The Sacred ashes of Mahatma Gandhi is preserved here for the visitor to pay homage to the father of the Nation.


This is an Exhibition cum Inter-religions Prayer hall.


Khadi and Village Industries Centre is located here.


On request of group of visitors CD, Video shows are arranged here.


This is a big open – air theatre with a built – in stage and terraced seating arrangements for about
8,000 people. Cultural Programmes, Film Shows and public Meetings on special occasions are held here. Visitors will, no doubt, notice the simple but beautiful architechtural outlines of this construction.


The Research section is functioning as a full – time Centre at Gandhi Memorial Museum, Madurai, from Feb 1997 onwards. This Centre has undertaken Translation work, Documentation and Publication and
is organising Gandhi Memorial Lectures, Seminars and Conferences related to Research activities. `Book- Review’ meetings are held to cover the 100 volumes of Collected works of Mahatma Gandhi.


This Institute of Gandhian Studies and Research run by Gandhiji Memorial Museum came into existence from the Academic year of 2003 – 2004 as an approved Institute of Madurai Kamaraj University. The following courses are conducted through this Institute.

1. Certificate in Gandhian Thought (CGT)

2. Diploma in Gandhian Thought (DGT)

3. Diploma in Yoga, Meditation and Holistic Health.

4. P.G. Diploma in Yoga, Meditation and Holistic Health.

5. P.G. Diploma in Peace and Value Education.

6. Diploma in Inter Religions Dialogue.


Gandhi Memorial Museum is a living Institution carrying the message of Gandhiji to the general Public and the youth and thus bring them closer to the spirit and teachings of Gandhiji whose dreams have yet to come true and take shape in the Free India and the World.


“Tamugamu” which, in Telugu, meant a sports pavillion, a grand and of multi-pillared and arched structure supporting a central dome, which later became in Tamil “Tamukkam”, from which gladiatorial exhibitions – elephant fights and such like – might be witnessed, was first built in 1670 A.D. by Rani Mangammal.

Later referred to as “The Choultry called Fort defiance”, it became the outpost in the siege of Madurai in 1764.

The Nawab of Arcot who subsequently held sway over this part of the country presented the building in
1782 to Mr. Samuel Johnstone, paymaster of Madurai and it came to be known as “The Johnstoen House”.

In 1802, Mr. Hurdis occupied the palace as Collector and added three living rooms on the top of the central dome.

Several years after, on Johnstone’s successors in England claiming the property as their own, at a compromise, in 1839, the Government, in deference to the wishes of the earlier Johnstone that the building was to be “Converted into a place for native education”, agreed to found the now existing Madras University award called ” Johnstone of Carnsalloch Scholarships”.

The building was used as court house as well as the residence of the Judges till 1864 and remained vacant thereafter.

In 1877, the southern wing was added and the Collectors of Madurai, came into residence from 1882. It would be interesting to know that the first resident, Collector Crole was discharged from service for his pronounced pro-Indian sympathies.

With the handing over of the buildings by the Government of Tamil Nadu for the purpose of establishing the Gandhi Memorial Museum, on January 30, 1955, the north wing, the central dome, the stadium and other buildings were added to take the present setting.