It was a great evening for the people of Chathrapatti and the Gandhiniketan Ashram community when the village rejuvenation programme was organized on 28th December 2005 at Chathrapatti Village. About 120 trainees and staff of the Ashram reached the village at 4.00 pm and started cleaning the streets and public places with the help of the local youths.The one hour work left the village cleaner and brighter. It was a wonderful scene to see the local youths joining the tribal trainees who had come to Ashram from far of places like Megalaya, the North Eastern State of India.

The local self help group women worked along with the self help group (SHG) women drawn from the tsunami affected coastal villages. This was one of the basic programmes of the Ashram since 1940. Since 1940, Ashram is the hub of the many such innovative programmes for creating vibrant village communities.

Chathrapatti village people received the young men and women from the ashram with affection. An elderly women greeted them in a traditional way by offering sandal paste and betal leaves. After one hour work the youths were surprised to receive cups of steaming herbal tea and plantain fruits from the local youths.

The temple ground was cleaned and kept ready for the prayer and village assembly meeting. The inter-religious prayer was used by Gandhiji as one of the powerful medicine for communicating love, peace and good will and to attract ordinary simple people for public work. This Gandhian tradition is still followed by the Gandhiniketan Ashram. The villagers of Chathrapatti were very much enthusiastic to participate in the prayer which was held in the temple ground. Inspiring prayer songs created a sacred atmosphere in the village. Youths, children and a large number of old women silently immersed in the prayer.

Prayer was followed by a meeting of village assembly. The village was known for the community spirit and enthusiasm for development activities. The leader of the community Mr. Velsamy initiated the discussion by narrating the past experiences with Gandhinikethan Ashram. He expressed his interest in strengthening the partnership for village development. Mrs. Lakshmi, the member of the local women self help group for self employment requested us to give training for women of the village in Income Generating Activities.

Dr. V. Ragupathy, Secretary of the Ashram responded to the requests and agreed to take up follow up actions. The activities could concentrate on developing youth, women and children. Activities like skill training for self employment, supplementary education for school children, periodical prayers and cultural events and forming SHGs for women can be taken up.

Mr. Rajendran, Principal of Kumarappa Institute for Rural Industries and Joint Secretary promised to take steps to give them all the help possible. The meeting was followed by a colourful cultural programme with a focus on women development by the trainees of Kumarappa Institute.


Students and staff of P.K.N. Ats & Science College visited various units of our Ashram on 31st December’05


Christmas was celebrated in the Ashram on 23rd December 2005. Sri.R.Rajendran, Jt. Secretary presided over the celebrations and the Paster of the children’s Home Kallupatti conducted Christmas prayer. The children of the Home gave cultural programme. Sweets were distributed to all the children.

MARHAZHI BAJAN ( DECEMBER 16, 2005 to JANUARY 13, 2006 )

‘Marhazhi’ Bajan was conducted regularly from 16th December’05 to 13th January 2006. Bajan started daily 5.30 A.M. from Gandhi Mandap and went round the main streets of the Ashram. In the evening Prayer a Teacher elucidated the meaning of Thiruppavai and Thiruvembavai.


Ashram General Body Meeting was held at Gandhi Mandap on 10th December. Smt.V.Meenakshiammal, Prof.R.Venkataswami, Justice K.Venkataswami, Dr.D.Paulraj, Dr.Kowsalya Devi, Dr.V.Sivarani, Dr.M.Seenivasan, Dr.V.Ragupathi and Sri.R.Rajendran attended the meeting.

As the Chairman Smt.V.Meenakshiammal and the Secretary Dr.D.Paulraj relinquished their posts, new office bearers were elected unanimously – Prof.R.Venkatawami as president, Dr.V.Ragupathi as Secretary and Sri.R.Rajendran as Jt.Secretary-cum-Treasurer for next three years. Justice K. Venkataswami, Mrs. V. Meenakshiammal, Dr. Paulia, Mr. T. R. Dinakaran, Dr. Kousalya, Dr. Sivagami, Dr. M. Srinivasan were elected as the members of the membership committee.

Gandhiniketan educational Academy was amalgamated with Gandhiniketan Ashram which was registered as new society with Reg.No.127/2005 and the new Bylaws were approved.


Fourth phase of training programmes were commenced in Dr.J.C.Kumarappa Institute of Rural Technology and Development on 7 th December. 30 Candidates joined training in various courses. One week training in Spices and Masala Powder Making was given to 35 Women from Tsunami affected area i.e.Thiruchendur from 22-29 December.


Sri R. Guruswami, one of the well known Gandhian Constructive worker who spent most his life in the development of Gandhi Niketan Ashram, joined the Ashram at the invitation of the founder Sri.G. Venkatachalapathy.


Sri. R. Guruswami

When the founder was asked by Sri O.P Ramamani Redidar to take up the rural development work of the Madras Presidency, he was looking for some one to shoulder the responsibility of running the Ashram. This was in 1946. It is at this stage he invited Sri.R.Guruswami whom he had met in the prison. Sri. R. Guruswami readily agreed and joined the Ashram as secretary of the Ashram. The journey that started in 1946 continued till his end.

It is to honour this great soul, his Centenary was celebrated on 9.12.05. The day started with a prayer at 6.00 am at Gandhimandapam. At 10 am a symposium was orgainsed on rural development. Eminent constructive workers participated. A good representation was there from the surrounding villages.


Dr. Markandan, Former Vice Chancellor, Gandhigram Rural University


Prof. M. P. Guruswami, Director,
Kumarappa Research Institute


Sri. K.M. Natarajan, President, Tamilnadu Gandhi Memorial Fund spoke


Dr. V. Raghupathy on Village Economy inthe context of globalisation

The function started with welcome address by Dr. D. Paulraj.Dr. M. Markandan Former Vice Chancellor of Gandhigram rural university presided. Dr. M.P. Guruswamy, Director, Kumarappa Research Institute, Dindugal spoke on “Thoughts of R. Guruswamy on Village Economy”. Sri.K.M.Natarajan, President, Tamil Nadu Gandhi Memorial Fund at Madurai spoke on “New opportunities for the growth of village economy”.


A participant during the interaction


A Section of the Audience


A Section of the Audience


A Section of the Audience

Dr. V. Ragupathy, Secretary, Gandhi Niketan Ashram spoke on “Village economy in the context of Globalisation”. The meeting was concluded by a vote of thanks by Mrs. Rajeswari, Headmistress, Gandhi Niketan Higher Secondary School.

In the evening a public meeting was held. Dr. D. Paulraj welcomed the gathering and he spoke on the good qualities of Sri. R Guruswamy. Justice K. Venkataswami presided. In his presidential address he lauded the great qualities of Sri. R. Guruswami and his contributions to the development of the Ashram. Later on Dr. Kousalya Devi, Managing Turstee of Gandhigram unveiled the portrait of Sri.R.Guruswami.


Justice Venkataswami delivering his Presidential address


Dr. Kousalya Devi, Managing Trustee,
Gandhigram Rural University unveiling
the portrait of Sri R. Guruswami


Dr. Karunakaran, Vice Chancellor,
Gandhigram Rural University, releasing the first copy of the book to Dr. Markandan


Dr. Karunakaran giving his address

Dr. Karunakaran Vice Chancellor of the Gandhigram Rural University released a biographical sketch of Sri. R. Guruswami titled ‘ A Gandhian Karmayogi” authored by Prof. M. P. Guruswami, Director Kumarappa Research Institute, Dindugal. Prof. R. Venkataswami gave a special address on the occasion.


Prof. M. P. Guruswami, Author of Biography on
Sri. R. Guruswami being honoured


Portraits of Centenarians associated with
Gandhi Niketan Ashram unveiled by
Justice K. Venkataswami


The dignitaries on the dais


A Section of the Audience

The author of the book Prof. M.P. Guruswami was honoured. The portraits of the following centenarians who had close association with the Ashram were unveiled by Justice K. Venkatswami.

1.Dr. G. Ramachandran
4.Sri. N.M.R. Subbaraman
7. Dr. Soundaram Ramachandran

2. Dr. T.S.S. Rajan
5. Sardar Vedarathinam Pillai
8. Dr. J.C. Kumarappa

3. Sri. A. Vaithyanathan Iyer
6. Sri. Thavasi Naidu


Dr. G. Ramachandran

Dr. G. Ramachandran was the man who gave name for the Ashram as Gandhiniketan Ashram. He was a tower of strength for all the rural reconstruction activities taken by the founder.


Dr. T.S.S. Rajan

Dr. T.S.S. Rajan was a mentor for the founder in his college days at the National College Trichirapalli. Later in 1940 Dr. T.S.S. Rajan laid the foundation stone for the Ashram


Sri. A. Vaithyanatha Iyer

Sri. A. Vaithyanatha Iyer who pioneered the Temple entry for Harijan’s at the instance of Mahatma Gandhi at Madurai. He was one of the founder trustees and a great source of strength for G. Venkatachalapathy in the organisation of the Ashram.


Sri. N.M.R. Subbaraman

Sri. N.M.R. Subbaraman popularly called as Madurai Gandhi was very close to the founder and he took a very active role in the Ashram from its inception he was the founder trustee and president for the Ashram for several years.


Sardar Vedarathinam Pillai

Sardar Vedarathinam Pillai a great freedom fighter declared open this Ashram in the year 1940 and his contribution to the growth of the ashram is very valuable.


Sri Thavasi Naidu

Sri Thavasi Naidu was an embodiment of honesty and sincerity. His attachment towards the founder and ashram was something unique. He is one of the founder members of the Ashram and single handedly conducted the Ashram activities when the founder was in the jail as a freedom fighter.


Dr. Soundaram Ramachandran

Dr. Soundaram Ramachandran – from the famous TVS family dedicated her life for the cause of rural reconstruction. She was one of the closeset friend of the founder and always gave encouragement to the activities of the ashram.


Dr. J. C. Kumarappa

Dr. J. C. Kumarappa a great Gandhian Economist who was closely associated with Mahathmaji spent his last 4 yrs at the Ashram. He came and settled down at the invitation of the founder and it was he who registered the ashram as a society in the year 1956. During his time several greatmen like Sri. Rajendra Prasad, First President of India and Sri. Acharya Vinoba Bhave visited the Ashram.