The Birla House, or Gandhi Smriti, stands inconspicuously among other sprawling bungalows in the heart of Lutyens’ Delhi without any trappings of an important building even though it is far more important than any of its neighbours; it is not only the house where Mahatma Gandhi spent the last 144 days of his life, but also the place where he breathed his last after being shot in his own prayer meeting.
I reach Gandhi Smriti expecting it to be full of visitors: can there be a better time to go around Delhi than a winter afternoon? I also expect heavy security at the premises; but I find neither. A group of tourists – American and Japanese – and the working staff of the complex are the only people I see apart from the vendor selling tacky handicrafts and ice cream.
The wooden gates of the premises are wide open and…
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