37. The Life at Ashram
There was a hostel in the Ashram. Pupils from many countries came to study there. Some of them would try to learn spinning, some would learn weaving, or carding or some of them would learn to make ‘charkha’ in the workshop or some would come merely to study. The Ashram had a kindergarten too but there was no special teacher for it. The female inmates there used to run it. The ashram had a beautiful ‘Goshala’(a cow pen). It had cows of various breeds. A small tannery was also there. The jobs like skinning the dead animals, tanning the skin, making chappals’ (leather slippers) and shoes from it, were carried out there. Using the butchered animal’s skin in anyway was strictly prohibited there. The Ashram inmates used the footwear made from the skin acquired in a non-violent way. The Ashram had its farms too. All kinds of fruit bearing trees were there. Vegetables were also grown there. The farms yielded the grains and cotton. No labourers were engaged to work there. The chores were distributed among the inmates. They would work in the kitchen, on the farm, store water, clean the utensils, clean cowdung in the cowpens, clean the toilets, etc. The life at the Ashram was exactly like a beehive, busy at every moment. That is why Gandhiji called it ‘Udyog Mandir’ – a temple of work, and it was quite appropriate too!