Juhu Cottage, Mumbai

Connection with Gandhiji 
Gandhiji stayed at the shack of Jahangir Patel, on Juhu Beach for 34 days, during May-June 1944 after he was released from Aga Khan Jail.

Background
After Gandhiji’s release from Aga Khan Jail due to health problems, he was advised to take rest and it was decided to take him to a place on the Juhu beach in Mumbai. Industrialist Shantikumar Morarji had a bungalow there. But it was found inconvenient for him. There was a shack in the compound of the bungalow. Owned by Jahangir Patel, the shack was made of bamboo, dried branches of palm and coconut trees. Doctors approved it for Gandhiji’s stay. Jahangir Patel agreed to host Gandhiji and he stayed in a nearby shack owned by Shantikumar.  Gandhiji arrived at Juhu cottage on May 11, 1944.

Place in history
• During his stay at Juhu cottage, Gandhiji commenced a fortnight’s silence from May 14 to have complete rest.
• Sarojini Naidu stayed in the nearby shack. She took charge of Gandhiji’s meetings. Vijayalakshmi Pandit came and stayed for a few days. Other members staying with Gandhiji were naturopath Dr. Dinshaw Mehta, Pyarelal, Dr. Sushila Nayar, Manu Gandhi, Abha Gandhi, Meerabehn, Amatussalam, Kanu Gandhi.
• Gandhiji visited the Bombay dock on May 19, where the huge blast took place five days ago in SS Fort Stikine carrying among other things gold and explosives. According to Shantikumar, who accompanied him, the air had the smell of burnt bodies and was full of debris scattered all around.
• Gandhiji started daily evening prayers on the seashore opposite his shack. It was attended by a large number of people from surrounding suburbs. He would walk on the beach after prayer. Sometimes he would sit in a chair right at the end of the shore dipping his ankles in the sea.
• After prayers, Gandhiji would give autographs for Rs. 5 to collect Harijan Fund. Many brought fruits for Gandhiji. They were distributed among the children after the prayer.
• Gandhiji listened to the music (bhajans) from reputed classical singers like Bade Gulam Ali Khan, Hirabai Barodekar, Manohar Barve, Leela Ghorpade, Chimanlal Shashtri, Padmavati Shaligram, and Vishnupant Pagnis during this period. He also watched two films on the insistence of some close associates: ‘A Mission to Moscow’ and ‘Ram Rajya’. He disliked them both. 

Site Address
Juhu Cottage
Juhu Road,
Mumbai, Maharashtra, India – 400 049

Additional Details 
• Jahangir Patel, an owner of the shack, was critical of Gandhiji in the initial phase of the movement. But his mind changed later on and he became an admirer of Gandhiji. He started wearing Khadi. Later on, he became chairman of Urulikanchan Nirsrgopchar Kendra. He also worked for the tribes of Thane district. • Shantikumar Morarji and Jahangir Patel presented Rs. 3,400 to Gandhiji, One Hundred Rupees per day of Gandhiji’s 34 days stay at Juhu cottage.  Accepting the money for Harijan Fund, Gandhiji joked, ‘Had I known about your gift, I would have stayed for longer.’ • Shantikumar once requested Gandhiji for the impression of his palm. Gandhiji refused to give it saying he didn’t believe in palmistry. When asked for a footprint, he did not agree as people might worship it later on. On second thought, he proposed to give a palm impression of one hand only if Shantikumar contributes Rs. 4 Lakh to Harijan Fund. Shantikumar did not accept the offer as it was too big an amount.   • Details about Gandhiji’s stay and Jahangir Patel are excerpted from Shantikumar Morarji’s memoirs in Gujarati penned by Swami Anand: ‘Gandhijina Sansmarano Ane Bjie Saambhrano’ (Balgovind Prakashan, Ahmedabad, 1963)

 

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