Ahmedabad (Gujarat), Feb 24, 2020-
US President Donald Trump penned about Prime Minister Narendra Modi as his “great friend” in the Sabarmati Ashram’s visitors’ book during his short trip there on his maiden visit to India on Monday afternoon, but did not mention Mahatma Gandhi for whom the place is famous across the world.
“To my great friend Prime Minister Modi, thank you for this wonderful visit,” Trump wrote in the visitor’s book after his 15-minute stay at the Ashram which is located at the Sabarmati river front.
The US President, First Lady Melania Trump along with Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Sabarmati Ashram at 12.30 p.m. on Monday soon after he arrived at the Ahmedabad airport from Washington.
Trump halted at Sabarmati during a roadshow from the airport to the Ashram which was a part of ‘Namaste India’ event organised here at Motera cricket stadium to greet him. Thousands of people along the way greeted the US President’s the cavalcade.
Trump and the First Lady paid tributes to Mahatma Gandhi at the Sabarmati Ashram where the US President spent the maximum time at “Hriday Kunj”, where Mahatma Gandhi stayed for 13 years along with his wife Kasturba Gandhi between June 1917 and March 12, 1930 — the day he organised famous Dandi march along with 78 Ashram residents.
He went to Gandhi’s room during the brief stay here and spun ‘charkha’ briefly. Workers from the Sabarmati Ashram gave them a demonstration of the Charkha and how Mahatma Gandhi used the wheel to weave.
Trump and the First Lady were welcomed with garlands on reaching the Ashram following which Prime Minister Modi took them around the place. He showed them ‘Hriday Kunj’, a room inside the Ashram where Gandhiji and his wife Kasturba lived during India’s freedom struggle. He further explained the importance of this place during the period.
Modi also gifted a statue of “Three Wise Monkeys”, a larger version of one belonging to Mahatma Gandhi, as a memento to the US President.
Trump was accompanied by daughter Ivanka, son-in-law Jared Kushner and the top brass of his administration as well as a US delegation.
Trump got a “sand carpet” welcome in place of red carpet as per the guidelines of the Ashram.
The US President also offered a “Sutmala” on the photograph of Mahatma Gandhi at the Ashram after which Prime Minister briefed him about “Hriday Kunj” and introduced a sizable collection of manuscripts of Gandhi’s writings.
Chinese President Xi Jinping and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe have visited Sabarmati Ashram in recent years.
From Sabarmati Ashram, Trump, his family and other US dignitaries moved to Motera Stadium where Modi, Union Home Minister Amit Shah, Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupnai and Governor Acharya Devvrat welcomed them at the ‘Namaste Trump’ event. (Agency)