Gandhinagar has the prospect of becoming a model city for India and the world. Named after Mahatma Ghandi, who had been raised in Gujarat, the former name, Gandhinagar has the possibility to live Ghandi's ideal of peaceful coexistence between people of different beliefs and ethnic backgrounds. Ghandi coined, practiced, and taught the protest model of non-violent resistance that encouraged the British to relinquish colonial control of India. If Ghandi had lived in another time, he may have taught peaceful coexistence rather than non-violent resistance.
One of three government planned cities in India, Gandhinagar had been commissioned to American urban architect Louis Kahn to design the city. Second thinking that decision, the Indian planners decided to follow a path more in keeping with Mahatma Ghandi's way. India for Indians had been Ghandi's slogan during the period of British rule, encouraging the Indian people to rely upon themselves and create an India reflective of Indian values, traditions, history, and culture.
Indian architects H.K. Mewada and Prakash M. Apte received the commission to design Gandhinagar. Built on the banks of the Sabarmati River, on 43 square kilometers, the city follows the river with refined landscape giving the city a regal feel. The Swaminarayan Sect has constructed a splendid temple in Gandhinagar, one of the most visited sites in the city. Surrounded by gardens and water fountains, 6,000 tons of pink sandstone went into the building of the temple designed to remember Lord Swaminrayan.
A tragic legacy that ended Ghandi's life, sectarian strife, has continued in Gandhinagar. In September 2002, gunmen opened fire on worshipers in the Hindu Akshardham temple, killing 30 and wounding nearly 100. The terrorists left notes in their pockets identifying themselves as members of the "Movement for Revenge," determined to avenge the deaths of Muslims killed in communal riots in Gujarat earlier. The hatred that Ghandi sought to dispel, the hatred between Muslim and Hindu, continues even in the city that bares his name.