(11 Mar '02)
Sunday 10 March, 2002 , Gujarat
It was a hard time for Gujarat. A year after the devastating earthquake, the region was falling victim to communal riots. Amma was in Mumbai. She was scheduled to leave for the earthquake-struck region of Bhuj, in Western Gujarat, where She was to inaugurate the three villages that the M.A. M had reconstructed. But in order to reach there, She would have to travel through areas that had erupted in violence. Many people were discouraging Amma from making the trip—even the government’s Central Intelligence Bureau. But Amma would not be deterred. “I have decided to go, come what may, and those who fear for their lives don’t have to come.”
The programme was a huge success and no one was hurt. Later Amma commented that the thousands of villagers had been waiting to meet Amma for a long time. Since they had lost everything, they didn’t have enough money to visit Amma anywhere else. They also badly wanted Amma to bless their homes before they moved in.
When Amma did arrive, thousands came to have Her darshan—the men in their serious and weighty turbans, the women in their flowing rainbow-coloured dresses. This region was once travelled by Sri Krishna, and the people are still his devotees. Looking at them in their colourful attire, it was easy to imagine they were flocking to see the Lord. And they even arranged a horse-drawn chariot, like Krishna’s—in which to carry Amma to the darshan stage.
Also present for the occasion were Union Home Minister of India Sri. L.K. Advani, the Governor of Gujarat Sri. S.S. Bhandari and Chief Minister of Gujarat Sri. Narendra Modi. All three of the politicians helped symbolically handout the keys to the newly constructed homes. In his speech Advani applauded the MAM for its relief work.
Here it was also officially announced that the villagers and the state government had officially renamed the three villages after Amma. Modsar is now Amrita Nagar, Dagara is now Amritamayi Nagar, and Mokhana is Amritapur.