The official opening ceremonies for Meher Ashram were held on Sunday, May 1st, 1927. A procession started at two-thirty, and Baba, the mandali, the pupils and teachers all joined in. They paraded to the family quarters, led by a band and a group of lejim dancers shouting and playing musical instruments. (1) When they arrived, bhajans were sung, Baba’s arti was performed, and he distributed prasad to everyone. A group photograph was taken and then all returned to Meherabad.
When the Meher Ashram school first began, there were ten students. The boys were Baban Shahane, Babu Kale, Banshi, Balchandra, Bhiwa, Chhabu, Dattu Mehendarge, Hari, Madho Shinde and Murli Kale. The school was located in the Family Quarters, the ashram staff staying there also. Sidhu and the God-intoxicated youth, Mastan, were housed in another portion of the family quarters. The Hazrat Babajan Girls’ School was shifted from Arangaon to the post office, which required the women mandali to move to another building.
Baba saw to all arrangements for the boys of the Meher Ashram – their food, milk, sandals and clothing. Each pupil was given a black cap, khaki shirt, a cotton coat, pants, underwear, and a trunk to keep these things in as well as a towel, handkerchief, blanket, sheet, pillow and two turbans.
Chhagan was assigned the duty of cooking vegetarian food for the boys. For breakfast, milk tea and chapatis were served; for lunch rice, dal, vegetables and chapatis; and for dinner chapatis and two types of vegetables.
Baba had previously ordered Ramjoo Abdulla to come to Meherabad twenty days a month and spend the remaining ten days at his home in Talegaon. Ramjoo arrived in Meherabad that day and participated in the celebrations.
(1) A lejim is a wooden musical instrument with bells which each dancer plays as he moves in rhythm. In India, usually only men dance in public.
Lord Meher, American ed., Bhau Kalchuri, Vol. 3, pp. 933 – 934.