New Delhi: Kasturba Gandhi was born on April 11th 1869 to a tradesmen Gokuladas Kapadia and her mother was Vrajkunwerba Kapadia. She married Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi in 1833, she was 14 years old an year elder to Mohandas who was 13 at the time. Most of history she was quoted under the shadow of husband, but she was a prominent figure in the Indian Independence Movement.
She was very influenced by husband who later taught her to read and write as she had never formally attended school. She has four sons who survived to adulthood but it is said that she never fully recovered after her first child’s death.
According to Historian Vinay Lal, “Kasturba never acceded to her husband’s wishes easily, and Gandhi’s autobiography itself furnishes are remarkable testimony to her tenacity and independence of judgement, and the sharp disagreements she came to have with him when, in the first two decades of their marriage, he unreasonably sought to bring her under his control.”
Here are some lesser known facts about Kasturba Gandhi:
- To put together funds for Gandhi’s law education in England, Kasturba’s jewellery was also sold off.
- She spent a long periods of time apart from her husband with her young children especially when he would travel to South Africa and England. Later they finally lived together in South Africa.
- She was involved in politics in South Africa, she was courageous and one occasion she helped Gandhi escape a white mob which was threatening him. She established the Phoenix Settlement near Durban, she became a figure of authority in the settlement and won the respect and cooperation of everyone.
- For protesting against the ill-treatment of Indian immigrants she was jailed in 1913. While in prison, she led other women in prayer and encouraged educated women to teach the uneducated women how to read and write.
- Once, she led the women of Rajkot in a non-violent freedom movement for which she was jailed and kept in solitary confinement for more than a month.
- In 1906 when Gandhi took the vow of chastity, many reports suggest that she was against his as it went against her role of a traditional Hindu wife.
- She took Mahatma Gandhi’s place when he wqas imprisoned and would even and addressed his followers.