Kasturba and M K Gandhi
Kasturba and M K Gandhi

Kasturbai Gokuldas Kapadia was born on 11 April 1869 in Porbandar, Gujarat to Gokuldas Kapadia and Vrajkunwerba Kapadia. Kasturba was just 13 when she was married off to Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi.

She never received any schooling before her marriage, and so, Mahatma Gandhi took it upon himself to educate his wife. The couple was blessed with a son in 1885, but he died shortly after. Their first child to survive was Harilal who was born in 1888.

Mahatma Gandhi went to South Africa in 1893 to practice law. Kasturba later joined him and quickly got involved in politics and non-violent movements. She played a pivotal role in establishing the Phoenix Settlement, which was a cooperative village where residents grew their own food.

In 1913, the activist was jailed for three months for protesting against the treatment meted out to Indian immigrants in South Africa. Kasturba was highly influenced by the idea of non-violent struggle and played an active part in assisting him.

Unfortunately, Kasturba's health deteriorated when she was in South Africa. However, the strong-willed activist kept herself involved in the freedom struggle. She even took Mahatma Gandhi's place and addressed his followers when he was in jail.

Kasturba also worked for the betterment of the peasant women who lived and worked in dreadful conditions. She was jailed several times for participating in civil disobedience campaigns. Once, she lead 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.

Kasturba's health worsened while she was in prison. After a series of heart attacks and severe pneumonia, the valiant freedom fighter left the world on 22 February 1944.

(To receive our E-paper on whatsapp daily, please click here. We permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)

Free Press Journal