Kasturba Gandhi

Also known as Ba

Early Life

Kasturba Kapadia, daughter of wealthy business man Gokuladas Kapadia, was born April 11th, 1869 in the city of Porbandar in Gujarat. She had two brothers, one older, one younger. In 1882, at the age of thirteen, she married fellow thirteen year old Mohandas Gandhi in an arranged marriage. However, their arranged marriage was arranged when they were seven. When Gandhi went to practice law in London in 1888 she did not accompany him because of the birth of their first child Harilal earlier that year. She ended up having four children total. Her second child was Manilal, born in 1892, then Ramdas, born in 1897, and finally Devadas, born in 1900.
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Kasturba poses with her four sons; Harilal (oldest), Manilal (second oldest), Ramdas (third oldest), and Devadas (youngest).


She often worked alongside her husband. However, Kasturba did not get a lot of attention, even though she took Gandhi's place when he was in jail. During times like these, she encouraged women voters and soon got more presence in women. In 1897 she went to Africa with Gandhi and joined in the struggle for power and better work conditions for Indians in South Africa. She also helped Gandhi in 1904 in Durban in the Phoenix settlement, which was a place that Gandhi bought where people could work and earn the same salary and he could publish his newspaper. In 1913 she continued her work in South Africa and protested the inhumane work conditions Indians were facing. For this, she earned a three month imprisonment where she was forced to do hard labor. Two years later she joined support with the Indigo planters who were protesting the harshness of the British, who were taking control of the Indigo market. While there, she taught women personal hygiene, discipline, how to read, and how to write.

Did you know?

One time Mohandas Gandhi asked Kasturba to clean the toilets in there ashram, or religious residence where they were staying, and she refused. She did not want to do labor that way. When she refused, her husband Gandhi nearly threw her out of the house.
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From the award winning movie Gandhi, Ben Kingsley portrays Mohandas Gandhi and Rohini Hattangadi as Kasturba Gandhi as they act out the many struggles and protests that the two went through.

Did you know?

When Kasturba married Gandhi she was illiterate and her new husband had to teach her how to read and write.

End of Life

She was known as an independent spirit. Kasturba didn't always agree with her husbands ideas and often stood up for what she believed in. Her first son Harilal, who she thought was being neglected by Mohandas, brought tension in their marriage. However, the two ended up sticking together for 62 years until Kasturba's death in 1944. She was very dedicated to her religion and hated the caste system in India. During her imprisonment for the Quit India movement, which she was getting blamed for due to all the violence, her chronic bronchitis escalated. When she was released she joined her husband in the Aga Khan's Palace in Poona. While there, her bronchitis turned into pneumonia. Penicillin, a drug that the doctors wanted to prescribe for her, was not given to her because her husband Gandhi did not think it was necessary. Later that year, Kasturba suffered two heart attacks and later died with Gandhi by her side at the age of 74.

Works Cited