Kasturba Gandhi – The Pillar behind the Success
Women were, are and will always contribute their best to fight against wrong. Not only in this era, but during the time of British rule over India, women supported and fought equally as other freedom fighters. A woman never steps back, when she watches anything going wrong in front of her. She never fears to fight against it. Kasturba Gandhi was one among such, a brave woman who supported and helped her husband Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi in fighting against the Britishers.
Kasturba Mohandas Gandhi was born has Kasturbai Makhanj Kapadia on 11 April 1869 at Porbandar, Gujarat, India. At the age of playing with dolls and going to school, she was married to Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi when she was just 14, in May 1883. Her first involvement in politics was during the time of the establishment of Phoenix Settlement in Durban, South Africa, in 1904. She helped her husband and others who were aiming for a small village like a settlement in order to serve as a home to many residents and activists. In 1913, she was arrested for joining the protest against the ill-treatment of immigrants in South Africa. During her time in jail, she wasn’t the one who was scared but she fearlessly stayed there and encouraged the educated women to teach the uneducated women to read and write and to be independent.
Kasturba Gandhi was suffering chronic bronchitis, and instead of that she still actively participated in all the civilization movements and protests. In 1914, Kasturba and Gandhi returned to India from South Africa permanently. She was spending most of the time in ashrams serving the people there and was called “Ba” which means a mother. Kasturba always stepped forward in regards to helping socially. She helped in improving the women welfare in Champaran, Bihar, where Gandhi used to work with indigo farmers. She taught them about discipline, health, and hygiene, and to read and write. She always focussed and gave more importance to women education and their rights in society.
In 1922, she participated in non-violence movement, Satyagraha in Borsad, Gujarat even though her health was not good. She never took rest and actively participated in all the protests. She wasn’t able to join Gandhi’s most famous movement, the Salt March in 1930. But she still continued to be a part of each and every civil disobedience and marches. Many a time she was arrested for her participation and she would also take the place of Gandhi if he was arrested.
As the women at Rajkot forced her to advocate the non-violent protest against the British in 1939, she was again arrested and was kept in solitary confinement for a month. Day by day, her health was not supporting her actions and participation but she never even thought of quitting and taking rest. She still continued in participating for independence which was a burning desire in her. She makes an inspirational mark on us about being dedicated to our work by overcoming all the hurdles that stop us.
The Quit India movement was the most critical moment of her life. As her health was completely disturbed, but she still participated in the Quit India movement in 1942 and was arrested with Gandhi and other freedom fighters. Along with bronchitis she also suffered two heart attacks and was confined to bed. She expired at the detention camp due to her health issues, after her imprisonment in the Aga Khan Palace in Pune.
Gandhi wrote about Kasturba in his biography as, “According to my earlier experience, she was very obstinate. In spite of all my pressure, she would do as she wished. This led to short or long periods of estrangement between us. But as my public life expanded, my wife bloomed forth and deliberately lost herself in my work.”
Her contribution to the independence movement was remarkable. In spite of suffering all her health problems she never took rest and worked continuously for the independence of India. She tremendously supported Gandhi in his movements against the British. Salute to her determination and dedication which she actively participated in all the protests towards the independence of India.
Written By: Priyanka Kammar
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