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Important Dates

  • 1869 Kasturba was born in Porbander in Gujarat
  • 1882 Married to Gandhi
  • 1896 Kasturba went to South Africa with Gandhi
  • 1901 Returns to India and settles in Bombay
  • 1906 Kasturba went to South Africa and placed in charge of domestic side of Phoenix Settlement
  • 1906 Vow of Brahmacharya taken by Gandhi
  • 1908 Kasturba sentenced to jail
  • 1915 Kasturba became the first inmate of the Satyagraha Ashram at Ahmedabad founded by Mahatma Gandhi
  • 1916 Kasturba took part in the Champaran Campaign
  • 1930 Took part in No-Tax campaign in Bardoli and Salt Satyagraha
  • 1932 Imprisoned
  • 1933 Arrested from Sabarmati Ashram and sentenced to 5 months in solitary isolation
  • 1939 Took the lead in Rajkot struggle and put in solitary confinement
  • 1943 Arrested on the 9th august
  • 1944 Passes away in prison at 07:35 P.M. 22nd Feb

Her Life and Death
(By Mahatma Gandhi)

Image"We were a couple outside the ordinary. It was in 1906 that by mutual consent and after unconscious trials, we definitely adopted self-restraint as a rule of life. To my great joy this knit us together as never before. We ceased to be two different entities without my wishing it; she chose to lose herself in me. The result was she became truly my better half. She was woman always of very strong will which in our early days I used to mistake for obstinacy. But that strong will enabled her to become, quite unwittingly, my teacher in the art and practice of non-violent non-co-operation. The practice began with my own family. When I introduced it in 1906 in the political field it came to be known by the more comprehensive and and specially coined name of Satyagraha. When the course of Indian imprisonments commenced in South Africa Shri Kasturba was among the civil resisters. She went through greater physical trials than. I. Although she had gone through several imprisonments, she did not take kindly to the present incarceration during which all creature comforts were at her disposal. My arrest simultaneously with that of many others and her own immediately following, gave her a great shock and embittered her. She was wholly unprepared for my arrest. I had assured her that the government trusted my non-violence, and would not arrest me unless I courted arrest myself. Indeed the nervous shock was so great that after her arrest she developed violent diarrhoea and but for the attention that Dr. sushila nayar who was arrested at the same time as the deceased was able to give her, she might have died before joining me in this me in this detention camp, where my presence soothed her and the diarrhoea stopped without any further impediment. Not so the bitterness. It led to fretfulness ending in painfully slow dissolution of the body."

A Tribute to Ba

The announcement by Gandhiji in May 1933 of a 21-day fast “for the purification of himself and his associates” came like thunderbolt to Kasturba and Mira Ben. The latter on behalf of Ba and herself sent the following message to Gandhiji on hearing the news.

"Got news of fast only today. Ba wishes me to say she is greatly shocked and feels decision very wrong but you have not listened to any others, so you will not hear her. She sends her heart felt prayers. I am stunned but know it is the voice of God and in that sense rejoice even in the midst of anguish".

Gandhiji's eyes were wet with tears of joy as he wrote out this telegram to them:-
"Tell Ba that her father imposed on her a companion whose weight would have killed any other woman. I treasure her love she must remain courageous to the end. For you, I have nothing but only thanks to god for giving you to me. You must prove your bravery by sustained joy over this newest of God‘s desirous for me. Love."

Bapu and Ba

ImageSoon after his return to India early in 1915, Gandhiji accompanied by Kasturba paid a visit to madras. They became the guests of Shri G.A. Natesan; the veteran journalist. It would appear that Shri Natesan finding Kasturba in a discomforted mood on more than one occasion brought the fact to the notice of Gandhiji. According to Shri Natesan, Gandhiji did not pause for a reply but forthwith told him that "it was of her own making", and added, "she wants me to give her money for buying costly clothes for her grand children".

On Shri Natesan jocularly observing that Gandhiji was “a cruel husband", the latter quickly retorted as follows:

"Look here, you are hard on me; it is a question of my forsaking my principles if I begin to yield to her wishes in these and other matters. She knows full well my views and is quite acquainted with my way of living. I have more than once implored her to live away from me and save herself from the discomfort and live happily with her children. But she would not. She, like the faithful Hindu wife, insists on following me wherever I go."