Kasturba – Portrait Of The Woman Behind Gandhi


It’s October 2nd and school-going children all over India are thankful it falls on a weekday. On top of it, it’s a Friday and that means a 3-day weekend. Gandhi Jayanthi (Gandhi’s Birthday) is an occasion that is widely celebrated in India.

Politicians from all over the country speak about things that they don’t understand or practice, namely, simplicity, honesty, and sacrifice. These are traits that Gandhi lived and died for and so did his wife, Kasturba Gandhi.

On the occasion of Gandhi Jayanthi, we bring to you rare photographs of Kasturba who marched with Gandhi and also managed to raise four sons. She is our unsung hero, the woman behind the man.

The early days as Mrs Gandhi

Here is a photograph of young Kasturba and her husband in 1902. They married in May 1883 and their marriage was arranged by their parents. Kasturba stayed back in India when Gandhi left for his studies in the UK and then on to South Africa. Kasturba joined Gandhi in South Africa in 1987.

Image showing Gandhi and his wife, Kasturba

Kasturba, the mother

Kasturba Gandhi had four sons – Harilal Gandhi, Manilal Gandhi, Ramdas Gandhi and Devdas Gandhi. Kasturba was always on the move along with Gandhi and she couldn’t find time to spend with her sons. She regretted this at her deathbed.

Image of Kasturba Gandhi and her four sons
Via adaring.com

Kasturba the freedom fighter

Kasturba had an active political career. She played an active role in promoting education and hygiene among women in India. She was also active in South Africa and was even sentenced to three months of hard labour for protesting against the working conditions of Indians in South Africa. Seen in the photo below, Kasturba is walking with Gandhi and Sardar Patel to attend the 1938 Congress session.

Kasturba with Gandhi and Sardar Patel

In the photograph below, Kasturba is seen attending a political meeting in Bombay in 1931 along with American women. She is on the far right of the picture.

Kasturba Gandhi attending a political even in 1931

In the photo below, you will Kasturba with Rabindranath Tagore and Gandhi at a reception organised at the Shantiniketan.

Kasturba with Rabindranath Tagore and Gandhi

Here is a photograph from The Hindu that shows Kasturba along with the women of the household that hosted the Gandhi’s during one of their visits to Coimbatore.

Image showing Kasturba Gandhi with her hosts in Coimbatire, India

That all folks. We hope these images remind you of the important role women played in India’s freedom struggle. Yes, today is Gandhi’s birthday but let’s not forget Kasturba’s contributions.

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