Fondly called ‘Ba’, Kasturba Gandhi is the unsung hero of the freedom struggle. She has always been presented as the shadow of the most celebrated leader, her husband, Mahatma Gandhi. Here are some lesser-known facts about her.
1. Kasturba hailed from a rich and reputed Kapadia family in Porbandar, Gujarat. Her father Gokuladas Kapadia was a wealthy merchant and her mother’s name was Vrajkunwerba.
2. She was married to Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi in 1882, when was just 13 years of age.
3. She didn’t receive any formal education but always remained a curious and fast learner. She attained elementary education, after marriage, majorly from her husband.
4. In 1904, Kasturba first became involved in politics and social activism in South Africa when she helped Mohandas and others establish the Phoenix Settlement.
5. In 1913, she was arrested and sentenced to three months in prison for protesting against the treatment of Indian immigrants in South Africa.
6. She would often step into the role of a leader in the movements when Gandhi was detained.
7. Along with Gandhi, she became the face of Khadi and a champion for empowering indigenous workers to produce ‘Swadeshi goods’.
8. In 1917, Kasturba also helped improve the conditions of women of Champaran where Gandhi was working for the welfare of indigo planters.
9. For the large part, she was devoted to helping and managing the various ashrams like the Sabarmati Ashram, which has mainly been attributed to Gandhi.
10. In early 1939, she participated in the non-violent protests against the British in Rajkot. She was arrested and kept in solitary confinement for a month leading to health deterioration.
11. In 1942, she was arrested for participating in the Quit India Movement and was kept in the Aga Khan Palace at Pune. She suffered series of heart attacks. She even contracted pneumonia. Succumbing to illness, she died at the age of 74 on Feb 22, 1944.
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