Kasturba (11 April 1869 – 22 February 1944): Well, there’s say that goes in the breadth as, ‘Behind every successful man, there’s a woman’. It doesn’t get any truer than here. Mohandas Gandhi, Bapu also had his better half supporting him throughout his life.
Kasturbai “Kasturba” Mohandas Gandhi born Kasturbai Makhanji Kapadia was an Indian political activist and the wife of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi. In association with her husband, she was involved in the Indian independence movement in British-ruled India.
Kasturba Gandhi first involved herself with politics in South Africa in 1904 when she helped her husband and others establish the Phoenix Settlement near Durban.
The majority of her time was dedicated to helping out and serving in ashrams. Here, Kasturba was referred to as “Ba” or Mother, because she served as mother of the ashrmas in India.
Kasturba suffered from chronic bronchitis due to complications at birth. Her bronchitis was complicated by pneumonia. Kasturba’s health later deteriorated in January 1908, as she fasted while Gandhi was in prison, becoming ill. Kasturba came so close to death that Gandhi apologized to her, and promised he would not remarry if she were to die.
In January 1944, Kasturba suffered two heart attacks after which she was confined to her bed much of the time. To those who tried to bolster her sagging morale saying “You will get better soon,” Kasturba would respond, “No, my time is up”. Finally, at 7:35 pm on 22 February 1944, she died at the Aga Khan Palace in Poona, aged 74.
Kasturba Gandhi was a source of courage and tenacity. She raised the toddler or two on her own when Mohandas Gandhi left for England and South Africa.
She showed her courageous side as she helped Gandhi escape a white mob when she was stationed in South Africa with her husband.
The Kasturba Gandhi National Memorial Trust Fund was set up in her memory. Gandhi requested that this fund would be used to help women and children in villages in India.