ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel


Updated on January 14, 2013

Leader of Women's Satyagrapha

I was looking at some photos recently of this great women, Kasturba Gandhi, the Dharma Pathani of Mohandas Gandhi. You see her spiritual essence come through to you, and it deeply touches your soul. Behind every great man is a great woman. Behind every great woman is a great man. To many she was known as "Ba" or Kasturbai, the name Mahatma called her.

She was born on April 11, 1869. He father was Gokuladas Makharji of Porbandar. She married Mahatma was they both were 13 though an arrangement between parents. Mahatma states in his autobiography Gandhi that his brothers were all married at the same time he married Ba. At the time he looked at it as a fun celebration. From the time they were 13 until 18, Mahatma was still in school and Ba was often with her parents helping the family.

He taught her how to read during this period because she was illiterate. This was considered very progressive and radical at the time. Later on he opposed child marriages on principle. In the ancient tradition women were 18 and over and chose their own husbands at a special ceremony where men had to prove their intellectual, physical and spiritual abilities. By the 1940's women had gradually lost their former high status. The Indian Independence Movement revived this status in the political sphere and many great female activists and leaders were a part of the movement. Kasturba was the leader of the Women's Satyagrapha (truth force).

When Mahatma first married her, he wanted her to stay home all the time. He soon learned she did not like that idea. She liked her freedom to visit family, friends, attend events, run errands and buy food to prepare meals. This was one of his great lessons of their early marriage: realizing that both needed freedom to interact beyond the home on an equal basis. Over time he evolved as a person who eventually worked with many articulate female activists and leaders in the Satyagrapha Movement. Many of these women became diplomats, governors, doctors, lawyers, members of the Indian Congress and Parliament.

For many years they raised a family of four sons. Harilal was born in 1888, followed by Manilal in 1892. Ramdas was born in 1997 and their last son, Devdas, was born in 1900. In 1906 both Mohandas and Kasturba made a vow of brahamacharya in their marriage. From that time forward they ceased any sexual relations. Most married couples would find this arrangement not to their liking, but they stayed together for 62 years.

Kasturba became more heavily involved in the social activism of her husband in South Africa. In September of 1913 she was arrested and imprisoned for three months of hard labor. She often took her husband's place when he was in prison or fasting, delivering speeches and organizing action in the movement with women and men. She is most well known for her work with the cause of the indigo workers in Champaran, Bihar and the No Tax Campaign in Kaira, Gujarat. She picketed liquor and foreign cloth shops and participated in the Rajkot Satyagrapha. In Gandhi's autobiography he relates how she taught children in a number of campaigns for the indigo workers. Champaran is known as the city of King Janaka, who was the father of Mother Sita, the wife, consort and queen of Sri Ram in the Ramayan.

Kasturba lived the Dharma Pathani relationship as his support, companion and equal. As the Vedas states, "When a woman enters a family, she enters as a river into the sea to rule with her husband." Her health was one of her greatest challenges. Broncitis was one of the chronic conditions she endured living in ashrams and being involved with various actions and movements of her husband. She was arrested in the Quit India Movement actions along with her husband. They both ended up in detention at the Aga Khan's Palace in Poona. She became ill with pneumonia and died from a heart attack on February 22, 1944 in Mahatma's arms while in prison.

After her death he was never the same again. His Shakti and energy had left the Earth plane. Their bond of love was so deep and strong. She was a woman of independence and at the same time his great support and companion in life and the movement. He started out as many of us, not as enlightened as he could be. She taught him enlightenment in their relationship and also this effected the Indian Independence Movement. Mahatma Gandhi was a greater man for having been married to such a great woman. He learned what true equality was through his relationship with Kasturba. Out of this great movement, Satyagrapha, came the basis and philosophy for many great change movements: civil rights, women's and ecological movements worldwide and in India. What a great philosophy: "Be the change you want to see in the world."




    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • radhapriestess profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago from Minneapolis, MN

      Thanks for reading. I first learned of her contributions when I took a class on Gandhi at Lake Harriet Spiritual Community. She is an amazing woman.

    • Vinaya Ghimire profile image

      Vinaya Ghimire 

      5 years ago from Nepal

      Kasturba,who always stood by Gandhi, is not only a great figure for the Indians,but also an inspiration for the world. Thanks for this insightful article.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)