Political Activist

... Kasturba Gandhi Porbandar



More about Kasturba Gandhi

Story of Life

Born to Gokuladas and Vrajkunwerba Kapadia of Porbandar, little is known of her early life. In May 1883, 14-year old Kasturba was married to 13-year old Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi in an arranged marriage, according to the custom of the region. Recalling the day of their marriage, her husband once said, “As we didn’t know much about marriage, for us it meant only wearing new clothes, eating sweets and playing with relatives.” However, as was prevailing tradition, the adolescent bride was to spend much time at her parents’ house, and away from her husband. Writing many years later, Mohandas described with regret the lustful feelings he felt for his young bride, “even at school I used to think of her, and the thought of nightfall and our subsequent meeting was ever haunting me.”

When her husband left to study in London in 1888, she remained in India to raise their newborn son Harilal Gandhi. She had three more sons: Manilal Gandhi, Ramdas Gandhi, and Devdas Gandhi. Kasturba also had a son who died very young and even though she had four sons later on, she never truly got over the death of her first newborn.[5] Kasturba’s relationship with her husband can be described by the following extract from Ramachandra Guha’s novel Gandhi Before India; “They had, in the emotional as well as sexual sense, always been true to one another.

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Kasturbai Mohandas “Kasturba” Gandhi About this sound listen (born Kasturbai Makhanji Kapadia on was the wife of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi. In association with her husband, Kasturba Gandhi was a political activist fighting for civil rights and Indian independence from the British.


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. Then in 1913, she took part in protests against the ill-treatment of Indian immigrants in South Africa, for which she was arrested. Kasturba and Gandhi then permanently left South Africa in July 1914 and returned to live in India. In spite of Kasturba’s chronic bronchitis – that had worsened in South Africa – she continued to take part in civil actions and protests across India that were organized by Gandhi. Moreover, she often took her husband’s spot if he was in prison. The majority of her time was dedicated to helping out and serving in ashrams.