|Kasturba Mohandas Gandhi|
11 April 1869|
Porbandar, Kathiawar Agency, British India
|Died||22 February 1944
Aga Khan Palace, Poona, Bombay Province, British India
|Known for||Wife of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, civil rights activist, organizer|
Kasturba Mohandas Gandhi listen (help·info) (born Kastur Kapadia; 11 April 1869 – 22 February 1944) 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.
Early life and background
Born to Gokuladas and Vrajkunwerba Kapadia of Porbandar, little is known of her early life. Kasturba was married to Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi in an arranged marriage in 1882. While Gandhi was still in high school, he was married, at the age of thirteen, to her, who was also of the same age. For a boy of that age marriage meant only a round of feasts, new clothes to wear and a strange and docile companion to play with. But he soon felt the impact of sex which he has described for us with admirable candour. The infinite tenderness and respect which were so marked a characteristic of his attitude in later life to Indian women may have owed something to his personal experience of "the cruel custom of child marriage", as he called it. 
Working closely with her husband, Kasturba Gandhi became a political activist fighting for civil rights and Indian independence from the British. After Gandhi moved to South Africa to practice law, she travelled to South Africa in 1897 to be with her husband. From 1904 to 1914, she was active in the Phoenix Settlement near Durban. During the 1913 protest against working conditions for Indians in South Africa, Kasturba was arrested and sentenced to three months in a hard labour prison. Later, in India, she sometimes took her husband's place when he was under arrest. In 1915, when Gandhi returned to India to support indigo planters, Kasturba accompanied him. She taught hygiene, discipline, health, reading, and writing.
Health and death
In January 1944, Kasturba suffered two heart attacks after which she was confined to her bed much of the time. Even there she found no respite from pain. Spells of breathlessness interfered with her sleep at night. Yearning for familiar ministrations, Kasturba asked to see an Ayurvedic doctor. After several delays (which Gandhi felt were unconscionable), the government allowed a specialist in traditional Indian medicine to treat her and prescribe treatments. At first she responded—recovering enough by the second week in February to sit on the verandah in a wheel chair for a short periods, and chat-then came a relapse. The doctor said Ayurvedic medicine could do no more for her.
To those who tried to bolster her sagging morale saying "You will get better soon," Kasturba would respond, "No, my time is up". Even though she had a simple illness, the doctors were insistent that she be given the life saving medicine, though Gandhi refused. It was Gandhi, after learning that the penicillin had to be administered by injection every four to six hours, who finally persuaded his youngest son to give up the idea (Gandhi didn't believe in modern medicine). After a short while, Kasturba stopped breathing. She died in Gandhi's arms while both were still in prison, in Poona (now Pune).
- Gandhi, Arun and Sunanda (1998). The Forgotten Woman. Huntsville, AR: Zark Mountain Publishers. p. 314. ISBN 1-886940-02-9.
- "Biography of Kasturba Gandhi, Indian Freedom Fighter". India Video. Retrieved 10 February 2013.
- http://www.mkgandhi.org/bio5000/birth.htm. Retrieved 22 January 2014. Missing or empty