Harilal Gandhi

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Harilal Gandhi
Harilal Mohandas Gandhi in 1910.jpg
Harilal Gandhi in 1910
Born 1888
New Delhi, British India
Died 18 June 1948 (aged 60)
Bombay, Bombay Province, India
(now Mumbai, Maharashtra, India)
Spouse(s) Gulab Gandhi
Children five children
Parent(s) Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi
Kasturba Gandhi

Harilal Mohandas Gandhi (Devanagari: हरीलाल गांधी), 1888 – 18 June 1948) was the eldest son of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi.[1]

Early life[edit]

Harilal wanted to go to England for higher studies and hoped to become a barrister as his father had once been. His father firmly opposed this, believing that a Western-style education would not be helpful in the struggle against British rule over India.[2] Eventually rebelling against his father's decision, in 1911 Harilal renounced all family ties.

Harilal was married to Gulab Gandhi and they had five children, two daughters, Rani and Manu, and three sons, Kanti, Rasik and Shanti. Rasik and Shanti died at an early age. He had four grandchildren (Anushrya, Prabodh, Neelam and Navmalika.) via Rani, two (Shanti and Pradeep) via Kanti, and one (Urmi) via Manu.

Nilam Parikh, the daughter of Ranibehn, the eldest of Harilal's children, wrote a biography of him, entitled Gandhiji's Lost Jewel: Harilal Gandhi.

He appeared at his father's funeral in such derelict condition that few recognized him. He died from liver disease on 18 June 1948 in a municipal hospital in Bombay, Union of India.[3]

Conversion of religions[edit]

Conversion to Islam[edit]

It is said that for a short time Harilal converted to Islam and named himself Abdullah Gandhi.

Conversion to Hinduism through Arya Samaj[edit]

However, on his mother Kasturba Gandhi's request he converted back to Hinduism through the Arya Samaj.

Gandhi's Letters[edit]

In June 1935, Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter [4] to Harilal, accusing him of "alcohol and debauchery". In the letters,[5] Mahatma Gandhi stated that Harilal's problems were more difficult for him to deal with than the struggle for Indian republic.

Gandhi, My Father[edit]

The troubled relationship between Harilal and his father is the subject of the film and play Gandhi, My Father. The film adaptation was released on 3 August 2007 and directed by Feroz Abbas Khan and produced by Anil Kapoor. Harilal is portrayed by Akshaye Khanna. Khan's play, Mahatma vs. Gandhi,[6] while different from this film, had a similar theme. There is also a Marathi play named Gandhi virudh Gandhi.

Further reading[edit]