|Died||5 April 1956 (aged 63)|
|Spouse||Sushila Mashruwala (1927–1956)|
|Parent(s)||Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi |
Manilal's early years were spent in Rajkot, and it was in 1897 he traveled to South Africa for the first time (his father having moved there several years previously). The family lived for a time in Durban and Johannesburg. Between 1906 and 1914, he lived at the Phoenix Settlement (in KwaZulu-Natal) and Tolstoy Farm (in Gauteng), both settlements established by his father.
After a brief visit to India (accompanying his parents), Manilal returned to South Africa in 1917 to assist in printing the Indian Opinion, a Gujarati-English weekly publication, at Phoenix, Durban. By 1918, Manilal was doing most of the work for the press, and in 1920, he took over as editor. He remained editor of Indian Opinion until 1956, the year of his death. Manilal died from a cerebral thrombosis following a stroke.
Like his father, Manilal was also sent to prison several times by the British colonial government after protesting against what he perceived as unjust laws. He was one of the initial 78 marchers to accompany Gandhi on the 1930 Salt March, for which he was imprisoned.
In 1926, Manilal informed his father Mahatma Gandhi about Fatima Gool, with whom he had fallen in love in South Africa. Fatima was a Muslim of Gujrati descent. But Gandhi conveyed his disagreement and wrote:
If you stick to Hinduism and Fatima follows Islam it will be like putting two swords in one sheath; or you both may lose your faith. And then what should be your children’s faith? ... It is not dharma, only adharma if Fatima agrees to conversion just for marrying you. Faith is not a thing like a garment which can be changed to suit our convenience.
In 1927, Manilal married Sushila (24 August 1907 – 1988), a woman from his own community and similar background, in a match arranged by their families in the usual Indian way. Sushila was the daughter of Nanabhai Mashruwala of Akola, Bombay State, and the niece of Kishorlal Mashruwala, a close associate of Gandhiji and a resident of Sevagram ashram. Sushila, who had become partially deaf due to an overdose of quinine in childhood, was of gentle and ascetic disposition, and lived in Sevagram for long periods. It was Mahatma Gandhi who sought her hand for his second son; the match was arranged, and after the wedding, Sushila duly joined her husband in South Africa. Their marriage, which was entirely harmonious, was blessed with three children:
- Sita (b. 1928), elder daughter
- Arun Manilal Gandhi (b. 1934), son
- Ela Gandhi Ramgobin (b. 1940), younger daughter
Manilal's children Arun and Ela are also social-political activists. Uma D. Mesthrie, Sita's daughter, recently published a biography on Manilal.
- Mesthrie, Uma Dhupelia. Gandhi’s Prisoner? The Life of Gandhi’s Son Manilal. Permanent Black: Cape Town, South Africa, 2003.
- Dhupelia-Mesthrie, Uma, "Writing the Life of Manilal Mohandas Gandhi," Journal of Natal and Zulu History 24 & 25 (2006-2007): 188-213.
- "Library of Congress LCCN Permalink n90712835". lccn.loc.gov. Retrieved 17 October 2018.
- Dhupelia-Mesthrie: Gandhi’s Prisoner? The Life of Gandhi’s Son Manilal, p. 384
- Dhupelia-Mesthrie, Uma (2007). "Gandhi's South African Family". India International Centre Quarterly. 34 (2): 34–45. JSTOR 23006303.
- "Manilal Gandhi Dead". The Indian Express. Press Trust of India. 6 April 1956. pp. 1, 8. Retrieved 19 February 2018.
- Guha, Ramchandra (2018). Gandhi: The Years That Changed the World. Penguin Allen Lane. p. 240. ISBN 978-0670083886.
- Prasad, Archana (21 August 2013). "Remembering Sushila Gandhi 1907-1988". gandhiforchildren.org. Archived from the original on 19 May 2016. Retrieved 19 February 2018.
- Uma Dhupelia Mesthrie, Gandhi’s Prisoner? The Life of Gandhi’s Son Manilal. (Permanent Black: Cape Town, South Africa, 2003).
- Interview of Ela Gandhi
- The African Activist Archive Project website has an Interview with Manilal Gandhi conducted in South Africa in September 1954 by George M. Houser. At the time he was editor of newspaper Indian Opinion and ran the Phoenix Settlement, both established by his father. There is also a 1947 photograph of Manilal Gandhi at the Community Church of New York, a September 1954 photograph of Mr. and Mrs. Manilal Gandhi at Phoenix Settlement and a 1954 photograph of Chief Albert Luthuli and Manilal Gandhi. Four issues of the newsletter Bulletin: Americans for South African Resistance has information about him: September 1952 issue, the 14 January 1953 issue, the 27 February 1953 issue, and the 1 March 1954 issue.