Mithuben Petit

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Mahatma Gandhi at Dandi 6 April 1930. Behind him is his second son Manilal Gandhi and Mithuben Petit.
Mahatma Gandhi, Mithuben Petit, and Sarojini Naidu 1930

Mithuben Hormusji Petit (11 April 1892 – 16 July 1973) was one of the women pioneer Indian independence activists[1][2] who also participated in Mahatma Gandhi's Dandi March.[3][4]


Born on 11 April 1892 into an affluent Parsi family in Bombay (now Mumbai), her father was Sir Dinshaw Maneckji Petit who was a well known industrialist and a Baronet.[5][6]

Indian independence movement[edit]

The young Petit was influenced by her maternal aunt who was a follower of Gandhi, and was the Secretary of the Rashtriya Stree Sabha.[7] Petit along with Kasturba Gandhi and Sarojini Naidu played a major part in the Salt March,[8] with Kasturba Gandhi beginning the march at Sabarmati, Sarojini Naidu lifting the salt for the first time at Dandi on 6 April 1930 and Petit standing behind Mahatma Gandhi when he repeated the violation at Bhimrad on 9 April 1930. The march was one of the most important event in the Indian independence movement.[1] In the time when women took a back seat (due to the patriarchal culture at that time in India) Petit was one of the three women who played a pivotal role in the march and the civil disobedience against tax on salt.[8] Petit participated in the Bardoli Satyagraha of 1928 which was a no-tax campaign against the British Raj where she worked under the guidance of Sardar Patel.[9] Petit was instrumental in the anti-liquor movement in India and spent time with Mahatma Gandhi and explained the liquor issue with the schedule tribes in Gujarat.[10]

Social work[edit]

Petit set up an ashram in Maroli called Kasturba Vanat Shala which taught underprivileged children from families of Adivasis, Harijans and fisher folk spinning, carding, weaving, dairy farming, leather-work and a Diploma Course in Sewing, to make the women self-sufficient.[11] She also opened a hospital of the same name for the treatment of mentally ill patients.[12]

She died on 16 July 1973.[6]


Petit received the Padma Shri in 1961 for her social work.[13][14]


  1. ^ a b Nawaz B. Mody (2000). Women in India's freedom struggle. Allied Publishers. ISBN 9788177640700.
  2. ^ Mankekar, Kamla (2002). Women pioneers in India's renaissance, as I remember her: contributions from eminent women of present-day India. National Book Trust, India. ISBN 978-81-237-3766-9.
  3. ^ "Mahatma Gandhi, Sarojini Naidu and Mithuben Petit". Retrieved 2 July 2017.
  4. ^ Simmi Jain (2003). women pioneers in India's resistance. Kalpaz Publications. ISBN 9788178351742.
  5. ^ Marzban J. Giara (2000). Parsi statues. Marzban J. Giara.
  6. ^ a b Gawalkar, Rohini (28 September 2013). "पद्मश्री 'दीनभगिनी'". Loksatta (in Marathi). Archived from the original on 28 July 2017. Retrieved 28 July 2017.
  7. ^ Suruchi Thapar-Björkert (2006). Women in the Indian national movement : unseen faces and unheard voices, 1930-42. SAGE Publications India Pvt Ltd. ISBN 9789351502869.
  8. ^ a b "The Great Dandi March – eighty years after". Retrieved 2 July 2017.
  9. ^ Jain, Simmi (2003). Encyclopaedia of Indian Women Through the Ages: Period of freedom struggle. ISBN 9788178351742.[full citation needed]
  10. ^ "anti-liquor movement". Retrieved 3 July 2017.
  11. ^ "Trustees". Archived from the original on 3 January 2018. Retrieved 20 July 2017.
  12. ^ "Kasturba Sevashram". Archived from the original on 12 June 2018. Retrieved 20 July 2017.
  13. ^ "Padma Shri in 1965 for social work". Archived from the original on 28 July 2017. Retrieved 2 July 2017.
  14. ^ "Mithuben Petit Padma Shri" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 28 July 2017. Retrieved 6 July 2017.

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