Friday, February 22, 2019

Kasturba: The Unsung Heroine

Kasturba: The Unsung Heroine
Jaydev Jana*
Kasturba Gandhi
Behind every successful man, there is a woman. - Mark Twain
Mark Twain’s remark might be a little difficult to digest. But it is true to a large extent. The success of a man is in the hands of the woman associated with his life, pre-eminently his wife. If the man is single, his mother can play a vital role. Indeed, Mahatma Gandhi was influenced by his mother, Putlibai, as well as by his wife, Kasturba, fondly referred to as ‘Ba’ (Mother). In his childhood, Gandhi was profoundly influenced by Jainism and the Pranami sectรข€¦ through his mother. It was in his family that he first learnt the lesson of Satyagraha.
He confessed that he directly learnt the certitudes of Satyagraha through his wife, Kasturba, though he was also influenced by Tolstoy and Thoreau. In his autobiography, My Experiments with Truth, Gandhi writes: “I learnt the lesson of non-violence (Satyagraha) from my wife. I tried to bend her to my will. Her determined resistance to my will on the one hand, and her quiet submission to the suffering my stupidity involved on the other, ultimately made me ashamed of myself and cured me of myself and cured me of my stupidity in thinking that I was born to rule over her; and in the end she became my teacher in non-violence.
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