Birth: 11 April, 1869                                                                              Death: 22nd Feb, 1944


          KASTURBA GANDHI "ACROSS THE PAGES of history, the names of six woman stand out in the reflected glory of their saintly husbands - Maitreyi, wife of Upanishadic sage Yajnavalkya; Yashodhara, wife of Gautama the Buddha; Xanthippe, wife of Socrates, Jijabai, wife of the Maratha poet-saint Tukaram; Sophia, wife of Tolstoy; and Sharda Devi, wife of Shree Ramkrishna Paramhansa. To these must be added the name of Kasturba, wife of Mahatma Gandhi...." Thus wrote R. K. Prabhu in his book Sati Kasturba. She was a true partner of Gandhiji in all respects, a sahadharmini (A True Life partner). As such she has been compared by discerning critics to the great satis of Indian mythology. "Epic in her single-minded self- surrender to her husband." observes one, " she was like Sita and Savitri." A distinguished Indian philosopher considers that Kasturba's silent sacrifice; humility and faith were reminiscent of Anusaya and Arundhati. Her selfless existence helped to ennoble the nation.

Kasturba was born in an ordinary family in Porbandar, Gujarat in April 1869. She was brought up in the Vaishnav tradition, in a religious atmosphere. The illiterate Kasturba grew up to be the companion of Mahatma Ghandi, one of the greatest men of our age, and because of her inner strength of self-confidence and clear vision and the motherly, generous and compassionate nature, was soon recognized as 'the Mother of the Nation'.

She fought shoulder to shoulder with Mahatma Gandhi in India's non-violent struggle for freedom. The married life of 'Ba' and 'Bapu' spanned sixty years from 1883 to 1944. Upon Kasturba's death, Gandhiji remarked - "We were an ideal couple. Our life together was marked by happiness, contentment and fulfilment."

Kasturba was arrested during the 'Quit India Movement' of 1942 and imprisoned at the Aga Khan Palace, Pune. She died there on 22nd Feb 1944. The loss of the 'The Mother of the Nation', especially at the time when Gandhiji and all the other leaders were also in jail, was a severe blow that plunged the nation into shock and grief.

         It was in memory of this extraordinary 'Mother of the Nation' that Mahatma Gandhi established the 'Kasturba Gandhi National Memorial Trust' (Kasturba Gandhi Rashtriya Smarak Trust).

         The Trust is a unique institution. Kasturba was like a mother to an enormous family. Everyone at Bapu's (Gandhi was lovingly known to the people of india by 'Bapu' which means Father) Ashram received from her a mother's love and care. Mahatma Gandhi wished that the Trust too, be imbued with this quality of maternal strength, and that, like Kasturba, members of the Trust bring their rural sisters forward to actively participate in the development of their villages and of the Nation.