Mamata Gandhi, who was once labelled as India’s most influential woman, is now a divisive figure. She is idolized by some and reviled by others. She is known for her activism and her refusal to back down from a fight.
Gandhi was born in the southern state of Tamil Nadu in 1869. She was married to her cousin, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, in 1915. The Gandhis moved to India’s capital, Delhi, in 1917. Gandhi became involved in the struggle for India’s independence from Britain. In 1920, she was arrested and imprisoned for her activities.
In 1948, Gandhi was elected president of India. She led India to independence from Britain in 1947. She was also the country’s first female prime minister.
Gandhi’s time as prime minister was marked by political instability and frequent clashes with the government of her successor, Jawaharlal Nehru. In 1966, Gandhi was elected to the Lok Sabha (India’s lower house of Parliament). She remained a member of Parliament until her death in 1984.
Gandhi is remembered for her activism and her refusal to back down from a fight. She is also remembered for her contributions to India’s independence and her role in the country’s development.
A hundred years ago, on November 19, 1917, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi’s eldest son, Harilal, was born. To commemorate the occasion, Gandhiji’s grandson, Tushar, travelled to Johannesburg to launch a book on Harilal’s life.
Tushar, who is the son of Gandhi’s daughter, Manilal, says he was “very moved” by the book. “It is a very human story. It is not a hagiography but it is not an attack on Harilal either. It is a very honest account of his life,” he said.
Harilal was born into a wealthy family but he rebelled against his father’s values and chose a different path. He was attracted to the freedom struggle in South Africa and later joined the Indian National Congress. However, he was always at odds with Gandhiji and the two never saw eye to eye.
Harilal’s life was a tragic one. He suffered from alcoholism and mental health issues. He passed away at the age of 58.
Despite his differences with Gandhiji, Harilal is an important figure in Indian history. He was the first member of the Gandhi family to join the freedom struggle and he paid the price for it.
Tushar says he is proud of his grandfather’s grandson and he is committed to carrying on Harilal’s legacy. “I am very proud of him. I think it is important to remember him and to learn from his mistakes. We need to remember that he was a part of the Gandhi family and that he was fighting for the same thing as the rest of us,” he said.
The Gandhi family has come a long way since Harilal’s time. They have faced many challenges but they have also achieved a lot. The centenary of Harilal’s birth is a good time to reflect on the Gandhi family’s journey and to honour all the members of the family who have contributed to it.