Kasturba Gandhi

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Kasturba Gandhi timeline 1869 - 1944

1869
April, Kasturba Kapadia is born in Porbandar, in present-day Gujarat.
1876
Kasturba Kapadia and Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi are betrothed by their fathers.
1882
Kasturba and Mohandas are married at the age of thirteen. Kasturba moves in with the Gandhi family in Rajkot.
1888
Birth of their first son, Harilal Gandhi.
September 4, M.K. Gandhi leaves for England to study law. He was excommunicated from the Modh Vania caste for crossing the “black water”.
1891
August, M.K. Gandhi returns from England to Rajkot.
1892
October 28, Birth of their second son, Manilal.
1893
April, M.K. Gandhi leaves for South Africa to work on a lawsuit, invited by Seth Dada Abdullah. After resolving the case, he decides to remain in Natal to help the Indian community facing the Indian Franchise Bill.
1894
 August 22, Creation of the Indian Natal Congress.
1896
June, M.K. Gandhi leaves his practice in South Africa to go back to India.
December, Kasturba Gandhi leaves for South Africa with her husband and family. The ships Courland and Nadir are quarantined because of the outbreak of plague in Bombay.
1897
Birth of their third son, Ramdas.
January 13, End of the quarantine period for the ships Courland and Nadir. The passengers are allowed to enter the port. The Gandhi family leaves the ship at night, and Mohandas Gandhi is attacked by a mob. He refuses to press charges. Kasturba realises how prominent her husband has become in South Africa.
1899
October, The Anglo-Boer War is declared.
December, The Natal government reverses its decision and decides to accept Indians in the army. Mohandas Gandhi had in the meantime organised an Indian ambulance corps.
1900
May 23, Birth of their fourth son, Devadas.
1901
December, The Gandhi family goes back to India, but M.K. Gandhi promises to return to South Africa if the Indian community needs him.
1902
August, Mohandas, Kasturba and their three younger sons move to Bombay, where M.K. Gandhi establishes a law practice.
November, M.K. Gandhi goes back to South Africa alone to be there for Chamberlain’s visit, following the conclusion of the Anglo-Boer war. Kasturba stays in Bombay with the family.
1903
The Gandhi family returns to South Africa.
June 4, Publication of the first issue of Indian Opinion.
1904
March, Outbreak of bubonic plague in the Indian settlement of Johannesburg. Kasturba meets with Indian women about disease prevention and treatment. The “coolie” settlement in Johannesburg is destroyed because of the disease, by the authorities.
November-December, Foundation of the Phoenix Settlement. The village is meant to be a cooperative, where the residents share chores and grow their own food. The Indian Opinion printing press is moved to Phoenix.
1906
February, Outbreak of the Zulu Rebellion. M.K. Gandhi forms an ambulance corps to tend the wounded.
May 2, Kasturba’s eldest son, Harilal Gandhi, is married to Gulab Vohra. Kasturba and M.K Gandhi are informed of the union after the wedding.
June 2, The Gandhi family moves to Phoenix Settlement.
June 22, The ambulance corps leaves for Zululand. When M.K. Gandhi comes back from Zululand, he takes a vow of celibacy.
September 1, The draft of the Asiatic Bill is introduced. If passed, it would restrict Indians’ entry into the Transvaal, and enforce the carrying of passes bearing fingerprints. M.K. Gandhi condemns it as a "crime against humanity", and christens it "The Black Act".
September 11, More than 3000 Indians gather at Empire Theater in Johannesburg. They demand the withdrawal of the Asiatic Bill and threaten resistance.
September 19, M.K. Gandhi accuses the government of waging war on women and children by demanding they carry passes. The term “Satyagraha” is coined, meaning the pursuit of truth.
October, The Asiatic Bill is passed. It is named the Transvaal Asiatic Registration Act (TARA).
1907
March 2, The British Indian Association protests against the taking of fingerprints by police to register Indians.
March 11, Mass meeting at Gaiety Theatre in Johannesburg to protest against treatment of Indians.
March 29, Indians protest against Transvaal Asiatic Registration Act (TARA) and offer to register voluntarily if the act is withdrawn. Kasturba Gandhi in Phoenix is convinced of the justness of the cause.
April 4, Gandhi leads a deputation to General Smuts and presents him with the resolutions adopted at the March 29 mass meeting.
July 1, Permit offices where Indians need to go to register open in the Transvaal’s main towns and cities. The Satyagraha campaign to resist registration begins. It is non-violent, with the desire to avoid confrontation.
July 31, Limit for Indians to register. 2000 Indians meet outside a mosque in Pretoria. At midnight, they would all be liable for arrest.
August, The government gives a one-month extension for Indians to register. They subsequently give other extensions for registration.
November 30, Limit of the final extension to register.
December 28, M.K. Gandhi and 26 of his colleagues are summoned to appear in court in Johannesburg. They are ordered to leave the Transvaal.
1908
January 1, Transvaal Immigration Restriction Act and the Transvaal Asiatic Registration Act come to force.
January 11, Mohandas Gandhi is sentenced to two months in prison without hard labour because he refused to leave the Transvaal. Kasturba pledges to eat the same diet as her husband in prison. She assumes her role as the matriarch of the Phoenix Settlement, and makes sure residents do not despair.
January 30, Mohandas Gandhi is taken to Pretoria to meet with General Smuts. General Smuts agrees that the Transvaal Asiatic Registration Act would be repealed after voluntary registration of Indians. M.K. Gandhi is released after the compromise.
January 31, All Satyagrahis are released.
February 10, Voluntary registrations begin. Mir Alam Khan assaults M.K. Gandhi because he thought Gandhi had betrayed the Indian community. Gandhi sends General Smuts a draft bill to amend Transvaal Immigration Registration Bill (TIRB) and proposes to repeal of Transvaal Asiatic Registration Act (TARA).
February 29, 3400 Asians register voluntarily.
April 10, Birth of Rami, daughter of Harilal and Gulab Gandhi.
July, The campaign is at a stalemate. Most Indians had registered, but General Smuts did not respect the compromise to repeal the Transvaal Asiatic Registration Act.
July 13, M.K. Gandhi gives up his practice of law by turning it to associates.
July 21, Satyagraha begins. Harilal Gandhi participates by selling fruits illegally and is arrested.
August 16, More restrictions are to be imposed on Indians with a new immigration law. The passing of this law would make the repeal of the Transvaal Asiatic Registration Act more unlikely. 3000 Indians meet in Johannesburg and burn their passes.
1909
January, Kasturba Gandhi is taken to a Parsi doctor because of high losses of blood. She refuses to take the doctor’s advice and eat meat. She returns to Phoenix Settlement.
February 10, Harilal Gandhi is sentenced to six month's imprisonment.
February 25, M.K. Gandhi is arrested and sentenced to imprisonment for three months for failure to produce his registration certificate. He is sent back to Volksrust Prison.
March 11, Kasturba Gandhi sends a message to an Indian women's meeting in Johannesburg: "Had I wings I would fly to the meeting". A letter is published in the press signed by Kasturba and four other women.
March 25, Indian women meet at Hamidia Society Hall, led by Mrs. Thambi Naidoo, Mrs. Patel and Miss Schlesin. They form the Indian Women's Association.
May 24, M.K. Gandhi is released from prison.
June, Mohandas Gandhi leaves for London to discuss the pending South African Union. Anti-Indian statutes could become laws throughout the new union, replacing more lenient British laws.
July-October, Kasturba is conflicted between her allegiance to her husband, and her duty to her family. She is troubled because her sons are risking their lives in the Satyagraha campaign by going to prison. 
November, M.K. Gandhi returns from London.
1910
January 20, The Natal Legislative Assembly passes the Indian Immigration (Licences) Act Amendment Bill.
March 11, Gandhi accompanies a number of passive resisters to the Transvaal to violate immigration laws.
June, The Gandhi family moves to Tolstoy farm. It was a place where non-working miners and family members of arrested satyagrahis could stay.
1911
February 14, The Minister of Interior turns down the request of Natal Indian Congress to alter Natal law and exempt Indian women from payment of £3 tax.
May 18, Harilal Gandhi leaves for India. He breaks ties with his father.
1913
Women become active participants in the Satyagraha campaigns.
March 13, Mr. Justice Searle of the Cape Union Supreme Court gives a judgment in the case regarding the validity of Indian marriages in respect of one Bai Mariam according to Mohammedan rites "contracted" in India with Hassan Esop who had applied for an order restraining the Minister of Interior from deporting her. The application was refused. The decision virtually nullified non-Christian and non-registered marriages. It was suggested in the judgment that the court should intimate that Bai Mariam might be allowed to land if the applicant agreed to legalise the marriage under Act 16 of 1860. Kasturba was indignant when she heard this. Her husband suggested that women protest like men, and go to jail.
The non-recognition of Indian religious marriages causes a new flood of outrage and becomes a turning point for the Satyagraha campaign.
August, 34 women in Bloemfontein are jailed for not carrying passes.
September 23, Kasturba Gandhi, along with twelve men and three women, board a train and head to the Transvaal border. When they reached the border, they remained silent and did not show their passes. They were arrested and sentenced to three months in prison.
October 17, M.K. Gandhi visits Natal Coalfields near Newcastle after women encouraged the workers to strike. He urged indentured Indians to continue the strike until the Government promised the repeal of £3 tax. The Satyagraha campaign entered new phase. Over 3,000 indentured Indian miners decided to strike.
December 18, Mohandas Gandhi testifies in front of a commission appointed after London communicated its dissatisfaction with the treatment of Indians in South Africa.
December 22, Kasturba Gandhi is released from prison.
1914
January, A march of protest from Durban to Pretoria is planned. However, it is postponed because of the railway workers’ strike and the imposition of martial law. M.K. Gandhi is invited to talk with General Smuts and General Botha to resolve Indian grievances.
February, The negotiations are interrupted. Gandhi goes back to Phoenix to stay with Kasturba who is gravely ill.
June, An agreement is reached. The Indian Relief Bill is drafted as a compromise. The £3 tax is abolished, non-Christian marriages are recognised, and importation of indentured labourers is to stop in 1920. Immigration laws are also relaxed for educated Indians.
July 18, Mohandas and Kasturba Gandhi go back to India.
1915
January 9, The Gandhis’ arrive in Bombay on the S.S. Arabia.
March, Harilal Gandhi announces his intention to go his own way permanently.
May 25, Foundation of Gandhis' ashram in Kochrab, Gujarat. First settlers arrive, including Kasturba.
September, An Untouchable family from Bombay wants to join the ashram. This was a first real test for the small community. They were welcomed by M.K Gandhi on the day of their arrival and invited to dine with the community as guests. However, financial backers, opposed to the arrival of Untouchables, started to withdraw their support. The acceptance of Untouchables was difficult for Kasturba, but she realised that they were also children of God, or Harijan.  
December, M.K. Gandhi travels to Bombay to be an observer at the annual meeting of the Indian National Congress.
1916
M.K. Gandhi starts traveling throughout India, invited to make public addresses. Kasturba would travel with him when she could put aside her duties at the ashram for a few days.
1917
April, Mohandas and Kasturba Gandhi travel to Calcutta. Kasturba stays with Gulab Gandhi, wife of Harilal Gandhi. Gulab gave birth to a baby girl named Manu.
April 7, M.K. Gandhi travels to Champaran, Bihar with a tenant farmer named Rajkumar Shukla. Shukla had persisted that Gandhi visit Champaran to witness firsthand the situation of indigo farmers.  Gandhi becomes involved in his first full-scaled campaign in India.
April-June, Preparation of an official report to the governor on agricultural conditions in Champaran district.
May-June, Kasturba and Devadas Gandhi join M.K. Gandhi in Champaran. Kasturba worked with farmers' wives and daughters, and Devadas helped in teaching the children. Kasturba became involved in a district-wide sanitation campaign.
October, An agrarian reform law is passed in the Bihar province, abolishing the sharecropping system, and prohibiting further rent increases.
1918
April, Kasturba leaves Champaran to go back to the ashram.
June, Gulab Gandhi moves to the ashram with her five children, before leaving for Rajkot. Kasturba took care of her daughter-in-law and her grandchildren during the time they spent in the ashram.
July-October, M.K. Gandhi stays at home due to a severe illness.
October, Kasturba leaves for Rajkot after her daughter-in-law Gulab died of influenza.
December, Kasturba travels to Bombay with her husband so he can see a physician. M.K. Gandhi agrees to drink goat's milk after being encouraged by Kasturba.
1919
January, Harilal Gandhi sends his children to be in the care of Kasturba.
February, M.K. Gandhi decides to fight the Rowlatt Bill, which extended wartime emergency powers after the war.  M.K. Gandhi organises a meeting to plan Satyagraha protest against the passage of the bill.
March 18, The Rowlatt Bill is passed.
April 6, Day of national strike organised by M.K. Gandhi to protest the Rowlatt Act. In Delhi, the police, who fired into the crowd, kill nine Indians. In Punjab, martial law was imposed, but 10 000 men and women still assembled. 386 people were killed by troops who fired into the crowd.
October, After five months' refusal, authorities allow M.K. Gandhi to visit the scene of April disorders in Punjab.
1920
Kasturba is in charge of the Sabarmati ashram. She begins seeking out ways to reach women on India with her message. She believed that they had to learn to be self-sufficient, by learning spinning and weaving. They could play a vital role as quiet revolutionaries in their homes. She would join her husbands at meetings. This influenced other women to come to meetings.
August, Second all-India satyagraha campaign begins when M.K. Gandhi gives up Kaisar-i-Hind medal.
1921
August, M.K Gandhi presides a bonfire of foreign cloth in Bombay. Kasturba willingly burns her favourite sari, made of foreign cloth.
December, Mass civil disobedience campaign, with thousands in jail.
1922
February, Suspension of mass disobedience campaign because of violence at Chauri Chaura. In this town, a police station was set on fire by an angry mob, killing 23 policemen. M.K. Gandhi undertakes a five-day fast of penance.
March, M.K Gandhi is arrested. He is sentenced to six years imprisonment based on sedition charges.
March 23, Kasturba dictates an appeal that is published in Young India. It included an appeal for Indians to give up foreign cloth, for women to spin and produce yarn, and for merchants to stop trading in foreign piece goods.
June, Harilal Gandhi seeks his father's approval to remarry. M.K Gandhi supports remarriage only if Harilal marries a widow. Kasturba agrees with her husband on the matter, deploring the fate of widows, shunned for life in India.
1924
January, M.K. Gandhi is operated on for acute appendicitis.
February, M.K. Gandhi is unconditionally released from prison.
1927
Marriage of Manilal Gandhi and Sushila Mushruwala. The bride left for South Africa with her husband. Manilal Gandhi is charge of Indian Opinion in South Africa.
1928
December, M.K. Gandhi, at a Congress session in Calcutta, calls for complete independence within one year, or else another all-India Satyagraha campaign would begin.
1929
December, The Congress session at Lahore declares complete independence and a boycott of the legislature. The third all-India Satyagraha campaign begins.
1930
March 12, A group of 79 Satyagrahis led by Mohandas Gandhi set out from Sabamarti ashram on a historic salt march of 200 miles to the sea at Dandi. Kasturba stays in the ashram with other wives.
April, The Satyagrahis break the salt law by making and selling salt. The salt law established a government monopoly on the manufacture of salt. This marked the beginning of civil disobedience to manufacture salt.
May, M.K. Gandhi is arrested and taken to Yeravda prison.
May 21, Manilal Gandhi takes charge of the group of Satyagrahis. He leads them in a march to the Dharasana salt works. The individuals were beaten by the police, but they did not defend themselves. Manilal Gandhi is taken to a prison hospital and would serve a six-month sentence.
June-July, With more men being arrested, Kasturba believed it was up to women to continue the civil disobedience campaign. She left the running of the ashram to others and resumed her travels, urging women in different towns to take part in the newest phase of civil disobedience: the picketing of government-owned liquor stores. She believed that women were better qualified than men to lead the campaign because policemen would hesitate to arrest women, and Indian men would be reluctant to cross a women's picket line.
October, Kasturba goes to Punjab to visit her son Devadas in prison. She is distressed to see that so many people have come to greet her and carry her in a procession through town.
1931
Indian women in South Africa donate money to Kasturba to support her work against foreign goods.
January, M.K. Gandhi is released from prison.
March, Kasturba goes to Simla with M.K. Gandhi to meet Viceroy Irwin. The Gandhi-Irwin Pact is signed, which ended civil disobedience.
August, M.K. Gandhi leaves for London for the Round Table Conference. Kasturba refuses to go to London with her husband because she has too much to do in India.
1932
January, 15,000 Indians are jailed in attempts to snuff out a new civil disobedience campaign. M.K. Gandhi is arrested in Bombay and held without a trial. Kasturba Gandhi is arrested with several other women of the ashram. She is sentenced six weeks in prison. Over the next two years, she would be arrested and taken to jail another five times.
May, Kasturba Gandhi is arrested and given a six-month sentence in Sabarmati jail.
September 20, M.K. Gandhi starts a "fast unto death". He wrote to Kasturba not to worry about him. He was fasting to oppose the newly proposed Indian constitution. This constitution would grant separate electorates to Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs, and it would establish a separate electorate for Untouchables. For Gandhi, this meant that caste discrimination would be written in the constitution.
September 26, Negotiators reach an agreement, called the Yeravda Pact. It included the declaration that no one was to be regarded as Untouchable. M.K. Gandhi breaks his fast. Kasturba serves the final weeks of her sentence in the women's section of Yeravda prison, taking care of her husband.
December 3, Kasturba Gandhi represents her husband at the opening of an anti-Untouchability conference in Madras. From there, she went on a tour of the region to plead for Harijan (Untouchables) rights.
December, Backlash of orthodox Hindus and criticism of Kasturba's advocacy of the Harijan cause.
1933
February, Kasturba Gandhi is arrested and sent back to jail presumably for disregarding a government warning to refrain from civil disobedience.
May, M.K. Gandhi begins a 21-day fast to urge greater efforts on behalf of the Harijans. British officials release him and Kasturba from jail.
June, Kasturba is arrested again and sent to Sabarmati jail. She is kept separated from other inmates. Due to her ability to involve women, British officials now regarded her as much as a threat to and law and order than her husband.
July, Disbanding of the Sabarmati Ashram.
November, M.K. Gandhi begins a six-month Harijan tour.
1934
June, Kasturba and M.K. Gandhi were riding in a car to the municipal hall in Poona, when someone threw a homemade bomb at the car. The bomb hit cars following them, injuring seven people.
1935
Mohandas and Kasturba Gandhi move to Bombay because of Mohandas’ declining health.
1936
July, M.K. Gandhi and Kasturba move to Segaon, in the Central Provinces. A new ashram is founded and named Sevagram.
May, Harilal Gandhi converts to Islam "to improve himself". Kasturba sends him a letter, explaining her disagreement with his drinking habit and problems with the law. She also expresses her disappointment in his public criticism of his father. Kasturba also writes a letter to be published in newspapers to awaken the conscience of the Muslims instrumental in her son's conversion. She denounces the naming her son Maulvi (Great Teacher) with the purpose of ridiculing him and the Gandhi family.
1938
Uprisings against arbitrary rule of local princes take place in various regions of India.
1939
January, Kasturba leaves for Rajkot to support women protesting against the rule of the Thakore, the local prince. She speaks to groups of women in Rajkot.
February 3, Kasturba is arrested, and kept in solitary confinement in the royal summer residence of the Rajkot prince.
February 6, M.K. Gandhi pays tribute to his wife’s courage by publishing “Why Kasturba Gandhi?” in Harijan newspaper. Word of Kasturba’s arrest intensifies protests in Rajkot.
February 27, M.K. Gandhi arrives in Rajkot.
March 3, M.K. Gandhi begins a fast unto death to protest the Thakore’s refusal to negotiate.
March 5, The Thakore releases Kasturba, so she can be at her husband’s bedside.
March 7, An agreement is reached. The Thakore agrees to release all political prisoners and agrees to appoint a political reform committee. M.K. Gandhi ends his fast, and returns to Sevagram with Kasturba.
1940
October, M.K. Gandhi launches a civil disobedience campaign against Britain's refusal to allow Indians to express their opinions regarding World War II. 23,000 persons are imprisoned within a year.
1942
August, M.K. Gandhi and Kasturba leave for Bombay for the All-India Congress Committee. Congress passes the "Quit India" resolution. It was the final nation-wide Satyagraha campaign with M.K. Gandhi as leader.
August 9, M.K. Gandhi is arrested with other Congress leaders and imprisoned in Aga Khan Palace near Poona. Kasturba Gandhi goes to Shivaji park to address a mass meeting instead of her husband. After her address, she is also arrested.
1943
February 10, M.K. Gandhi begins a 21-day fast at Aga Khan Palace to end the deadlock of negotiations between the Viceroy and Indian leaders. Kasturba limits her diet to support her husband.
March 3, End of M.K. Gandhi’s 21-day fast.
1944
January, Kasturba suffers two heart attacks.
February 22, Kasturba dies in detention at Aga Khan Palace at age of seventy-four.
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Last updated : 14-Nov-2016

This article was produced for South African History Online on 01-Jun-2012

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