Sushila Mashruwallah was born in India and grew up in Akola, a city in the state of Maharashtra located in central India. She was the daughter of a rich, land-owning family who gave much support and money to Gandhi’s resistance campaigns. Having fallen ill to malaria as a child, Sushila overdosed on quinine (a medication to treat malaria), which resulted in a slight impairment of her hearing. In March 1927, at the age of 19, she married Gandhi’s son, Manilal Gandhi, and together they had three children, Sita, Arun and Ela. Soon after the wedding they returned to South Africa, where Sushila spent the rest of her life.
In South Africa, Sushila became very involved with the Phoenix Settlement and the publishing of the Indian Opinion, which she took full control of after her husband’s death. Unfortunately, she was not able to save the paper, which closed down before her death at the age of 82. Sushila was also politically and socially aware.
- Uma Dhupelia-Mesthrie,Sita: Memoirs of Sita Gandhi: [Growing Up at Pheonix and in the Shadow of the Mahatma (SAHO and Durban Local History Museum, 2003).
- Uma Dhupelia-Mesthrie, 'Sushila Gandhi (1907-1988): Guardian of Gandhian Traditions in South Africa', Natalia, Issue No. 19, December 1989.