How many children did Mahatma Gandhi have?
Gandhi and Kasturba had four sons –
Harilal (1888-1948) who was born in India,
Manilal (1892-1956) born in India,
Ramdas (1897-1969) born in South Africa, and
Devdas (1900-1957) born in South Africa.
Mahatma Gandhi’s sons resented their upbringing as disciples. They were not, for example, allowed the formal education which Mohandas himself had received and which would have provided them with their own choice of livelihood.
Harilal Mohandas Gandhi (1888-1948) was the first son of Mahatma Gandhi. He rebelled most strongly. He had a very troubled relationship with his father, who eventually disowned him. . Harilal renounced all family ties in 1911 and embarked upon a tragic, lifelong path of self-destruction- an alcoholic, an embezzler; accounts of his arrests, public drunkenness, and destitution became commonplace.
Harilal converted to Islam in the 1930s, adopting the name "Abdullah Gandhi". This act deeply offended his father. He allowed himself to be used in public meetings as an example by Muslim mullahs in Karachi to convert Hindus to Islam. In one of these meetings, when a Muslim speaker disparaged his father, Harilal flew into rage and kicked the speaker in anger. Harilal later converted back to Hinduism. The strain in the relationship between father and son was underscored by Harilal's proposal to remarry upon the death of his first wife in 1918, despite firm objections from his father. Said Mahatma Gandhi on his son's wishes to marry: "How can I, who has always advocated renunciation of sex, encourage you to gratify it?"
Harilal appeared at his father's funeral in such derelict condition that few recognized him. Harilal died of tuberculosis in June 1948, within months of his father's death.
Manilal Mohandas Gandhi (October 28, 1892, -1956)
was the second son of Mahatma Gandhi and Kasturba Gandhi and was active in his father's movement.He was born in India. was in disgrace in 1916 after he lent his elder brother some money. Mohandas sent him to South Africa, where he edited an
Indian newspaper.Gandhi worked for almost four decades, from 1917 onwards, as the editor of the Gujarati-English weekly publication, Indian Opinion, at Phoenix, Durban. Like his father, Gandhi was also sent to jail several times by the British colonial government after protesting against unjust laws.
In 1927, Manilal married Sushila Mashruwala, and had two daughters, Sita (1928) and Ela (1940), and one son, Arun (1934). Arun and Ela are also social-political activists.
Ramdas Gandhi (1897 - 1969) was the third son of Mahatma Gandhi. Born and raised in South Africa, he never adjusted to the idealistic poverty imposed by his father, yet participated in the grueling civil protests of the 1930s. Numerous jailings wrecked his health. He outlived his parents and all of his brothers. He and his wife Nirmala had three children -- Sumitra, Kanu and Usha.
Devdas Gandhi (1900 - 1957) was the fourth and youngest son of Mahatma Gandhi. Mohandas acted as midwife at the delivery of his youngest son, Devadas Gandhi (1900-1957). He was born in South Africa and returned to India with his parents as a young man. He became active in his father's movement, spending many terms in jail. He also became a prominent journalist, serving as editor of the Hindustan Times. Devdas fell in love with Lakshmi, the daughter of his father's associate in the Indian independence struggle Rajaji C. Rajagopalachari. Due to Lakshmi's age at that time; she was only fifteen, whereas Devdas was twenty eight years old - both Mahatma Gandhi and Rajaji asked the couple to wait for five years without seeing each other. After five years had passed, they were married with Mahatma Gandhi's and Rajaji's permissions in 1933. Devdas and Lakshmi had four children, including Rajmohan Gandhi and Gopalkrishna Gandhi. Alone of all the sons, Devadas stayed near his father, sometimes being granted the privilege of serving as his secretary.
Harilal and his wife Chanchal produced four children, Manilal and his wife Sushila three, Ramdas and his wife Nirmala two and Devdas and his wife Lakshmi four. Thus Gandhi had thirteen grandchildren.
In 1976 Gandhi's direct descendants numbered 47 in five nations. According to Ved Mehta, author of 'Mahatma Gandhi and His Apostles', they "do everything from selling life insurance to working in space engineering; one is a Moral Re-Armament evangelist." The family name is well and truly alive today.
As for the grandchildren the reknowned three are:
Arun - son of Manilal - is today Founder Director of the M.K. Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence in Memphis, Tennessee.
Ramchandra - son of Devdas - is an academic, and
Rajmohan - also son of Devdas - has been a journalist, academic, politician and activist. He is also a high quality author. In 1995 he published a biography of his grandfather, "The Good Boatman", (Viking, New Delhi). In the preface of this book, Rajmohan describes Gandhi as being to him personally "both a wonder and a weight".
(Indian Prime Minister late Indira Gandhi is no relation.)