(This story was first published on 28 September 2019 and is being reposted from The Quint’s archives on the occasion of Mahatma Gandhi’s birth anniversary.)
Manu Gandhi is a face you’ve definitely seen but probably can’t quite recall. Remember the photograph of Gandhi you came across in school, where he is walking to a prayer-meeting accompanied by two women, a few minutes before being assassinated by Godse?
One of those two women is Mridula Gandhi, known to all as Manu. Manu was Gandhi’s grand-niece, the youngest daughter of Gandhi’s nephew Jaisukhlal Amritlal Gandhi.
Manu joined Gandhi’s Sevagram Ashram in May 1942. A teenage girl who’s recently lost her mother, Manu soon came to witness history as it unfolded, from fasts for Independence to Gandhi’s yajna as he strove for ‘ultimate Truth’.
Lucky for us, she recorded everything in a diary.
This is a special three-part podcast to mark the occasion of Mahatma Gandhi’s 150th birthday. The podcast is based on the diaries of Manu Gandhi, written from 1943 to 1944.
The first volume of the diaries have been released in the form of a book called The Diaries of Manu Gandhi by Oxford University Press. The original diaries, written in Gujarati, have been translated into English by Tridip Suhrud.
Listen to a young girl’s ringside view of history and a portrait of Gandhi you haven’t read about in history books!