Biodata > 1985

the life and work of prabhudas gandhi

Prabhudas Gandhi (December 4, 1901 - May 6, 1995)

Prabhudas has been brought up in my hands.
He is very gentle-hearted.
He has always tried to be in absolute-self.
I have perceived right from his childhood that he has utmost consecration which has been described as Sanyas Vrutti in the Gita.

-Mohandas "Mahatma" Gandhi

Uttamchand Gandhi

Jivanchand Gandhi
Karamchand Gandhi
Khushalchand Gandhi
Mohandas Gandhi
Chhaganlal Gandhi
Prabhudas Gandhi


Photographs of Prabhudas Gandhi | Video clips | Audio clips > Oral History

Written work by Prabhudas Gandhi
  • Jivan nu Parodh (The Dawn Of Life) is a book in Gujarati Language on the memoirs of Phoenix Ashram. The book was awarded Narmad Gold Medal in 1952. Abridged versions have been published in Hindi and English.
  • Moreover the following Gujarati books have been published:
    - Rural Economics on rural development through khadi
    - Ootabapa no Vadlo incl. a family tree with 1500 members of the Gandhi family
    - Ashram Bhajano no Swadhyaya
    - Bapu na Jugatrambhai about Gandhi's relation with the Gujarati sarvodaya worker Jugatram Dave
  • Translated the autobiography of Rajendra Prasad into Gujarati
  • Numerous articles were published in different periodicals and newspapers
  • The following manuscripts are still unpublished:
    - Life sketch of Harilal Gandhi
    - Life sketch of Maganlal Gandhi
    - Shrimad Bhagawad Gita Bhashya

Life events

Prabhudas Gandhi is born on December 4, 1901 at Porbandar. His father is Chhaganlal Gandhi; his mother Kashibehn Gandhi.

Father Chhaganlal Gandhi and uncle Maganlal Gandhi went to South Africa under the guidance of Mahatma Gandhi and started their own business.

Phoenix Settlement was founded by Mahatma Gandhi near Durban. He started a printing press there to publish the weekly paper Indian Opinion. Prabhudas' father and uncle joined the settlement as inmates.

Prabhudas reached Phoenix Settlement with his mother. He passed his childhood there. The ideals of Satyagraha and Sarvodaya were nourished in him.
He got an informal education under Gandhi's guidance in the settlement school. His parents were in the first batch of Satyagrahis.
Prabhudas acted as child-soldier during the last Satyagraha campaign in South Africa.

Returned to India with his family and stayed in Gurukul Kangadi, Hardwar and Santiniketan, the community founded by Rabindranath Tagore.

Mahatma Gandhi founded Kochrab Ashram in Ahmedabad. Prabhudas became one of the first 25 inmates of the ashram. Travelled with Mahatma and Kasturba Gandhi to Bihar and participated in the Champaran Satyagraha.
Also worked with other leaders, such as Rajendra Prasad, Brijkishorbabu and J.C. Kripalani.

Worked in co-ordination with the teachers and students of the ashram school during the mill workers strike in Ahmedabad.
Also got a training in agriculture, spinning and weaving from Kakasaheb Kalelkar, Narharibhai Parekh, Kishorlal Mashruwala and Vinoba Bhave.

When the ashram school was closed during the non-cooperation movement the students joined constructive activities: Prabhudasbhai worked with Mamasaheb Falke in Godhra for the upliftment of scavengers.

Worked with Gulzarilal Nanda in accordance with the great strike by the mill workers in Ahmedabad. Worked as instructor of the spinning-wheel (charkha) among students of Bardoli Swaraj Ashram in South Gujarat with Jugatrambhai Dave.
Invented a new type of charkha which can be operated with legs and can be used for spinning cotton with both the hands at a time. Prabhudasbhai called it Magan Charkha in memory of his uncle Maganlal Gandhi.

Suffered from Tuberculosis. Gandhi advised him a change of climate and sent him to Almora in the Himalayas. Invited and arranged Gandhi's visit and stay at Almora.

Arrested from Bardoli and was sentenced imprisonment of 6 months which included solitary confinement at Belgaum.

Married with Ambadevi at Mahila Ashram, Wardha, in the presence of Gandhi and Kasturba. Gandhi arranged the life-partner for Prabhudasbhai and organised the wedding, according to ashram tradition. In order to save expenses and keep the ceremony simple Gandhi did not permit to invite relatives.
The couple started basic constructive activities and working for village development in Uttar Pradesh.

Prabhudasbhai was sent to jail during Quit India movement. He remained under tough conditions at Bareli prison for 2 1/2 years, incl. solitary confinement for several months.
He came in contact with leaders like Jawharlal Nehru and Govind Vallabh Pant.

Worked in association with the government and voluntary organizations in the rural areas of Delhi and Uttar Pradesh.
Worked also for Vinoba Bhave's Bhoodan movement.
Prabhudasbhai got affectionate and a honourable place among the people due to his simplicity, selfless service and dedication.

Retired from active public life and returned along with his wife from Uttar Pradesh to Rajkot.
Passed the rest of his ife with his grandson Yogesh and his family at Rashtriyashala, an educational institution founded by Mahatma Gandhi
However, Prabhudasbhai was in charge of Gandhi's birth place at Porbandar - Kirti Mandir - until the end 1970's were he did extensive research on the Gandhi family. The results of the research were published in the Gujarati book Ootabapa no Vadlo in 1982.

Prabhudasbhai Gandhi breathed his last at Gram Swaraj Mandal at Pardi (Dist. Rajkot) at the residence of his daughter Indiraben Himatlal Goda on May 6, 1995.
He led a life as per the ideas laid by Mahatma Gandhi - a life of simplicity and service.