Karamchand Uttamchand Gandhi

Karamchand Gandhi

Karamchand Uttamchand Gandhi (1822-1885)[1] also known as Kaba Gandhi was a political figure in Porbandar. He served as Prime Minister of Porbandar state, Dewan of Rajkot and Bikaner. He was the father of Mahatma Gandhi (Father of the Nation) and Laxmidas Karamchand Gandhi.

His father Uttamchand Gandhi, who belonged to a humble family of merchants, became the Dewan of Porbandar. He was succeeded by his son, Karamchand Gandhi. Karamchand had very little formal education, but his knowledge and experience made him a good administrator. He was said to be kind and generous, but also to have a bad temper.[2]

Like his father, Uttamchand Gandhi, Karamchand had become a court official, or chief minister, of the local ruling prince of Porbandar. Karamchand's duties included advising the royal family of Porbandar and hiring other government officials.

Karamchand did not have a formal education. He learned from experience by watching his father work and attending religious ceremonies. There were some areas, however, in which he never gained much knowledge, including geography and history. Nonetheless, Karamchand excelled as chief minister in Porbandar.[3]

In spite of Karamchand's success in his job, he did not find ways to accumulate wealth. The Gandhis had plenty to eat, a respectable number of servants, and a few nice pieces of furniture, but they were by no means wealthy. The money Karamchand brought in just covered the household expenses.[4]

Karamchand married four times. His first three marriages ended with the deaths of his wives; among which two died immediately after giving birth to two daughters. He later married Putlibai Gandhi in 1859, and their marriage lasted till his death in 1885. This marriage produced four children - three sons and one daughter. Mahatma Gandhi was his youngest son. All his children got married during his lifetime.

In 1885, Karamchand suffered a serious attack of fistula. Putlibai and his children (especially Mohandas) took care of him. Though he was seriously ill, he still continued to go to toilet on his own. His condition began to deteriorate day by day. Though doctors of every form of medical treatment treated him, no result was there. He later suggested a surgery for that, but his family doctor refused to do. He had already bought some medicines for that, and they became useless. Karamchand lost the hope to life. Soon after, his condition deteriorated. Finally, he died on a dark windy night, aged 63. His son Mohandas (Mahatma Gandhi) later remembered this occasion like this: That night, his uncle Tulsidas (Karamchand's younger brother) came to their home. Though death was imminent, no one excepted that that would be Karamchand's last night. When Tulsidas used to come to visit his ailing elder brother, he would sit behind him during day. That night, around 10:30 or 11, when then 16-year old Mohandas was pressing his father's legs, Tulsidas came there and told him to go. He happily went to his bed, where his wife Kasturba was sleeping. Within seconds, their servant called him and told that Karamchand's condition was serious. But as everyone had already realized that his condition was serious, they realized that he had died.

See also


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