Remembering Gandhi’s Second Son: Manilal Gandhi

Manilal Gandhi 1952

Manilal Gandhi 1952


Today was the birthday of Manilal Gandhi, Arun Gandhi’s late father and the second son of M.K. Gandhi.  Here is a brief look at Manilal’s own life and legacy drawn from a few select sources:

Listen to a 1954 interview w/ Manilal Gandhi 

Manilal Mohandas Gandhi (28 October 1892 – 4 April 1956) was the second of four sons of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi and Kasturba Gandhi. Manilal was born in Rajkot, India. In 1897 Manilal traveled to South Africa for the first time, where he spent time working at the Phoenix Ashram near Durban. After a brief visit to India, in 1917 Manilal returned to South Africa to assist in printing the Indian Opinion a Gujarati-English weekly publication, at Phoenix, Durban. By 1918, Manilal was doing most of the work for the press and took over in 1920 as editor. Like his father, Manilal was also sent to jail several times by the British colonial government after protesting against unjust laws. He remained editor until 1956, the year of his death.

Manilal Gandhi, throughout his life, struggled against segregation and worked toward the ‘New African’ ideals of greater equality and harmony among races. Manilal Gandhi was an activist and the longest-serving editor of an influential newspaper, the Indian Opinion. Fearlessly, he protested apartheid laws, even at the cost of prison sentences. Manilal Gandhi, for his dedication to modern ideals, deserves recognition in the New African Movement, the historical intervention and evolution of emerging African influence, independence and development through political, cultural and intellectual impact in the construction of modern African which began in the nation of South Africa in the late 1920s.

The definitive biography of Manilal Gandhi – Gandhi’s Prisoner? The life of Gandhi’s son Manilal – was written by his great granddaughter, Uma Dhupelia-Mesthrie, a Professor of History at Western Cape University in South Africa.  Here she tells of her quest to write about Manilal, published in the Journal of Natal and Zulu History 2006

Read More –

Interview With Ela Gandhi, Daughter Of Manilal

Gandhi’s Prisoner?  The Life Of Gandhi’s Son Manilal By Uma Dhupelia-Mesthrie

Manilal Gandhi: a Hero in the New African Movement by Brandon Smith


  1. Thank you for this, fabulous read about Arun’s father, Manil Gandhi!