(Last Updated on : 22-06-2012)
Maniben Patel was the living symbol of strict discipline and deep devotion to her motherland. She urged women to join the independence struggle. It was a time when women had to confine in the four walls of their home.She lit the fire of patriotism in women. She had to suffer a great deal during the freedom struggle. She dedicated her life for the noble cause of enlightening the women folk of Gujarat
. She emancipated women from the clutches of men.
Maniben was born on April 3, 1903 at Karamsad in Gujarat. She was the daughter of Sardar Patel. When she was barely six years old she lost her mother. It was her uncle, Vithalbhai Patel, who took the responsibility of upbringing her up. She received her early education from The Queen Mary High School in Bombay. She graduated from Vidyapith started by Mahatma Gandhi, at Gujarat. After that, she began staying with her father but there was hardly any conversation between them. She was bought up as a disciplined and obedient daughter. She was to her father what Hanuman was to Lord Ram
, what Mahadevbhai was to the Mahatma.
Maniben was imprisoned during the Quit India struggle and was held in custody in Yeravda Jail. Even at jail she followed her strict routine. She began her day with prayers followed by spinning, reading, walking, washing mending and looking after the sick inmates. Maniben was arrested again during the emergency in 1976. She always wore clothes from yarn spun by her. She travelled only in third class. She strictly followed the principles of Gandhiji.
Maniben was an active member, of the Lok Sabha
and of the Rajya Sabha
and Vice-President of the Gujarat Provincial Congress Committee. She was connected with several social and educational institutions like, the Gujarat Vidyapith, Vallabh Vidya Nagar, Bardoli Swaraj Ashram and Navjivan Trust. Her glorious life ended on 1990.