(Last Updated on : 15/01/2009)
She was the first woman who took spinning to every village of India. She stitched clothes for the Adivasi and Dalit children and attended to the sick and the suffering millions of India She wanted women to be liberated from the clutches of men. She started the khadimandir exclusively for women and their progress. She founded the Nanavati Hospital in memory of her husband, Shri Chandulal Nanavati.
Maniben Nanavati was born on February 27, 1905 at Gujarat. She was the daughter of Shri Chunilal Jhaveri, a cloth-merchant known for his honesty and selfless service to the community. She lost her parents at a very early age. So her uncle bought her up and she received her education at the Jain Girls School and read Jain scriptures regularly. She got married to Shri Chandulal Nanavati who was an ardent follower and close associate of Gandhiji
. Maniben was also attracted by Gandhiji's teachings and she sought advice from him on the best way to serve the country. Gandhiji advised her to devote to khadi work and open a khadi shop. This was a turning point in her life. As a result she could concentrate on rural development and education, promotion of khadi and empowerment of women. She became the Honorary Secretary of the Maharashtra Khadi and Village Industries Board. She is the founder of Nanavati Women's Institution and Girls' School.
Maniben joined the band of Satyagrahi women working under the inspiring leadership of Swami Anand. She defied the unjust salt law, thus inviting severe punishment for herself. She was arrested and imprisoned for ten months. Thereafter, she continued to participate actively in the Congress
She contributed greatly to Adivasi welfare especially in Gujarat
. She was a source of consolation to thousands of refugees from Pakistan after the partition of the country. She provided relief and rehabilitation facilities to the victims of natural calamities all over India. She was a mother to the destitutes and homeless. They called her Maniba, or mother. She can be described as a living legend. She died on 2000 at the age of 95.