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Video > Footage and Newsreels > Oral History > English > VIFOOHEN2005022510 View Previous PageReturn to Home PageView Next Page Print Email Favorites Google+ Share

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Interview with Savitaben Desai, Mumbai, February 25, 2005.
Born at Dharasana (Gujarat) c. 1919, five sisters and one brother, very poor Hindu farmer family which sympathised with Gandhi and the independence movement, grandfather worked in Congress party, witnessed the raiding of Dharasana Salt Works in 1930: countless freedom fighters who tried to enter the salt works received heavy lathi (bamboo stick) charge incl. her father and uncles, completed 4th year of studies at Gujarati medium Poddar School at Mumbai Santacruz, married at age of 17 in a simple Gandhian marriage in the presence of only 21 people, together with husband burned foreign clothes and wore only khadi clothes throughout, got involved in freedom struggle as grandfather demanded to go to jail for the sake of the country, was arrested 1941 when SD announced she would participate in satyagraha campaign, was treated well by policemen, was locked up in Yeravda Jail cell with two mad women, SD became first female freedom fighter in Mumbai Santacruz, participated in demonstrations and shouted slogans during Quit India movement, spent in total seven month simple and three months rigorous c-class imprisonment during three imprisonments at Thane Jail and Yeravda Jail (describes atmosphere), husband got arrested for writing slogans on the road, worked for uplift of harijans after release (taught children), sold khadi and served her family, SD: today it's not possible to apply Gandhi's ideas, nobody would listen to him.

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