The girl who moved Gandhi is no more

Epitome of sacrifice


Kaumudi teacher

The ‘tyag’ that the Mahatma wrote about was the girl’s donation of all the ornaments she wore when he went there in connection with the fund raising for the Harijan Sahaya Nidhi.

The girl, Kaumudi, or Kaumudi Teacher as she came to be known later, passed away aged 92 at her house in Kannur on Tuesday. Gandhiji himself had wrote about Kaumudi’s gesture in ‘Harijan’ as well as other journals.

Here’s how he described it. 

“She took out one bangle and asked me if I would give my autograph. I was preparing to give it, when off came the other bangle. She had only one on each hand. I said, “You need not give me both, I shall give you the autograph for one bangle only.” She replied by taking off her golden necklace.”

No easy task

“This was no easy performance. It had to be disengaged from her long plait of hair… “But have you the permission of your parents?” I asked. There was no answer. She had not yet completed her renunciation. Her hands automatically went to her ears and out came her jewelled ear-rings amid the ringing cheers of the public, whose expression of joy was no longer to be suppressed.’’

“As I handed her the autograph, I could not help prefacing it with the remark, “Your renunciation is a truer ornament than the jewellery you have discarded.”

These words from Gandhiji kindled an undying spirit of sacrifice in Kaumudi teacher who got the honour of being the first Hindi teacher in Malabar. She retired from service in 1972 and worked in the ashram of Vinobha Bhave in Thiruvananthapuram. Kaumudi teacher’s heroic sacrifice has been included in text books as well. She remained unmarried and has been honoured by various Gandhian organisations.

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