THE inner circle, including Kasturba, shuddered when Gandhi decided to adopt Laxmi, daughter of the harijans Dudabhai and Daniben Dafda. Gandhiji's daughter by choice created a social flutter and consequently history too. Are pentant Ba nurtured the child as a daughter and the Mahatma married Laxmi off to a Brahmin in the ashram itself. Laxmi, the mother of Haridas and the late Kalpana, passed away on January 31, 1984, a day after Gandhiji's 36th death anniversary.
For Laxmi's son Haridas, the memories are in sepia tone, especially after a paralytic stroke in 1993. "My mother told me I was named Haridas by Vallabhai Patel. Ba objected as she thought I would follow in Harilal's footsteps. She preferred 'Purushottam' but Bapuji insisted on Haridas."