World Premiere at the 11th Global Nonviolent Film Festival

By Will Espero

Kasturba Gandhi was the loyal and faithful wife of the iconic world leader and civil rights activist, Mohatma Gandhi. Cynthia Lukas from the United States directed this film about her life, times, and evolution with Mohatma Gandhi.  

Kasturba Gandhi – Accidental Activist chronicles the journey and struggles of Kasturba starting with her arranged  marriage to the man who would one day challenge the British empire. 

Kasturba is portrayed as a strong independent woman who had a difficult life early in her marriage as Mohatma Gandhi was a traditional Indian man with the attitude of a male chauvinist. He loved and adored his wife and helped transform her into a civil activist, leader of women, and an inspiration to the world. The film describes how her strength, tenacity, and fearlessness led to her growth and development as an equal partner, companion, and trusted confidante to the great civil rights leader. 

Expected roles, an absentee husband, family matters, westernization, prison time, women rights leadership, and veganism are some of the stories included in this  documentary. The story of Kasturba Gandhi will inspire many and motivate women and girls around the world involved in non-violent confrontations and passive resistance.

Director Cynthia Lukas

Cynthia Lukas is a writer-director-producer of documentaries that educate and inspire. With Heaven on Earth Creations, she co-produced eight acclaimed documentaries on nonviolence and global oneness, including Rumi Returning (2007), a biography of the great Sufi poet, and Globalized Soul (2011) about the Parliament of the World’s Religions and interfaith diversity. Her documentaries are Gandhi’s Gift (2017) and Gandhi’s Awakening (2018) about the Master of Nonviolence, distributed by American Public Television on PBS (2018-24). They are the first major films about Gandhi made in the U.S. With Sweet Springs Productions, she is writer-director-producer of the first major documentary about the wife of the iconic Gandhi, Kasturba Ghandi: Accidental Activist. It tells the untold story of how she was Gandhi’s teacher in nonviolence and an early female activist, leading one of the first women’s protests for women’s rights in modern history (1913), impacting women’s activists today.

After a dozen years researching and co-producing two films on Mahatma Gandhi, I was stunned to discover that no major documentary has been made about his wife and partner in life and activism, Kasturba Gandhi. With a very traditional upbringing, she found herself leading one of the earliest protests by women for women’s rights in 1913. By doing so, she became a model for Gandhi’s revolutionary use of women in his nonviolent movements and social programs, a model many women activists follow today.

I still cannot believe that my research revealed that the Master of Nonviolence, Gandhi, declared that Kasturba was his “guru” and “teacher in Nonviolence.” That is why, at 67 in my directorial debut, I made it my mission to document her unique biography in Kasturba Gandhi: Accidental Activist. Before now, this courageous, compassionate woman has remained in Gandhi’s shadows. Now she emerges. History missed this story.

Cynthia Lukas

Kasturba Ghandi – Accidental Activist is an Official Selection at the 2022 edition of the Global Nonviolent Film Festival, and it can be watched from September 29 to October 10 on globalnonviolentfilmfestival.comD!