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116. In defence of Kasturba
The very same Mr. W. S. Irwin, who had threatened that he and his fellow-planters of Bihar would take the law into their own hands if the local authorities did not compel Gandhiji to quit Champaran District, had the meanness to make an extremely slighting reference to Kasturba (who had accompanied Gandhiji in his Champaran tour) in the course of a letter addressed by him to The Statesman of Calcutta, which was published in its issue of 12th January, '18. On this Gandhiji wrote a letter to the journal from Motihari on January 16, in the course of which, after remarking that Mr. Irwin had "unchivalrously attacked one of the most innocent women walking on the face of the earth (and this I say although she happens to be my wife)," Gandhiji went on to say :
"A word only for my innocent wife who will never even know the wrong your correspondent has done her. If Mr. Irwin would enjoy the honour of being introduced to her he will soon find out that Mrs. Gandhi is a simple woman, almost unlettered, who knows nothing of the two bazaars mentioned by him, even as I knew nothing of them until very recently and sometime after the establishment of the rival bazaar referred to by Mr. Irwin. He will then further assure himself that Mrs. Gandhi had no hand in its establishment and is totally incapable of managing such bazaar. Lastly he will at once learn that Mrs. Gandhi's time is occupied in cooking for and serving the teachers conducting the school established in the dehat in question, in distributing medical relief and in moving amongst the women of the dehat with a view to giving them an idea of simple hygiene. Mrs. Gandhi, I may add, has not learnt the art of making speeches or addressing letters to the Press."