Prabhavati Devi : biography
Prabhavati Devi (1906 — 1973) was at the forefront of freedom struggle in Bihar. She was born in a reputed Kayastha family in Shrinagar now in Siwan district in Bihar to Brajkishore Prasad and Phool Devi. Brajkishore Prasad was himself an ardent Gandhian perhaps the first Congressman in Bihar who had given up a lucrative legal practise to devote himself to freedom struggle.She was married to Jayprakash Narayan in October 1920.
She was married to Jayaprakash Narayan who went off to the US to initially study science in California but studied Marxism in Wisconsin. She moved to Gandhi's ashram where she devoted herself completely to Kasturba Gandhi who started regarding her as her daughter. She also built up a very close relationship with Kamala Nehru and became her confidante. She also spent time in gaol on several occasions.
Kamala Nehru wrote several letters to her when she was having problems with the Nehru family.All the letters were returned to Indira Gandhi by her husband following her death but a few somehow found their way into the press after Jayaprakash Narayan's death which demonstrate the ill treatment she received at the hands of the Nehru family as she came from a less suave background.
When her husband returned, he was regarded a revolutionary and this led to several differences with her because of her Gandhian orientation. Nevertheless they respected each other and jointly decided not to have any children until the country was free from foreign yoke.
It was under her influence that her husband by now a cult figure in India joined the Sarvodaya movement and actively participated in peace overtures in the North East India and the Middle East. She established Mahila Charkha Samiti in Patna to involve deserted and abandoned women in the charkha or the spinning wheel movement on the Gandhian model.
The last few years were specially painful for her as she was found to be suffering from advanced cancer.On April 15, 1973, Prabhavati died of cancer, leaving Jayaprakash alone.
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