especially the Ramayana, when he asked Hindu women to join the political
movement. In a series of articles and speeches on British atrocities in the
Punjab, Gandhi compared the British rulers to the demon Ravana who
abducted Sita. Under colonialism, the enslaved people were losing all sense
of dharma. Restoration of the rule of Ram would come only when women,
emulating the faithful and brave Sita, united with men against this immoral
ruler. Appearing with Maulana Shaukat Ali at a meeting in Patna, Gandhi
modified his message to appeal to Muslim women. Gone were references to
the Ramayana and the Mahabharata; now Gandhi asked women to spin and
encourage their husbands to join the movement. On other occasions, Gandhi
told Muslim women that British rule was the rule of Satan and exhorted them
to renounce foreign cloth to save Islam.
Gandhi’s Success in Mobilising Women Shrimati Ambujammal, one of
Gandhi’s loyal followers from Madras, outlined how Gandhi touched the
hearts of both Hindu and Muslim women.
    • First, he explained to women there was a place for them in the
        movement, then he expressed his faith in their courage.
    • It was possible to help the movement without leaving home or
        neglecting the family. “Do what you can,” Gandhi advised women,
        convincing them that every act counted.
    • At the same time, he reassured families their women would not
        sacrifice family honour or prestige.
    • Sucheta Kripalani credited Gandhi for his special attention to male
        attitudes: “Gandhi’s personality was such that it inspired confidence
        not only in women but in guardians of women, their husbands, fathers
        and brothers.”
Police Violence against Women Nationalists
Questioning Britain’s Civilising Mission The role of women in the non-
cooperation movement of the 1920s and the civil disobedience movement of
the 1930s called into question Britain’s civilizing mission in India. Beginning
in the nineteenth century, British rulers justified their rule by calling attention
to the degraded status of India’s women. They regarded their efforts to
provide education and medical