On our new website: Gandhi’s experience in PMB

2010-02-12 00:00

IT was in Pietermaritzburg in 1893 that a young Indian lawyer, Mohandas Gandhi, took a decision that irre­vocably committed him to his political and religious destiny as a leader. After he left South Africa in 1914 he led the struggle for the national indepen­dence of India, and the non-violent methods he used earned him worldwide recognition as one of the greatest men of the 20th century.

“Seven days after I had arrived in South Africa,” reflects Mohandas Gandhi. “I had gone there on a purely mundane and selfish mission. I was just a boy returned from England, wanting to make some money. Suddenly the client who had taken me there asked me to go to Pretoria from Durban. It was not an easy journey.”

For the railway journey, he had a first-class ticket, but not a bed ticket.

“At Maritzburg, when the beds were issued, the guard came and turned me out, and asked me to go into the van compartment. I would not go, and the train steamed away leaving me shivering in the cold.

“I was afraid for my very life. I entered the dark waiting-room. There was a white man in the room; I was afraid of him. What was my duty? I asked myself. Should I go back to India, or should I go forward, with God as my helper, and face whatever was in store for me? I decided to stay and suffer. My active non-violence began from that date.”

Read more in Gandhi: The Pietermaritzburg Experience on the new local history website. Visit www.pmbhistory.co.za

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