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Indian foreign minister visits historic train station in South Africa

Published: June 8, 2018

STORY: Indian Foreign Minister, Sushma Swaraj, visited the historic railway station of Pietermaritzburg in South Africa on Thursday (June 07) commemorating the hallowed history when India’s iconic freedom fighter, Mahatma Gandhi, headed on the path of non-violent revolution after being thrown out of a “white-only” compartment here.

In May 1893 on a train trip to Pretoria, Mahatma Gandhi was ordered by a white man to move from first class to third class. Gandhi, who had a first class ticket, refused and was hence thrown off the train in Pietermaritzburg. This incident moved Gandhi to fight the discriminatory British rule with non-violent methods.

It was here in Pietermaritzburg that two of the greatest leaders of our times showed us the path to freedom and justice, said Swaraj in her address at a function to commemorate the incident. She also inaugurated a double-bust of Mahatma Gandhi at the station.

Swaraj also remembered South African revolutionary, Nelson Mandela, and his great struggle for the dilution of apartheid and the subsequent hardships that he had to face. Drawing parallels to her homeland of India, she said that Gandhi’s fight for the independence of India had begun during his 21 years of stay in South Africa itself.

India’s iconic freedom fighter known for his extraordinary and effective non-violent methods of struggle had studied law from Britain and left for South Africa for practice in the year 1893. He stayed there and developed his popular non-violent method of struggle, ‘Satyagraha’. Mahatma Gandhi stayed in South Africa for the next 20 years where he developed his political views, ethics, and politics.

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