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Gandhiji

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GANDHIJI

'Do you have self respect?’

Two or three days had passed after Gandhi's arrival in Durban, in Natal State. Gandhi was wearing a turban on his head when he went to the court. The judge, noticing it, ordered him to remove it. All Indians, except the Muslims,who habitually wore a turban, had to remove it as a mark of respect to the court. Gandhi refused to remove it and went out of the court. This was the first insult that he had to suffer in South Africa.

After a week Gandhi had to makea journey by train. He had bought a first class ticket.
The train reached Maritzburg station. It was a bitter cold night. An officer of the railway
came to Gandhi and asked him to vacate his seat for a white man, and to move to the van on the train. Gandhi refused. The railway officials, with the help of the police, had his things, thrown out. He was also removed from the carriage by force. The train left. Gandhi sat alone on the platform in the dark station and brooded over the insult he had suffered. In India a white officer put him to shame; should such a thing happen here too! The cup of sorrow was full. The next day, he continued the journey. It had to be done partly by horse
coach and partly by train. Only Europeans were permitted to sit inside the carriage. Gandhi could not sit with them. He sat outside by the side of the coachman. Some time later, he was ordered to sit on the footboard. Gandhi could not bear it. He refused to carry out the order.The super- visor of the carriage, a European, attacked Gandhi and began to thrash him. Gandhi suffered the blows but did not at all move from where he sat. At last, the passengers intervened and checked the supervisor.

Thus Gandhi was subject to untold shame. But when he learnt that such a shame was the fate of all Indian settlers, he was a transformed man.

Indians had begun to settle in South Africa in 1860. Many of them were laborers in the
sugar cane, tea and coffee plantation's belonging to Englishmen.

In the eyes of the white Europeans all Indians were 'coolies'; the merchants were 'coolie merchants'; Barrister Gandhi was a 'coolie Barrister'. All were put to shame by being called 'Girmitias' and 'Samy'. (Girmitia is an ugly form of 'permit', and 'Samy' the ugly form of 'Swamy'.) In Natal no Indian was allowed to move about after 9 at night. In Orange Free State, no Indian could acquire property; he could neither be an agriculturist or a tradesman.In Trans- vaal, he had no right to own land;in addition to this, he had to pay a settlement tax of three pounds. All Indians had to live in dirty areas. Once Gandhi himself was knocked down by police patrol-guards, for being out after 9 at night. In short, Indians were not considered as human beings. The South African Indian problem was thus a problem of life and death for a hundred thousand people.It was a problem of life and death for a hundred thousand people. It was a problem of life and death for a hundred thousand people. It was a problem of self- respect.All Indians suffered the shame mutely.

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 The ideal satyagrahi, the 'young man' of 62 years went to Dandi
About Gandhiji
Introduction
Truthful And Religious Parents
Gandhi As A Student
The Great Force Of Religion
In England
What Next?
The Call From South Africa
You are Here! 'Do You Have Self- Respect?'
Barrister Gandhi - leader Of The Fight For Self-Respect
The Birth Of 'Satyagraha'
'Mahatma Gandhi'
'Sarvodaya'
Gandhiji - The Leader Of India
Ordeal By Fire
Gandhiji's Legacy

 

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