Leader of the fight for self-respect
Gandhi was successful in bringing about a compromise in the lawsuit of Abdulla Sheth. His
work in South Africa was over.
The time to return to India had come. A meeting was arranged to bid him farewell. Those
who had assembled discussed a news item, which had appeared in the papers that day, under
the title 'The Indian Franchise'. Finally they decided to request Gandhi to stay in South
Africa for some time more, to help them. Gandhi agreed. The assembly to bid farewell to
Gandhi was converted into an action committee to fight for citizenship rights of the
Indian settlers of South Africa. This laid the foundation for Gandhi's stay in South
Africa. Thus the seed of the fight for the rights of Indian brethren was sown.
Gandhi started an organization and called it 'The Natal Indian
Congress'. It was to carry on the struggle of the Indians. He also started a newspaper. It
was called 'The Indian Opinion'. The paper became an organ to give information about the
It created unity and a sense ofself-respect among the Indian settlers. Gandhi once visited
India and attended the session of the Indian National Congress; he spoke about the
hardships of the South African Indians, and got the Congress to pass a resolution
supporting the struggle.
While in India, Gandhi made some speeches about the South African question. They were
misreported in the press. The white men of South Africa who read the report became angry
with Gandhi. They were waiting for Gandhi's return. As soon as he left the ship, they
attacked him. His life was in danger. They kept shouting 'Hang Gandhi'. They also threw
brickbats and rotten eggs at him. At that critical time, the wife of a European police
officer courageously entered the fray, and led Gandhi to a place of safety.
Gandhi was determined in his struggle. He united the Indian
settlers and carried on the struggle. At that time, the Zulus, the natives of South
Africa, rose in rebellion against the British. Gandhi suspended the struggle, formed a Red
Cross Corps, and served the wounded soldiers. This was a great service. The British
Government appreciated it, and awarded him the 'Kaiser-i- Hind' medal.