Recently Prime Minister visited South Africa and boarded a train from Pentrich railway station in Durban, to Pietermaritzburg in memory of the 1893 incident in which Mahatma Gandhi was thrown out of a train compartment on account of his skin colour.
A white man had objected to Gandhi travelling in the first class coach in spite of the latter possessing a valid ticket. When Gandhi refused to move to the rear end of the train, he was thrown out. Gandhi decided that day to fight against the racial discrimination meted out to the Indian community in South Africa and resolved to stay there. His ideals of Satyagraha were subsequently born during Gandhi’s stay in South Africa.
PM Modi, who is on a four-nation African tour, spoke at length about Gandhi during addressing to the Indian diaspora in Johannesburg. He said Gandhi was as much to South Africa as he was to India and described the country as Gandhi’s ‘karmabhoomi’.
PM Modi stated that it was South Africa that transformed ‘Mohandas into Mahatma.’
In Pretoria, PM Modi said, “For me personally, this visit is an opportunity to pay homage to two of the greatest human souls to have ever walked this Earth – Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela. We stood together in our common fight against racial subjugation and colonialism. It was in South Africa that Gandhi found his true calling. Gandhiji belongs to South Africa as much to India”
Indian Prime Minister has engagements in Durban, home to 800,000 of the around 1.2 million people of Indian origin in South Africa and making it the city with the largest Indian population outside of India.