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Gandhi fights racial discrimination

Mahatma Gandhi

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Gandhi fights racial discrimination

Right since his arrival, Gandhi began to feel the pinch of racial discrimination in South Africa. Indian community was ignorant and divided and therefore unable to fight it. In connection with his case, Gandhi had to travel to Pretoria. He was travelling in the first class, but a White passenger and railway officials asked him to leave the first class compartment. Gandhi refused, whereupon he was thrown out along with his luggage. On the platform of Maritzburg station. It was a severely cold night. Gandhi spent the night shivering and thinking furiously. He ultimately made up his mind to stay in South Africa, fight the racial discrimination and suffer hardships. It was a historic decision. It transformed Gandhi.
He had also to travel some distance by a stage-coach. During this travel also, he was insulted and beaten. On reaching Pretoria, Gandhi called a meeting of the local Indians. There he learnt a lot about the condition of Indians. It was there that he made his first Public Speech and suggested formation of an association. He offered his services for the cause. Gandhi later settled the case, for which he had come, through arbitration. He then decided to return home. But at the farewell party, he came to know about a bill to restrict Indian franchise. Gandhi thought that it had grave implications. The people then pressed him to stay for some time. He agreed.
Gandhis first major fight had started. He addressed meetings petitioned to the legislative assembly, conducted a signature campaign. He also started regular legal practice there and soon became a successful and leading Lawyer. For sustained agitations, a permanent organisation was needed and the Natal Indian Congress was born. Illiterate indentured labourers also joined the struggle. A proposed tax on them was fought and got abolished after a fierce battle.
In1886, Gandhi visited India for a brief period. In India, he met renowned leaders and gave wide publicity to the South African struggle. Rumours reached South Africa that Gandhi had maligned the Whites there and that he was coming with a large number of Indians to swamp the Natal colony. It was wrong. But it made the Whites furious. Gandhi had to face the fury, when he returned with his wife and children, he had to enter the port town secretly, but he was found out and assaulted. The Whites wanted to hang him but he was saved by the Police Superintendent and his wife. He forgave his assailants.


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Rising discontent
Satyagraha against the Rowlatt Act
Anti untouchability Campaign
Satyagraha
Biography
Drive for independence
Problems of Indians in South Africa
Back to India
A phase of repression
Gandhis death
Rowlatt Act
Jallianwala Bagh
More ...


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