Tourism, Accommodation and Historical Attractions in Durban, South Africa

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Durban's Gandhi

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Gandhi's most formative experiences were in Durban
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Durban - Gandhi

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 Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi arrived in Durban in 1893 as a 24 year old lawyer retained by a local firm. At about this time, various discriminatory measures were being passed that restricted the rights of the Indian community.

Gandhi was almost ready to return to India at the end of his tenure a month or so later when an incident occurred that forced him to reconsider and take up the plight of the Indian community.

He bought a first class return ticket to Pretoria but was ejected from the train in Pietermaritzburg on the basis of his colour. He spent the night in the 'Coloureds' waiting room. This incident was burned into Gandhi's memory as one of the most creative experiences of his life.

The next year, legislation is passed to disenfranchise those few Indians who still have the vote. The Natal Indian Congress is formed with Gandhi as its first Secretary. In 1897, Gandhi is attacked by a mob of whites in Durban for 'threatening to flood Natal with Indians'. Gandhi forms a stretcher bearer unit that performs with valour during the Boer War.

In 1903, Gandhi and others start the publication of the Indian Opinion. The next year, Gandhi is impressed by Ruskin's 'Unto this last' whilst on a train journey from Johannesburg to Durban. He is imprssed by Ruskin's emphasis on the dignity of labour.

Gandhi founds the Phoenix settlement outside Durban in 1904. In 1906, Gandhi speaks at a meeting in Johannesburg protesting the Asiatic Registration Bill. Passive resistance becomes a reality. Gandhi also takes a vow of brahmacharya (chastity) this year.

1908 - Gandhi explains satyagraha - a policy of bringing about social justice by the exercise of persuasion and love though it may involve the tactics of non-cooperation and civil disobedience.

In 1908 Gandhi is confined to prison for trying to enter the Transvaal illegally and imprisoned the next year for three months. He reads Thoreau and starts to correspond with Tolstoy. In 1909, the satyagraha movement is suffering severe setbacks.

1912 - Gandhi wears Indian dress for the first time. 1913 - Gandhi leads marchers protesting against the Searle Act from Newcastle to the Transvaal. Gandhi and others are imprisoned for a month.

1914 - Gandhi leaves South Africa for India.



   
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Natal Accommodation Guide
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