The Indian Navy will participate in a commemorative event to mark 130 years of the start of struggle against apartheid at the Pietermaritzburg, Railway Station near Durban. INS Trishul, a frontline warship of the Indian Navy is visiting Durban from today till 9th June to commemorate the 130th anniversary of the 7th Jun 1893 incident at Pietermaritzburg, Railway Station as also 30 years of re-establishment of diplomatic relations between India and South Africa. The ship will participate in a commemorative event at Pietermaritzburg Railway Station which would include paying floral tributes at the Plinth of Mahatma Gandhi and a performance by the Indian Navy band. The ship will also participate in other professional and social engagements during the visit.
Mahatma Gandhi arrived in Durban, South Africa, in 1893 to serve as legal counsel to the merchant Dada Abdulla. On 7th June 1893, during a trip to Pretoria in the Transvaal, he first arrived at Pietermaritzburg station. Gandhiji who was seated in the first-class compartment after having purchased a ticket, was evicted from the compartment at the behest of a European since as per him coolies and non-whites were not permitted in first-class compartments. The incident is considered to be the trigger that led to Gandhiji’s fight against racial oppression and to the birth of Satyagraha.
The story of Mahatma Gandhi’s travails at Pietermaritzburg Railway Station acquired another life on April 25, 1997, when, in a moving ceremony at Pietermaritzburg Railway Station, presided by Nelson Mandela, then President of South Africa, the Freedom of Pietermaritzburg was conferred posthumously on Mahatma Gandhi. Gathered together to right a century-old wrong, President Mandela recalled Gandhi’s magnificent example of personal sacrifice and dedication in the face of oppression.
Defence Ministry said, INS Trishul’s visit to Durban is in continuation with the Indian Navy’s celebration of Azadi Ka Amrit Mahostav by celebrating key moments that shaped India’s Independence struggle. (AIR NEWS)