Swaraj recalls contributions of Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela

Pietermaritzburg [South Africa]: External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj recalled the contributions made by Father of Nation Mahatma Gandhi and anti-apartheid crusader Nelson Mandela on the 125th anniversary of Satyagraha as she said India and South Africa have emerged as modern nations with strong family values.

Swaraj said that Pietermaritzburg railway station is not only remembered for the incident of throwing Mahatma Gandhi out of the train but also for the incident of August 5, 1963.

“On August 5 another tall leader of this country (South Africa) was arrested by police barely 25 km away from this place” Swaraj added.

She further said, “The incident started Mandela’s 27 years of incarceration which finally led to reliving the mankind from last restages of blatant racism.”

She called on the people who were present there in the event as she said, they all must be conscious that two of greatest freedom movements started here which freed both individuals (Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Gandhi) and nations from subjugation.

While speaking on the inaugural ceremony of the exhibition dedicated to Mahatma Gandhi, Swaraj at the railway station said, “Prime Minister Modi during his visit to South Africa inaugurated an exhibition in the waiting room where Gandhi spent the fateful night. I am here to inaugurate the digital version of the same.”

India can never ignore South Africa’s contribution to India’s freedom movement; Swaraj noted while saying, “Mahatma Gandhi lived in South Africa for 25 years. It was that he tested his own satyagraha which he had to ultimately apply in India in the fight for freedom.”

She then highlighted a speech delivered by Mahatma Gandhi at a public meeting at empire theatre in Johannesburg while saying, “1906 yet again changed the course of history. Mahatma Gandhi launched a movement of Satyagraha which gave voice to millions who were subjugated and liberated them from shackles of colonialism.”

Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar tweeted to inform that Swaraj inaugurated a coffee table book titled “The Birth of Satyagraha”.

He further tweeted, “To mark 25 years of the establishment of diplomatic relations! EAM @SushmaSwaraj and Deputy Foreign Minister of South Africa, Luwellyn Landers jointly released postal stamps on Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay and Oliver Tambo.”

Earlier in the same event, Prime Minister Modi addressed the audience via a video message as he noted that the humiliation meted out to Mahatma Gandhi years back at Pietermaritzburg station after being thrown out of the first class out of a “whites-only” compartment in spite of being holding its ticket led to the beginning of a journey to political awakening. (ANI)