Newdelhi:6/6/23: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 06 to 09 Jun 23 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.
Mahatma Gandhi had arrived in Durban, South Africa, in 1893 to serve as legal counsel to the merchant Dada Abdulla. On 07 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 which 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”.
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. The ship during its visit to Durban, will participate in a commemorative event at Pietermaritzburg Railway Station which would include paying floral tributes at the Gandhiji Plinth and a performance by the IN band. The ship will also participate in other professional and social engagements during the visit.