INS Trishul to visit Durban to mark 30 years of ties with South Africa
A frontline warship of the Indian Navy – INS Trishul – is visiting Durban to commemorate the 130th anniversary of the June 7, 1893 incident at South Africa’s Pietermaritzburg railway station when Mahatma Gandhi was evicted from a train that led to his fight against racial oppression. INS Trishul’s visit to Durban is in continuation with the Indian Navy’s celebration of ‘Azadi Ka Amrit Mahostav‘ by commemorating key moments that shaped India’s Independence struggle, the Defence Ministry said in a statement.
The Navy said it will participate in a commemorative event to mark 130 years of the start of the struggle against apartheid at the Pietermaritzburg railway station near Durban. INS Trishul is on a visit to Durban from June 6-9 to commemorate the 130th anniversary of the 1893 incident at Pietermaritzburg, as also to mark 30 years of re-establishment of diplomatic relations between India and South Africa, the statement said.
Mahatma Gandhi arrived in Durban in 1893 to serve as legal counsel to merchant Dada Abdulla. On June 7, 1893, during a trip to Pretoria in the Transvaal, he first arrived at Pietermaritzburg station. He was seated in a first-class compartment after having purchased a ticket, and was later 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, it said.
The incident is considered to be the trigger which led to Gandhi’s fight against racial oppression and the birth of Satyagraha, according to the statement. 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 the then South African President Nelson Mandela, the ‘Freedom of Pietermaritzburg‘ was conferred posthumously on Gandhi, it said.
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 will participate in a commemorative event at the Pietermaritzburg railway station which would include paying floral tributes at the Gandhi Plinth, and a performance by the Indian Navy band. The ship will also participate in other professional and social engagements during the visit, the statement added.
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