Monday, January 26, 2009
Happy 60th Republic Day !!!
Today we all Indians are celebrating Republic day, as usual. It is marked by celebrations, awards and speeches. We review our achievements and failures and decide the future course of action. At the same time we don’t forget to remember our freedom fighters.
Today I wish to pay my tributes to Mahatma Gandhi. After coming to South Africa my faith in the greatness of Gandhiji has multiplied. Since childhood, we have read and heard so much about him and I had full faith in his greatness…. his truthfulness, nonviolence, Satyagraha. After visiting the places where he lived, where he was thrown out of the train and where he united all Indians to resist injustice, I relived the experiences of a young man, in a foreign land, hurt by insults thrown to him and deciding to fight for his dignity. He was focused and determined and gave a tough time to the racist government of South Africa.
Gandhiji lived in South Africa for about 21 years (1893-1914) .He came here as a young barrister on the invitation of a businessman, Dada Abdulla to assist him in legal matters.
After coming here he saw that here Indians were treated badly as ‘inferiors’. They were called ‘coolies ‘and they did not have the voting rights. The turning point in his life came when at Pietermaritzburg railway station he was thrown out of the first class compartment although he had a valid ticket. He sat in the waiting room on that cold night shivering and scared. He was battling inside whether to leave this country or to oppose racism and he decided to fight.
He was influenced by the writings of Leo Tolstoy and one American writer Henry David Thoreau, specially his one essay ’civil disobedience’ made an impact on him .He took the path of passive, non violent resistance.
He united Indians and formed Natal Indian congress in1894. In 1906 when govt. promulgated a new act making it compulsory for all Indians to get registered and carry pass, he resisted. In Johannesburg a mass meeting was held and they decided to defy the law. Passes were burnt and many Indians including Gandhiji were jailed. At last Gen. Jan Christian Smuts had to negotiate a compromise. In the same way he resisted the marriage act and fought for voting rights. When a magistrate of a Durban court asked him to remove his turban he refused to do so. His struggle for Independence and equality influenced the African people also, although they had to fight a long battle against Apartheid. It was this strength and determination which he carried to India, fought British Empire with the methods which he experimented here -satyagrah and nonviolence, got us Independence.
Gandhiji’s contributions are well recognized by the Indian and South African community. Indian Consulate in Durban is also playing a vital role in keeping the heritage and spirit of our ‘Father of Nation’ alive. His monuments, his photograph and writings on walls at Pietermaritzburg station, the printing press, Gandhi settlement—all remind us of the inner strength of a great man and makes every Indian feel proud.
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
Today I was sitting near my window, watching the deep blue sea. I could see the high and low buildings, the road outside and few cars parked on both sides of the road. I could see three persons standing near the bus stop. There was a girl in green skirt and one man and a woman with darker complexion .Suddenly it occurred to me, how uncertain the things in Life are. Few months back I had not thought that today I will be sitting here in this new country. When I started this blog I was in India and then I had not imagined that someday I will be writing these lines from Durban in South Africa.
Uncertainty and Change are the keynotes of LIFE. Yes, about a year back my husband got a job offer and we decided to move to Durban for a period of two years, as we had never been to this part of the world, we thought it would be a good change. I got too busy moving and settling, meeting new people, visiting new places. It was a nice change .Our children also visited us and in their sweet company time flew like any thing. We travelled a lot and were fascinated by the natural beauty of this place.
In 2008 I had decided to write regularly but in all this hustle and bustle of life I completely ignored my writing venture. I will not say that I did not get time as time is always there, only I did not get the mood. Now I am determined and may be the year 2009 will see something more penned down by me in these pages. But as uncertainty is the under current of Life, let’s see what happens.