Gandhiji went to London in England for
studying law after his matriculation. After completing the degree he
returned to Gujarat and started practicing law. He was hired to take care
of the legal affairs of a client, which led him to go to South Africa.
British were ruling South Africa too.
In 1893 Gandhiji landed in South Africa. On the
complaint of a white man against a colored man sitting with him, he was asked
to go out of the 1st class compartment in spite of having a valid ticket.
Gandhiji understood the severity of the racial discrimination against
blacks. Gandhiji continued to do his professional duty as well as fight
for the rights of the Indians there. After 3 years, Gandhji returned to
India to seek help from leaders of the Indian National Congress. Then he
went back to South Africa with a number of Indians from India. A mob
attacked them but Gandhiji kept cool and peace. British government
stopped South African government from stopping Indians from voting rights.
Gandhiji was earning from law practice quite a lot. But he sacrificed his personal gains to help the cause of colored and Indians there.
In 1899 during the Boer war Gandhiji helped
recruitment of Indians for fighting for British government. Anti-Indian
philosophy of the government continued still. Gandhiji firmly
believed that supporting and staying with the government will change its attitude.
He continued living there with his family protesting in peaceful non-violent
Gandhiji returned to India with his family in 1901 and
started a law firm in Mumbai. South African Indians needed his help to
fight against racist atrocities. He returned to South Africa again in
1902. From a normal person he changed into a peace crusader there.
He lead a model life of celibacy with discipline. His adopted a new diet
and followed Bhagavad Gita. He was influenced by John Ruskin. He
trained people in non-violence and Satyagraha. What it meant was the
unacceptable laws were broken peacefully. They went to jails in
masses. They organized strikes and protests. They did
non-cooperation ie., stopped the economic activity for the government.
In 1906 he organized a satyagraha protest against
Indian immigrants. Next year, he organized another one against the Blacks
Act, the compulsory registration for Asians in South Africa. Two years
later he was jailed for two months for organizing the protests and again in
1909 for 3 months. He then travelled to England to get support from
Indians in England. In 1913 he led a campaign and a protest against the
law which could annul marriages not performed in the Christian way. He
lead nearly two thousand Indians. He was arrested and released in
expectation of a compromise.
General Smuts could not fight or argue logically
with him. He recognized their faults and wrongs in treating colored
people in a bad way. Gandhiji’s ways are honored. Indians in South
Africa were treated better by the law. Gandhiji made them look at Indians
in the humanitarian way. Finally, in 2014 after being with South Africans
for 21 years, Gandhiji returned to India. The cruelty in treatment of
colored people reduced, but racist Pretoria regime continued for many decades.
Gandhiji has many friends in Europe, who trusted and believed him. They helped him his endeavours and propagation of news about his protests and ideas. That brought a lot of support for his movements against injustice.
He was widely recognized as an ambassador of peace and a
man of self-respect and courage, by the British. Gandhiji’s deeds there
are recognized even today. Nelson Mandela had followed Gandhiji’s
philosophy and ways. Gandhiji turned from a lawyer to savior of Indian
community. Durban, Pretoria, Johannesburg were places of importance
during his tenure. The house he lived in South Africa is declared as a
cultural heritage center.