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Gandhiji’s march of 1913 re-enacted in South Africa

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Mahatma Gandhi.Photo: Gandhi Smriti
Mahatma Gandhi.Photo: Gandhi Smriti

Hundreds of people in South Africa re-enacted the 1913 march led by Mahatma Gandhi against discriminatory laws to commemorate the centenary of the historic event.

A special train was organised from Durban to Newcastle via Pietermaritzburg, Ladysmith and other cities on the way for this historic event. Hundreds of people began their journey at about 2 am from Durban to reach Newcastle for the march at 1.30 am on Sunday.

The 6-km march started at Charlestown to Volksrust prison in a recreation of the historic route that Gandhiji and his followers took to protest the discriminatory laws of the time. These laws included a three-pound tax on Indian indentured labourers and nullification of Hindu and Muslim marriages.

The marchers courted arrest by crossing the border from then Natal province into the Transvaal province, which was not allowed during that time as Indians had to secure permits from government to do so.

This unusual method adopted by Gandhiji was to become an integral part of his non-violent struggle later against unjust laws in India upon his return in 1914, culminating in the famous Dandi March.

The High Commission of India, with the support of Ministry of Culture, Government of India and National Archives of India, mounted an exhibition on this historic march in the prison cell in Volksrust prison, where Gandhiji was imprisoned in 1913.

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