Mahatma Gandhi: Biography, Movements, Facts, History & Family

When Gandhi arrived in South Africa he was appalled by the discrimination he experienced as an Indian immigrant. On a train trip to Pretoria, he was in a first-class compartment but told to leave because he was a non-white and not allowed in first-class. He protested, producing his first-class ticket, but was warned he would be forcibly removed if he didn’t leave on his own. A police officer pushed him off the train and threw his luggage onto the platform. Gandhi withdrew to the waiting room.

He says he began to think of his “duty”: Ought he to stay back and fight for his “rights,” or should he return to India? His own “hardship was superficial”, “only a  symptom of the deep disease of colour prejudice.” [1] That train journey marked a turning point for Gandhi. He did not go home to India according to plans, but ended up staying in South Africa for another twenty years.

Gandhi was instrumental in forming the Natal Indian Congress in 1894, which led non-violent protests against the oppressive treatment by white people towards Indians. By 1896 Gandhi had established himself as a political leader in South Africa. [2]

[1] Gandhi, M. K. (1927) An Autobiography: The Story of My Experiments with Truth, Navjivan Publishing House, , Ahmedabad,


This has been Part 28 of the Series A Life Worth Living. Read Part 29 – Changes for Gandhi..