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Press Release- Commemoration of the 125th Anniversary of the Birth of Satyagrah

Posted on: May 24, 2018 | Back | Print

The High Commission of India, South Africa with the support of the Indian Ministries of External Affairs and Culture, the Indian Council for Cultural Relations and the Pietermaritzburg Gandhi Memorial Committee will be hosting a series of events on 6-7 June 2018 at Pietermaritzburg, South Africa to commemorate the 125th anniversary of the birth of Satyagraha. The External Affairs Minister of India, Smt. Sushma Swaraj will be

On 7 June 2018, Smt. Sushma Swaraj will inaugurate a special two-sided bust of Mahatma Gandhi at the Pietermaritzburg Railway Station. As well, she will inaugurate a Digital Museum on Mahatma Gandhi. She will also jointly release commemorative stamps on Indian and ANC stalwarts, Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya and OR Tambo, as well as release commemorative coins on Mahatma Gandhi. Her Address to the audience on this occasion will focus on the relevance of Gandhiji and his message of peace and non-violence in today’s world.

A South African dignitary will similarly speak to the special significance of the commemoration. The Indian and South African dignitaries will also jointly release a Coffee Table Book on Mahatma Gandhi which encapsulates quotes by world leaders and eminent personalities on the relevance of Gandhiji’s message of peace in the 21st Century.

The two-day commemoration activities also include a Youth Summit on 6 June 2018 where 20 diaspora youth from Africa and 5 from India will be especially flown to Pietermaritzburg, South Africa to speak on the relevance of Gandhiji’s message of peace to the youth of today. The Gandhi-Mandela Youth Summit is expected to conclude with the adoption of a Resolution. The commemoration will also include an Address by the External Affairs Minister of India at the Pietermaritzburg City Hall on the evening of 6 June 2018, made historic also by Mahatma Gandhi who had addressed the venue over 100 years ago in 1912.

The Pietermaritzburg City Hall and Station as well as the Gandhi Statue at Church Street, will be lit up in national colours on 6 June 2018 as a mark of respect to the Father of the Indian Nation.

Background : On the 7th of June, 1893, Mohandas K. Gandhi a young lawyer was discriminated for the colour of his skin and removed from a 1st class rail compartment at Pietermaritzburg, South Africa. He spent the entire night in the railway station waiting room introspecting. By early next morning he had decided that he would stay back in South Africa to fight against this injustice. This waiting room was the birthplace of Satyagraha.

2019 will be the 150th Birth Anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi which will be commemorated in India over a 2-year period, spotlighting the relevance of Gandhiji’s message in modern times. The 125th Anniversary celebrations of the birth of Satyagraha at Pietermaritzburg, South Africa provides a vital link to the 150th Birth Anniversary celebrations of Gandhiji, to be commemorated in India from 2018-2020.


Issued by : The High Commission of India, Pretoria

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